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TODD SMITH — Jeep’s Groundhog Day ad wins Super Bowl gold


Patrick Mahomes wasn’t the only one with the golden touch on Super Bowl Sunday. Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs marched to a thrilling, come-from-behind victory in Super Bowl LIV – and so did many of our favorite brands.

Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” ad – featuring Bill Murray, Punxsutawney Phil and others in a flashback to the blockbuster movie, where the ageless comic takes an unwitting groundhog on countless adventures in a Jeep Gladiator – was ranked the No.  1 ad in the USA TODAY ad meter, Adweek and Ad Age (which once again partnered with iSpot.tv, the TV ad measurement and attribution company).

The priceless Hyundai spot featured Boston-affiliated celebs, including actor Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch and former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, who discussed the latest Hyundai feature that lets car owners park remotely with exaggerated accents making “Smart Park” sound like “smaht pahk.”

Google’s ad stood out with a poignant tear-jerker. It features a man reminiscing about his wife using the Google Assistant feature to pull up nostalgic photos of her and past vacations. The ad is set to an instrumental version of “Say Something” by Great Big World.

Here are the Top 10 ads from USA TODAY ad meter:

  1. Jeep “Groundhog Day”

Average Rating: 7.01

Air Time: Third Quarter

2. Hyundai “Smaht Pahk”

Average Rating: 6.98

Air Time: First Quarter

3. Google “Loretta

Average Rating: 6.77

Air Time: Second Quarter

4. Doritos “The Cool Ranch”

Average Rating: 6.62

Air Time: Third Quarter

Doritos added a hilarious dance off to “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X’s smash hit of the year. In the Western-themed ad, Lil Nas faced off with grizzled character Sam Elliot with wacky, sometimes GCI-enhanced dance moves at the “Cool Ranch.” Billy Ray Cyrus, who is part of the song’s remix, also made a cameo.

5. Rocket Mortgage “Comfortable”

Average Rating: 6.60

Air Time: Second Quarter

6. NFL “Next”

Average Rating: 6.60

Air Time: First Quarter

7. Amazon “Before Alexa

Average Rating: 6.40

Air Time: Third Quarter

8. Kia “Tough Never Quits”

Average Rating: 6.19

Air Time: Third Quarter

9. Microsoft “Be The One”

Average Rating: 6.13

Air Time: Fourth Quarter

10. Cheetos “Can’t Touch This”

Average Rating: 6.07

Air Time: Fourth Quarter

Cheetos used nostalgia effectively, channeling the 30-year-old MC Hammer classic “U Can’t Touch This.” The snack food ad features a man with bright orange Cheetos dust on his hands who uses it as an excuse not to move furniture and perform office tasks. Hammer himself – “Hammer pants” included – popped up to bark out his iconic catch phrase.

Adweek’s Top 10:

  1. Jeep “Groundhog Day”
  2. Google “Loretta
  3. Amazon “Before Alexa
  4. Hyundai “Smaht Pahk”
  5. Snickers: “#SnickersFixTheWorld”
  6. Mtn Dew Zero Sugar: “As Good as the Original”
  7. Tide: “Super Bowl Now, Laundry Later”
  8. Microsoft “Be The One”
  9. Porsche: “The Heist”
  10. Rocket Mortgage “Comfortable”

Ad Age’s Top 10 (Digital Share of Voice):

  1. Jeep “Groundhog Day”
  2. Facebook: Ready to Rock?
  3. GMC: Quiet Revolution [T1]
  4. Google “Loretta
  5. Doritos “The Cool Ranch”
  6. Pepsi Zero Sugar: Zero Sugar. Done Right.
  7. Hyundai “Smaht Pahk”
  8. Planters: Baby Funeral
  9. Olay: Make Space For Women
  10. Rocket Mortgage “Comfortable”


Laughing Stock Mic: Iowa Caucus was PR Disaster

This week’s Iowa Caucus was a political tsunami, blowing up the start to the 2020 election.

Technology problems and reporting “inconsistencies” kept Iowa Democratic Party officials from releasing results from Monday’s caucus.

The firm behind the app taking heat for the unprecedented delay in reporting results is Shadow, an affiliate of Democratic nonprofit ACRONYM.  Shadow started out as Groundbase, a tech developer cofounded by Gerard Niemira and Krista Davis, who worked for the tech team on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Iowa Democratic Party finally released initial numbers late Tuesday, but the candidates were long gone, shattering the made for TV event that puts Iowa in the spotlight as the first primary of the presidential election cycle. Now, it has a Hawkeye-sized black eye!

Officials blamed inconsistencies related the new mobile app used for vote counting for the unusual delay.

Some reported having trouble using the mobile app to report results from schools, community centers and other locations. But when they turned to the traditional method – calling results in by telephone – they were put on hold and could not get through.

The uncertainty enraged Iowa Democrats worried that it would only strengthen Trump’s bid for re-election and prompted some Democratic candidates’ campaigns to question whether the results would be legitimate.

It was a blunderous start to 2020 voting, after a bad-tempered presidential campaign four years ago was also hit by allegations of hacking and disinformation that led to a two-year federal investigation into election interference by Russia.

Republicans asked how Democrats could run the country if they could not conduct a caucus while Trump mocked the Democrats on Twitter, calling the delay an “unmitigated disaster.”

After more than a year of campaigning and more than $800 million in spending, the results in Iowa had been expected to provide some answers for Democrats desperately trying to figure out how to beat the businessman-turned-president.

Instead, Democratic candidates began leaving for New Hampshire to campaign ahead of its Feb. 11 primary with no clear answers.

In a partial vote count released late Tuesday, Pete Buttigieg led the Iowa presidential caucuses, with 26.9% of delegates, while Sen. Bernie Sanders was in second place with 25.1%, with 62% of precincts reporting, according to the state Democratic Party.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren notched third place, with 18.3%of delegates, while former Vice President Joe Biden was in fourth.

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who entered the race late and has decided to skip the early-voting states to focus on later contests, seized on the muddled results, announcing he would buy more advertising and hire more staff.

Iowa Democrats had strived to be more transparent in this year’s caucuses after complaints from Sanders about the 2016 caucuses when he and rival Hillary Clinton earned roughly the same number of delegates who go on to choose the party’s presidential nominee. He asked the party for an audit.

This year, the state party had tried to release multiple data sets from Monday’s caucuses instead of only the number of delegates each candidate earned.

Some Democrats have long complained that the largely white farm state has an outsized role in determining the party’s presidential nominee. And boy, did it lay an egg!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» TODD SMITH is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Deane | Smith, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm – based in Nashville, Tenn. – is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, follow him @spinsurgeon and like the ageny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deanesmithpartners, and join us on LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/company/deane-smith-&-partners.


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