Some people tuned into the Super Bowl yesterday to watch the teams and the tackling and the throwing of the balls. Others were just in it for the ads—and the halftime show, of course.
Of the many multi-million-dollar marketing ploys to air last night, two were produced by Portland ad agency Wieden and Kennedy. One, an ad for Coca-Cola, featured director Martin Scorsese stranded at a party waiting for Johah Hill, who contemplated standing him up before downing a Coke-branded energy drink.
The other, an ad for Facebook, highlighted real Facebook Groups that were all somehow organized around the word "rock," ending in a clip of Chris Rock and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps.
Both ads received a substantial amount of attention—the former for its famous director and the latter for its apparent tone-deafness.
Following the Coca-Cola ad, some critics accused Scorsese—who famously claimed Marvel movies aren't cinema because "cinema is an art form that brings you the unexpected. In superhero movies, nothing is at risk"—of selling out.
"Martin Scorsese took a break from trashing commercialization to do a Superbowl Coca Cola ad," one Twitter user wrote.
"This Martin Scorsese commercial," joked another. "Wow. Now, THIS is cinema. Take note, Hollywood!"
Despite the critiques, Wieden and Kennedy's ability to score big names like Scorsese and Hill proved to be a successful tactic for selling Coke drinks. Forbes reports that Coca-Cola saw a 197 percent increase in Coke Energy sales after the ad aired.
Wieden and Kennedy's other Super Bowl ad also generated a lot of chatter.
Some celebrated the spot, Facebook's first-ever Super Bowl commercial, for being "beautifully shot" and for highlighting real online communities.
"Launching a charm offensive like this amid all these other issues, in the wake of concerns this week about increased expenses and slowing revenue growth that led its stock swan-diving late last week," Fast Company wrote, "puts Facebook's brand image somewhere between a rock and a hard place."