The Super Bowl 50 Talking Heads Ads Are Well Into Breaking The Label Of Advertising Documentary

Prabhakar Mundkur, Founder at mindovermatter writes how ads from Mini and Budweiser are breaking the label of the advertising documentary this Super Bowl 2016


Editor’s Note: The article has been cross posted from LinkedIn with due consent from the author - Prabhakar Mundkur, Founder at mindovermatter. You can follow him on Twitter - @WiseCowboy.

The talking head TV commercial could easily be dubbed the documentary of the advertising world.  Imagine seeing the image of a person with only the head and the upper body visible, talking straight at you for a good 30 seconds with a straight face. Boring!

The Budweiser commercial #GiveADamn using Helen Mirren however breaks the mould. Excellent copy combined with the acerbic character that Grand Dame Helen Mirren is known for, results in an engaging commercial. Besides it introduces the Americans to a new British vocabulary of verbal abuse. Mirren calls drunk drivers ‘pillocks’, British slang for stupid person.

Your funny bone starts getting tickled when you hear her say “If you drive drunk, you, simply put, are a short-sighted, utterly useless, oxygen wasting, human form of pollution, a Darwin-award deserving, selfish coward.” There are some really wonderful lines so you can’t help but take notice. “If your brain was donated to science, science would return it. So stop it.”

And while a minute long talking head commercial is the creative person’s nightmare, the sign off sums up an excellent commercial that slams drunken driving. “Your friends and family thank you and your future self thanks you. This is supposed to be fun!”

The other talking head TVC was the Serena Williams Defy Labels commercial for Mini USA. The Mini has had to overcome many labels like ‘the short man’s car’, ‘gay car’, ‘chicks car’ and the commercial engages you with some engaging copy on defying labels. The Serena Williams commercial was one of a series produced by Mini with Abby Wamback (retired soccer player, coach and 2 time Olympic Gold medalist) and others, all of whom have had to overcome negative labels during their life and career. So the juxtaposition of the celebrity defying labels, with the labels that the Mini has had to overcome as a car works very well.

Serena says in the commercial - “Wow. I have had to deal with a lot of labels. Too strong. Too sexy. too focussed on tennis. Mean. Too strong what does that mean? Too strong I don’t know. It just means I am stronger than you. Getting past those labels for me pretty much really easy because I define myself.”

Abby Wamback says - “My labels? My labels that I have been labeled in my life. Oh I have been called a girl, a tomboy, a dike, a lesbian, a butch, a bitch.  A lot of them. And I don’t care. Those are things for me never defined who I was.” So the commercials challenge the viewer to be defiantly different like Mini has been since 1959.

The individual commercials are then wrapped together in an excellent TVC that puts everyone together in one ad summing up the Defy Labels strap line.

So while there are a bunch of other good ads for the SuperBowl50, I thought the talking heads commercials using celebrities reached a new standard starting with the Helen Mirren Budweiser commercial. The use of black and white in the Mini commercial juxtaposed with Yellow Mini with the Black and White checkered top provided another interesting copy/visual juxtaposition.

In other words the Super Bowl 50 talking heads commercials tried to break the label of the advertising documentary and it did that incredibly well.