Best Buy's Super Bowl ad with Amy Poehler missed the mark, some critics say

  • Article by: THOMAS LEE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 5, 2013 - 9:19 AM

Super Bowl ad needed more focus on Best Buy’s product expertise, two ad experts argued.

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Amy Poehler was a good choice, but the Blue Shirt didn’t talk enough, said market researcher Leslie Zane.

Photo: Best Buy Co. Inc. via Associated Press ,

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Best Buy Co. Inc.’s Super Bowl ad featured a whole lot of Amy Poehler. Problem was, there was not nearly enough of Best Buy.

The Richfield-based consumer electronics retailer spent an estimated $4 million to air the 30-second spot during the Super Bowl, the most watched televised event of the year. And while Poehler made the most of her appearance, advertising experts say the “Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation” comedian failed to show what Best Buy does best: Woo shoppers with its product expertise.

“If you are going to spend $4 million on a Super Bowl ad, you need to get customers excited about your products and services,” said Bill Day, executive director of Frank N. Magid Associates, a Minneapolis-based consumer research and consulting firm.

In the spot, Poehler asked a Blue Shirt a series of rapid-fire questions about products like smartphones, televisions and e-readers, some vaguely sexual.

“Does this [e-reader] read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ in a sexy voice?” Poehler asks.

“No,” the Blue Shirt said.

“Will you?” Poehler asks suggestively.

Best Buy officials say they were pleased with Poehler’s performance, as well as the feedback they’ve received from the ad.

“Our Super Bowl ad asked questions, in a tongue in-cheek manner, that many customers have every day, and many viewers told us that they loved how Amy was able to convey that,” said company spokeswoman Amy von Walter.

Yahoo Sports called it one of the night’s better commercials. USA Today’s vaunted Super Bowl Ad Meter, which measures audience response, ranked Best Buy’s spot 14th out of 55 commercials.

But some observers said the commercial didn’t focus on the Blue Shirts, the employees who explain Best Buy’s technology to customers.

“Amy Poehler is doing fine all on her own,” Day said. “She doesn’t need a $4 million Best Buy commercial to show how funny she is.”

Leslie Zane, president of the market research firm Center for Emotional Marketing, said the Blue Shirts didn’t do much talking during the commercial, a curious omission since the theme of Best Buy’s campaign is Infinite Answers, Zane said.

“There were infinite questions,” Zane said. “But where were the infinite answers?”

Still, Zane said Poehler was a good choice. Facing tough competition from Wal-Mart and Amazon, Best Buy needs to convince consumers it can offer good prices along with expert advice and superior customer service. And Poehler is an A-list celebrity who conveys strong likability, she said.

Best Buy did release a second commercial Monday that shows the Blue Shirt expertly answering Poehler’s questions about smartphones. He’s so good that he even correctly guesses that Poehler is thinking of the number 9.

That commercial, however, presumably didn’t cost Best Buy $4 million.

 

Thomas Lee • 612-673-4113

 

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