It’s no secret that Super Bowl advertising is one of the most expensive (and, we hope, creative) marketing efforts a company can invest in. So this is the perfect time of year to gather with friends and enjoy some great snacks while watching the best part of the game: the commercials!
Because advertisers want to make sure you’re paying maximum attention to the fruits of their labor, some of this year’s ads snuck in hidden “Easter Eggs” that you might not have caught the first time around – unless you were glued to the screen.
How many did you notice? Have a second look at the four ads below, then scroll down to find out if you saw what was hiding in plain sight.
#1. Jungle Book
In this ad for the Jungle Book movie, pay attention to the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, which crop the viewing area to a “widescreen” aspect ratio. What other purpose do they serve?
In this ad for Wix.com, pay attention to the “call to action” at the end. What, specifically, is this commercial asking you to do?
#3. Kia Optima
In this ad for the Kia Optima, pay attention to the “setting” (where the scene takes place) and the “character” (the main actor). Can you find a connection between the two?
In this ad for Axe, pay attention to the first character, who appears again near the end, and is the only one in grayscale. Where is he sitting?
Ready for the answers?
#1. The Jungle Book trailer imitates the feel of a movie theater, by reducing the screen area to the same proportions as a cinema screen. But, unlike in an actual cinema, the characters are not confined to that space. Although the jungle stays within the frame, the characters themselves escape it multiple times, overlapping the black bars. The resulting effect is that your two-dimensional TV screen suddenly feels a bit more three-dimensional – even if you didn’t recognize the reason.
#2. The Wix ad ends by telling you to create a website – and, to reinforce the point, there’s a big blue “START NOW” button. On YouTube this makes sense; that area of the video is clickable. But on a TV screen, there’s no way to interact with a button. The phrase “start now” is still relevant, but why style it that way? Well, this ad is selling websites – and the button echoes the look of a website. Furthermore, a “call to action” button is one of the most important elements for a website to include. Creating an effective website requires strategically planning how to turn visitors into customers, and that takes more than just choosing a template – but a clear and prominent call to action is a good start.
Bonus: This ad also includes the company’s logo in the top corner of the screen – another element that’s more common in website design than in TV ads!
#3. The Kia Optima ad gives away its “hidden” joke in the YouTube title, unfortunately. But when you saw it on TV last night, did it cross your mind that the entire scene takes place in a “Walken Closet”?
#4. The Axe ad is a complete reversal of the company’s messaging from previous years, flipping gender roles and expectations in response to the backlash they’ve received from ads in the past. To underscore this theme, the “main” character sits in the passenger seat while the girl next to him takes the wheel.
What other gems got you smiling (or at least feeling clever) as you watched this year’s commercials?