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#200 Super Bowl Ads
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, February 28, 2024


#200 Blog Post - Wednesday, 28 February 2024


Posted by Denny Hatch



How Smarty-pants Super Bowl Ads

At $7-Million Each Broke All the Rules.



The Nine Inviolable Rules of Advertising

Compiled by Denny Hatch Over 60 Years.


Rule #1: “Theonly purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitableaccording to its actual sales.” 

—Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising


Rule #2: “Yourjob is to sell, not entertain.” 

—Jack Maxson, freelancer, creator of theBrookstone catalog


Rule #3: “If itdoesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” 

—Credo of Benton and Bowles, Chicago, in the1930s


Rule #4: “Everytime we get creative we lose money.” 

—Ed McCabe, president of BMG Music Club


Rule #5: “Bewareof humor in advertising. People don’t buy from clowns.” —David Ogilvy


Rule #6: The 7emotional hot buttons that make people buy: Fear – Greed – Guilt – Anger –Exclusivity – Salvation – Flattery 

—Bob Hacker, Axel Anderssen, Denny Hatch


Rule#7: “The prospect doesn’t give a damn about you, yourcompany or your product. All that matters is, ‘What’s in it for me?’” 



Rule #8: Always listen to W-I-I FM.  

Direct Marketing Old Saw


Rule #9: “Always makeit easy to order.”  

Elsworth Howell, CEO, Grolier Enterprises


Regarding the LedeIllustration.




“A pair of lifelikebabies play pickleball with a pair of obnoxious adults in need of schooling.One of the few ads whose humor has anything resembling a bite.”

—Mike Hale, New York Times Television Critic


 What Was E-Trade Thinking?


TheE-Trade corporate officers who authorized the spending of $7,000,000.00plus God only knows how much additional production dough) for the above 30-second Super Bowl sure-as-hell got their money's worthof exposure. They reached an estimated 127.3 million viewers.


Yeah, but... How many ofthis vast audience were convinced and comforted that the folks at E-Tradeshould be trusted with the financial future of their family’s future retirementand the kids’ college expenses? When you Google E-Trade, here’s what comes up:



Could the aboveoh-so-cutesy-poo Picklebabies @$7-million for a 30-second gag ad persuade Peggyand me to switch our modest lifetime savings from Fidelity to E-Trade?


Not bloody likely.


In other words, what wasE-Trade’s ROI?






Mike Hale, The New York Times Television Critic.  

Feb.11, 2024. Updated Feb.12, 2024, 11:27 a.m. ET


In the spirit of “Who actually watches the game?,” here is ourranking of Sunday night’s Super Bowl commercials, from best to worst.


Ground rules: Only ads shown on the national CBS broadcastduring the game were eligible. Not included are some non-commercial (religious,political, social advocacy) spots and most movie trailers and promos fortelevision and streaming broadcasts.


NOTE by DH:  Many of these ads run longer than 30 seconds — thus costing tons more than $7 million. Plus all production costs, corporate and agency salaries, expenses, expense accounts, etc., etc.


The Bestof the Bunch
These are the ones we’ll remember for at least a day or two.





Christopher Walken makesfun of people making fun of Christopher Walken, with a cameo performance by theSuper Bowl halftime star Usher. As always, he walks the walk.


Mountain Dew





Aubrey Plazaflat-affects her way through life with the help of a carbonated citrusbeverage. Plaza is reliably droll, and there’s a late “Parks and Recreation”homage





Aliens (a theme in this year’s ads) come to earth and can’t getour attention until they figure out how to get on the internet. It ishandsomely directed by Martin Scorsese (working with the “Barbie”cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto), though it’s not at all clear what’s beingadvertised.






A chocolate ball bops around the world to the tune of PerryComo’s “Round and Round.” Shiny, bouncy candy.


‘A Quiet Place: Day One’




Lupita Nyong’o faces an alien invasion in a prequel film to JohnKrasinski’s “A Quiet Place.” The clear winner among the movie trailers.







A man with low vision records his life in sharp photographsusing a new feature of the Google Pixel. Touching story with a predictable buteffective big finish.






A blustery Ben Affleck tries to impress an unimpressed JenniferLopez while an embarrassed Matt Damon and enthusiastic Tom Brady look on.Pleasant buzz of star power.






Attractive young peoplein grainy, retro split-screen video try to convince us of the healthy nature ofthe sodas sold by this Austin, Texas-based beverage company. Visually fizzy.


National Football League




A youngster imagines playing American football as he runsthrough a crowded Ghanaian market accompanied by N.F.L. players, then emergesinto an N.F.L. international training program and encounters the former NewYork Giant Osi Umenyiora. Better ground game than the Chiefs or 49ers.







Vince Vaughn explains that Tom Brady, and only Tom Brady, is notallowed to use the sports betting service because he has already won too much.Vaughn-to-Brady is a winning combination.


We interrupt this blog post to bring you a sample of 

what you can expect in the "Also Ran" Categories.





ThePerfectly Fine
These get an A for effort and aB- for execution.


The “Abbott Elementary” star Quinta Brunson tells us (twice) todo our taxes. Brunson is so darn likable that it seems like a good idea.

NYX Cosmetics

Cardi B raps about lip gloss; an accompanying comedy bit aboutmen using Duck Plump to plump something other than their lips was availableonline but not shown on CBS. The timidity was disappointing but Cardi B isnever not funny.


Aliens come to earth and, naturally, need an apartment.Simple-minded but any scenario benefits from the presence of Jeff Goldblum.


America realizes it needs to give France a gift in return forthe Statue of Liberty, uses Etsy to send a giant cheese board. Sounds cute, andit is.


Dad of the year uses his Kia EV9 to light a pop-up ice rink so ayoung figure skater can perform for her ailing grandfather. (Or at least that’swhat it looks like.) High-horsepower tear-jerker.


The Coors Light train roars across the country to salvage anawkward big-game party. Forward momentum and an amusing five-second LL Cool Jcameo.


The American dream as lived by an immigrant named the Beetle,from 1949 to the present, set to “I Am … I Said.” Herbie goes to Ellis Island.


A pair of abuelas named Dina and Mita go into avenger mode whena young guy grabs the last bag of Dinamita chips. Comic action with a briefappearance by Jenna Ortega.


Beyoncé, with the help of Tony Hale (in “Veep” mode), tries tobreak the internet as a saxophonist, cyborg, Barbie, astronaut and Botus.Sorry, BeyHive, but self-referential does not equal super.


Everyday people contemplate the differences that the CopilotA.I. assistant could make in their lives. Evocative and (intentionally?) alittle eerie.

SToK Cold Brew

Anthony Hopkins lampoonshis own gravitas to sell cold brew coffee as well as promote the Wrexham soccerclub. Sir Anthony is in good form but his 2016 spot for TurboTax wasfunnier.



Inoffensive but Forgettable
They tried. Nobody got hurt.

Pluto TV
State Farm






Try Again
Had some talent involved but theresult sailed wide right.

‘N.F.L.Sunday Ticket’
Michelob Ultra
Bass Pro Shops
Mighty Patch
Uber Eats


TheFlagrant Missteps

Famous people and millions of dollars that

together can’t quite amount to mediocrity.





Bud Light

e.l.f. Cosmetics

Miller Lite






The Worst of the Bunch

It takes real effort to be this bad.










Takeaway to Consider

 Super Bowl Commercials 2024 — @ $7 million popfor 30 seconds of air time — is a billion dollar ego trip for Mad.Ave. Creative Directors and their Dumb-ass Clients.





Word Count: 1358



292pp     6" x 9"
Hardcover:     $39.95
Paperback:     $29.95
ebook/Kindle: $19.95



Barnes & Noble



At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press.He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletterand archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 yearshe has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.


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