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Allyse Christensen

Whether you were cheering for the Falcons or the Patriots in the Super Bowl, no doubt you also paid attention to the ads. They often end up being more entertaining than the game. And if you watched in Utah and were paying attention to the ads, right before the start of the 4th quarter, you may have seen the winner of the Zero Fatalities video contest proudly introducing his safety message to Utah audiences.

When it comes to creating a Super Bowl ad, handing over the reigns isn’t usually a good tactic – well unless you’re Doritos and can offer over $1M as a cash prize and the National Super Bowl airtime.

But unlike Doritos, Zero Fatalities wasn’t focused on receiving a professional quality ad with their “Zero Bowl Teen Video Contest.” Instead, the focus was on the process the contest provided. By providing the Super Bowl ad as the trophy, Zero Fatalities motivated teens to talk to teens, in advocacy for safe driving behaviors. And if you’re in the business of behavior change, what better advocacy could you have for safe teen driving than peer to peer?

The “Zero Bowl Teen Video Contest” began in November, and the submission deadline was January 6. Zero Fatalities received over 70 video submissions. A panel of judges selected our 5 finalists, including the winning video. All finalists were aired on the day of the Super Bowl, with the winning video being aired during the Super Bowl in the Utah market.

As you’ll see in the finalist ads, like many of the video submissions, a lot of thought and planning went into these safe driving messages. So enjoy watching from #5 to the winning spot:

5th Place – Fayth Melton, Herriman High School

Fayth’s entry probably had the highest production value. Working with Unified Police, SWAT and her local school enforcement officer, her video shows the traumatic consequences of distracted driving. She includes a dramatic arc that starts with an innocent text from her mother to a visit no law enforcement officer wants to make.

4th Place – Isaac Bowen, Corner Canyon High School

Isaac’s spot was the most cinematic, including beautiful views of the western shore of Utah Lake. His creativity is on full display as he transitions from a teen driver out on a drive to his younger brother knocking a toy car off the table as he answers the vibrating phone.

3rd Place – Kyle Ransom, Logan High School

Kyle’s spot is easily the funniest of the finalists. Wouldn’t everyone drive differently if Grandma was riding shotgun? Interestingly, Kyle’s real grandmother is not in the spot. He asked his neighbor to play the role. She nailed it.

2nd Place – Amy Miller, Lone Peak High School

Amy’s video is an outstanding achievement. Well-crafted, well-written and hauntingly shot, Amy educates her viewers on the dangers that not buckling up can pose to not only the unbuckled passenger, but also to others in the car who may be hit by a human projectile. Be sure to stay for the darkly humorous and sober ending as the body bag delivers one last plea to the viewer.

1st Place – Sterling Jones, St. George

Sterling’s message shows the power of peers to influence driving habits, especially when it comes to teens. Despite Mom and Dad’s best efforts, they might get tuned out. But if your best friend is telling you to buckle up, how can you say no? Sterling made great use of music, a GoPro camera, rooftop locations and had the best closing tagline. You’re ready for the advertising business, Sterling!

Utah teens are very talented and creative. It was extremely difficult to narrow down the entries, so visit the Zero Fatalities YouTube channel to see some noteworthy honorable mentions. And leave your comments below, we’d love your thoughts on this campaign.

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For the first time ever, a Super Bowl went into overtime, and for the fifth time, the New England Patriots took home the championship. The Patriots win over the Falcons was nothing short of exciting, but what about the ads? Besides the “Big Game” itself, Super Bowl commercials have long since brought viewers to the TV, for the long-running tradition of picking the “Best” and “Worst.” So, we decided to ask our staffers what ads they thought were the best. Here’s our top 5:

84 LumberAlthough this commercial was deemed too controversial to show in its entirety, the 90-second teaser stood out in our minds. Featuring the journey of a mother and daughter who are leaving their country with hopes of a better life in the US, 84 Lumber capitalizes on the “land of opportunity.” 

Airbnb: The ad titled “We Accept” shows a collection of faces of different nationalities and the words “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.” The goal of the ad was to promote a message of diversity and acceptance, and was also used as an announcement that the company intends to provide short-term housing for 100,000 refugees, disaster survivors and other displaced people for the next five years.

Mr. Clean: Mr. Clean’s “Cleaner of Your Dreams” ad caused quite a stir this year. The ad features a revamped Mr. Clean, younger and “sexier” than his original character. Many viewers were entertained and found the ad to be funny, while others found it to be disturbing. It ends with the words “You gotta love man who cleans” on the screen.

Audi: Audi’s ad is narrated by a father who is worried about her daughter being valued less than men “despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence…” The ad ends with the words “Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work.” Although it did receive some praise from viewers, others criticized Audi for even running the ad while lacking women in leadership positions.

Skittles: With “Romance in the Rainbow,” Skittles decided to focus on humor with a classic scene of teenage romance: throwing pebbles (or in this case, Skittles) at the window. Little does he know, the girl, along with her family, a cop, a burglar and even a random beaver, are all in her room catching mouthfuls of skittles. Skittles never fails to create ads that are as sweet as they are completely off the wall.

Super Bowl advertisements can make or break a company’s brand based on the outcome after they air. Companies spend millions of dollars on their ads with the same goal in mind as the players: that once the game is over, will people still be talking about them? If a company can create an ad that makes the “Best” lists after the Super Bowl is over and continue to create an ongoing impression, they essentially win too. Which Super Bowl ads were your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

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In a fragmented media world with no M.A.S.H. or Cheers finale to be found, the Super Bowl has become our national TV holiday. It wasn’t until 2010 when the Super Bowl’s audience finally surpassed that legendary M.A.S.H. finale (106 million viewers back in 1983). Now, it’s unlikely any other program will ever be able to challenge it as the most watched.

Besides being an overhyped contest between two NFL football teams, the Super Bowl is the only program that inspires viewers to say they often enjoy the ads just as much, if not more than, the game. There is a ton of pressure for each advertiser to entertain, innovate and perhaps, sell something.

So we’re shining the spotlight on some brands who will be going beyond the 30-second spot this year. Here’s what we’re looking forward to:

Snickers – The Mars brand will be airing the first LIVE Super Bowl spot. We don’t know much, but we do know it will be Western-themed and star Adam Driver (or at least his cardboard cut-out). Snickers has been teasing it on TV, Facebook and YouTube:

Hyundai – The Korean car brand is teaming up with NFL legends and director, Peter Berg (Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon) to shoot its 90-second commercial in real time during the Super Bowl. Apparently, they’re going to mix in some actual game footage, as well as shots from service men and women enjoying the game. The spot will air right after the final whistle blows. Can’t wait to see how they pull this off.

84 Lumber – While some brands use their Super Bowl spot to generally increase public opinion of the company, this supply materials brand will be the first Super Bowl advertiser to run a pure recruitment message. The company will be launching a massive hiring spree, and is perfectly fine spending $5 million to do it. Its first try at a spot was rejected by Fox, who evidently thought it too political, with its images of walls and ladders.

T-Mobile – Every Super Bowl has to have a celebrity redemption story. This year’s prize goes to T-Mobile using the much maligned Justin Bieber as it’s MC for the history of the Touchdown Dance. Will you Beliebe?

Zero Fatalities – In the spirit of the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, UDOT’s Zero Fatalities traffic safety education program will be showcasing the winner of its #ZeroBowl contest. Teens all across the state submitted their best 30-second spot focused on a safe driving message. Look for this spot at the end of the third quarter. We are super impressed with the talent on display. While we can’t show you the winning spot  yet, here’s one of the finalists:

So sit back, grab a snack and enjoy the ads, er, the game!

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