If You Buy a SuperBowl Commercial, Make it Good


During this year's SuperBowl, Carnival Cruise Lines is going to run a commercial targeting people who have never cruised before. They plan to run one of four commercials, and whichever ad gets the most votes will be shown.

Aside from being a dangerous proposition, allowing thousands of people to choose what commercial is worth the millions of dollars to buy a SuperBowl ad, a majority of the four choices aren't great. There are four distinct strategies seen in their videos:

Humorous | Provocative | Mysterious | Emotional

These four strategies have their place, when executed well, but of the four videos Carnival has created I see one strong contender. Their funny ad isn't all that...funny, the cliffhanger lacks a message, the provocative one is off-putting, but their Message in a Bottle resonates.

Perhaps it's because this emotional, story telling type of commercial has been popular with Apple, Amazon, and even Google. Or maybe it's because it has the clearest, most direct message of the four. Whatever the reason, the commercial certainly makes you feel something.

Maybe it's because the internet has given us enough humor, cliffhangers and provocative messages that we seek something meaningful. If something has a story, a meaning, a purpose, we are drawn to it. We gravitate towards anything that promises it can make a difference in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.

Stephen Roblesad, commercial