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4 Super Bowl ‘Rebranding’ Reviews: What Worked? What Didn’t?

Since today is officially Review the Super Bowl day, we thought we’d riff on a theme we saw in several of last night’s big-name ads: rebranding. The companies in question aren’t exactly hurting for money (except for one very notable exception), but they wanted to use the Super Bowl as a jumping-off point to refine and re-target their brands. So what worked? What didn’t? Let’s do some before-and-after comparisons, shall we?

Mercedes-Benz

Before: A luxury car brand synonymous with “incredibly rich (and usually evil) people”

After: A premium brand that’s still affordable for those of us a little lower on the social ladder

Did it work? Nice commercial but no. An “economy” model Mercedes is like a subprime mortgage: you can tell us it’s less expensive and convince us that we’ll be able to pay it off in twenty years of installments, but the fact is we still can’t afford it.

But hey, at least we didn’t have to watch Kate Upton try to act.

Click through for the rest:

Budweiser

Before: A reliably cheap, crappy beer with a twist-off cap (so we won’t hurt our delicate fingers)

After: A fancier, more expensive version of the same

Did it work? Well, “it took the finest” to help Budweiser develop this premium “Black Crown” offshoot, designed to compete in the red-hot craft beer market. The finest what, though–Casting directors? Set designers? Marketing executives? Certainly not brewers or beer fanatics. There’s a reason people prefer to drink craft beer: it tastes better. If Budweiser really wants to create a fake fancy beer, they should follow the Coors Blue Moon model and come up with a new name altogether–because we will always associate Bud and Bud Light with terrible suds and twist-off bottle caps.

Also: The Bud Light/Stevie Wonder ad was much better. Stick with what you know, guys.

Skechers

Before: A discount brand best known for hiring Kim Kardashian and paying millions to settle the false advertising “shape-ups totally don’t shrink my butt” lawsuit

After: A “performance” brand targeted toward elite athletes that promises to make everyone run faster

Did it work? Well, this ad was at least mildly amusing. It made us aware that the Skechers brand has changed direction and curious as to what that might mean. Still, at the end of the day footwear is just footwear. Beyond general manufacturing quality and arch support, no sneaker will make you run faster or jump higher–unless its one of those five-toed flat on the earth things (just kidding, we can’t stand those).

American Airlines

Before: A sad shell of its former self. A nearly bankrupt corporation shadowed by poor public relations, poor employee relations, poor celebrity relations and poor management.

After: An organization that somehow manages to not suck.

Did it work? Of course not. This commercial doesn’t really tell us anything. The new logo was totally unnecessary and, as much as we like reclining seats and in-flight movie options, we don’t think these tiny add-ons will be enough to make people forget why they hate American.

Also: using an old song to let everyone know how hip you are is never a good idea. Kanye stopped being cool at least two years ago.

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