Super Bowl XLVII Commercials – a Direct Response Review (and Contest)

It appears we survived another year of the Super Bowl and all the hoopla, hype and TV commercials, the once sporting event, now mainstream media event, is known for.  All in all, it was a pretty decent game and I was happy to see Baltimore win (though San Francisco deserves credit for staging what looked to be a record-breaking comeback).

It’s now a bit cliché to offer post Super Bowl commentary, especially since so much of it comes during the game via Facebook and Twitter, but this particular Super Bowl intrigued me for a few reasons and definitely offers some food for thought for marketing-oriented business owners.

Before I share my top 4 direct response marketing reminders from Super Bowl XLVII commercials, I have to ask… when did it become uncomfortable to watch the Super Bowl with younger kids in the room?  The first quarter was not even half over and I was already cringing from the cheesy GoDaddy spot – which they happen to run three times throughout the game – as if it were something special.

On the flip side, I thought GoDaddy’s Your Big Idea spot was a funny one for any entrepreneur who has had that “big idea” and it’s the first reminder for all of us.  Why?  Because of all the commercials run, this was the closest to being a direct response style ad (at least that I saw).  There was a clear call to action, which is in and of itself is a reason to stand out.  GoDaddy could have sweetened the deal by offering a special registration price during the game.  Click the image above  to watch this spot if you missed it.

Speaking of calls to action, the controversial Coca Cola – The Chase ad, also asked viewers to take action and visit their web site to vote on who won the race.  The web site doesn’t do a whole lot, but at least they ask you to like and follow them on social media.  This web page is typical of agency style marketing and I wonder what could have happened if they put an email optin in the page in return for a discount on Coke products?  Maybe Coke doesn’t do email marketing.  Click the image above to watch this spot if you missed it.

The third commercial that did a decent job any direct response marketer and copywriter would be proud of was from Ram Trucks and the Farmer’s commercial with the late Paul Harvey narrating.  This commercial illustrates the power of storytelling and how it can suck you into the spot.  I believe this was a 60 second commercial and I doubt many who started watching it, left before it was over. Click the image above to watch this spot if you missed it.

There was a fourth commercial I thought did something very smart, especially if you’ve ever studied direct response copywriting.  I am not going to share it yet, but want to see if you can guess which one exemplified a classic copywriting technique?  In case you missed the commercials or did not watch the game, you can visit this link and see all of them.

The first person to correctly identify the commercial and the marketing/copywriting strategy illustrated in the commercial, will receive a free copy of my Copy Boosting Profit Secrets course, which we sell for $297.00.  Leave your answers below and I will post a follow up article revealing the spot and technique later this week.


UPDATE: Congrats to Neil Sutton for guessing the right commercial and the copywriting strategy I believe it illustrates.  The commercial was the one for the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, entitled Stuck.  This commercial reminds me of a series of “reasons why” bullets, which is a very smart and common copywriting strategy.  Listing bullets of “reasons why” somebody will feel better, save money, save time, etc. is a very smart technique. As you craft these bullets, you want to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and give them reasons why to take action.  This commercial does a good job of showing “reasons why” a turbocharged car is a good idea. Watch it here and you’ll see what I mean.

About Mike Capuzzi

Mike is a publisher, Amazon # best-selling author, and coach for business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders looking to stand out from the competition by authoring, publishing and leveraging short, helpful books. He is the author of 19 books, including two Amazon #1 Best Sellers. Learn more about his publishing opportunities at


  1. Charles Gaudet on February 5, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Pepsi Next … lead generation on Facebook. 🙂

  2. Charles Gaudet on February 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

    … and I should add, they had a “first 1,000,000” – so they did use scarcity well … plus a call to action “Like us on Facebook for a free coupon”

  3. Robin Ingles on February 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Hey, Mike! The Oreo: Creme vs. Cookie commercial had some actual direct response elements. There was a call-to-action to instagram at the end. The whispering created curiosity because it was different than other Super Bowl commercials. The violence was congruent with the market, fans of football. And the “argument” going on was actually about the product (the product’s features, not benefits – it wasn’t tastes great vs. less filling but it was OK).
    Have a great day!

  4. Wayne on February 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    It was the Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale. It was a bonding and relationship message that gets you right in the heart. Makes you all teary eyed and emotional.

  5. Alan on February 5, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Well I must admit I’m stumped Mike. Spent some time reviewing the ads…not many even hint at direct response advertising, but here goes. Two stood out to me for the same reason…they employed story telling, a “classic copywriting Technique”to draw the viewer into the ad, highlight the benefits and tickle the emotions. My pick for this would be the “Official Lincoln #SteerTheScript” ad. Honorable mention would go to “Subway: A Story 15 Years In the Making”. Alas, no real call to action in either.

    But that’s my take and I’m stickin’ to it! Have to admit I paid much more attention to this year’s commercials with the context of watching for any application of direct response marketing.

  6. Neil Sutton on February 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Best Buy’s “Ask Amy” commercial with Amy Poehler. In this one, she (they) plug Best Buy benefits in almost every joke.

  7. Tim Turner on February 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

    The commercials ended with both the website and also their twitter feed, #nodrama for example.

    So from a direct response standpoint, it gave the viewer something to do to respond. Some of the commercials showed their website like Some showed their twitter feed like the Pistachios which showed #CrackinStyle but did both.

  8. Steve Sipress on February 5, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I guess you could say the Century 21 wedding ad used “Problem, Agitate, Solve.”

  9. Dennis Toman on February 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I’d suggest that the Audi commercial was a spin-off of Caple’s headline, changed to: “They laughed when I went to prom alone….But when I drove up in an Audi!”

  10. Mike Capuzzi on February 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Good answers so far, but not the one I am looking for. I will let this play out for a bit and then give you a hint.

  11. Charles Gaudet on February 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Interesting, not Pepsi Next?

    At the end of the commercial, they told people to go to their facebook page and, if you’re one of the first 1 million people, you can get a free bottle of “Pepsi Next”…

    If you went to the FB page and wanted to claim your coupon, you would have to fill out your lead information before it expired on Midnight Feb 5th.

    I’m interested to hear the answer you’re looking for….

    • Mike Capuzzi on February 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Charles – that’s a good one, but other commercials had calls to action as well. Plus I missed that one :-). The one I am looking for is more of an important copywriting technique that was illustrated by one commercial. This particular technique is taught by all the great ones and I myself have done articles and videos on it. Here’s a hint… I’ve already given a hint in this blog post before I even sent it to you. I realize it sounds like double-talk, but the hint I gave is right in front of you.

  12. Rodolfo Cardoso on February 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I think E-Trade has a good call to action.

  13. Neil Sutton on February 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Gotcha. It’s got to be the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, “Stuck” commercial. “Trust us, it’s always better to be in front.” The copywriting strategy is put yourself in the customers place, and see things from their viewpoint (i.e. we’ve all been behind that truck or other vehicle (or major plumber’s crack) that we want to get away from as quickly as possible…)

    • Mike Capuzzi on February 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      You got it Neil! Nice job! Contact my office and make sure we have your mailing address to send you your prize!

  14. Alan Steacy on February 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    One last shot…or moon-shot if you prefer. The Axe Apollo ad uses the classic hero’s story with a twist. Damsel in distress, rescued by the daring and dashing hero, only to be brushed aside at the arrival of an unexpected hero, the astronaut. The copy, “Nothing beats an astronaut” subtly transfers in the mind of the viewer all the characteristics of the real hero to the astronaut which in turn personifies the product, New Axe Apollo. There’s no mistaking that the ad is directed at active, youthful men…good use of targeting marketing.

    The ad finishes off with a strong call to action to join Axe Apollo and an amazing offer…a chance to go to space. Just by the simple act of joining would be one giant step for his manhood!

  15. Daryl Thompson on February 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I’m thinking the “hint” may be the disgusting guy on the motorcycle graphic in your email. That’s from the Hyundai Turbo commercial, where the end theme is “It’s Better to Be In Front!”. So I’m guessing all the disgusting scenes of being “behind” in the commercial served as Social Proof of the end concept?

    Am I close?

  16. Matthew Phillips on February 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    It’s got to be Godaddy’s commercial “Perfect Match”. They definitely had a bit of a controversial ad that got a lot of people talking. On Monday I know I heard a lot of talk but this one stirred the most conversation.

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