Wouldn’t you love to kick back, and watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead? Unfortunately, we live in the generation plagued by dreaded commercial breaks. However, commercials have always been of interest to me, due to the fact they can spark sudden sympathy or even motivation.

You’ve all seen the ASPCA commercial, where the animals locked in cages look malnourished and depressed. Or more recently, Under Armour’s Rule Yourself commercial, featuring Michael Phelps’ ridiculously intense training regimen. Effective commercials like these, crash a wave of unexpected emotion into you.

Does ASPCA want to make me cry? Or do they want me to give them a call and adopt a dog? Is Nike trying to get me off my couch and get active? Or do they want me to grab my laptop, and purchase a new pair of Nikes? Millions of dollars are dished into advertising, but what is the actual goal these companies seek?


Every year more and more commercials are produced, but what is the actual point of a commercial? Are these expensive, creative masterpieces aiming to make you immediately purchase their product/service after the commercial? Or just paint a picture in your head for a future purchase?

Effective commercials should make you want to get off your couch, if you’re sitting on one, and go purchase the product you just saw on TV. However, due to the lagged effect, a delayed response to a marketing campaign, consumers aren’t as inclined to immediately buy. With a plethora of options available to consumers, only unique and well thought out television commercials will rise above the clutter.

The real goal of an effective advertisement is to make your target market aware your product exists, with the goal for them to further research the product, and then actually purchase the product or service.

Let’s break down some popular commercials and critique them based on these factors:

1. Relevance– Is the commercial relevant to the product/service being portrayed?
2. Connection– Does the commercial effectively make you feel the way it is intended to? (See above examples with ASPCA and Nike)
3. Effectiveness– Is this a quality commercial that makes you want this product/service?

The Good

You would think by now car companies would get a bit more creative when it comes down to TV commercials, but they truly haven’t. Unlike the typical car commercials that you probably see on TV, Audi has taken a different approach. This intriguing commercial starts by telling a story, immediately making you focus on the ad. This masterpiece shows the car in a different light and hits you with a true wave of emotion. Only if all car commercials were as creative as this.

I’ve previously mentioned how a commercial can give you a sudden wave of emotion, and this is as accurate as it can get. I don’t want to give anything away, but this next example of a “good” ad was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Throughout the commercial, you feel a sense connection with the boy, as you reminisce on your youth. I encourage you to watch this, and then show it to your friends, as you see their faces drop as the ad goes on. It truly makes you think about the cause involved.

I’m sure you’ve seen this commercial on television before, and it really captures the aspects of a quality commercial. The way Amazon portrays the initial story of two different cultures is genuine and heartwarming. Also, the background music is quite catchy and flows seemingly with the ad. As the older gentleman clearly have knee issues, they both use amazons quick and easy prime service to get what they need. Simple, effective, and heartwarming.

Not all great commercials have to sell a product. I don’t rate this commercial highly because it’s a cause or problem, as I am utterly annoyed with the drug addiction commercial that’s almost always on ESPN. However, Man in the Mirror immediately catches your attention with the eerie music in the background and the sudden shouts at the mirror. It’s intense, dramatic, and makes you want to never drink and drive.

Apple never fails to impress, and this commercial is another brilliant piece of work. Simple, elegant, and effective. In this case, Apple is showing off the new iPhone, and how superb its camera is. I couldn’t help but love this commercial, as the little kids are acting out the iconic Romeo and Juliet kissing scene. The last part of this commercial is a close up of the father, showing the pure emotion on his face as he records his little girl. Right away you are googling the new iPhone 7, and that’s one of the many reasons this commercial is great.

The Not So Good

Why in the world is Matt McConoughey falling into a pool for a car commercial? The car itself looks sleek and I like the style of the commercial, but it just doesn’t make sense. It’s better than the typical car commercial that you’ll see next, but this doesn’t make me want to look up the new Lincoln MKZ. The commercial lacks purpose and reason, hence it falling on the bad list.

At last, we have your typical lackluster car commercial. This “real people” campaign Chevy has been using is a weak attempt at a car commercial, and we all know they are actually actors. “Real people” wouldn’t strictly say positive things about a car, especially the hideous orange color displayed. I ponder why the color orange was used to show off the car? This ad looks like every other car commercial I’ve seen on TV this week. Step up your game Chevy.

This next TV spot is painful to watch. The relevance is missing, and the background music is loud, as well as obnoxious. I’m glad to see Bo again, but Kia made a very complicated commercial. Is this a Tecmo Bowl or Kia commercial I’m watching? I want to know about the car, instead of reminiscing about Tecmo Bowl. There is way too much going on, steering the viewer away from the actual car.

Did you feel as awkward as I did watching this ad? Clearly, this commercial is about Edible Arrangements, but who would bring an Edible Arrangement to a party? Let’s talk about how creepy everyone is chanting “Jan” throughout the ad. Overall this commercial is creepy, ineffective, and quite frankly irrelevant. Don’t be that guy who brings fruit to a party.

Liberty Mutual released several 30-second commercials that you’ll see frequently on TV. I have one word to describe these commercials, basic. They all have the same plot, with the only thing that changes is a benefit of Liberty Mutual. These commercials aren’t nearly as bad as the ones stated above, but still boring. This series is simple and not noticeable for a viewer in the long run. However, props to them for constantly having them aired. Repetition is key.

Advertising is so precise and thought out, each campaign has so much effort behind it, yet only a slim margin are successful. I would love to know what you think about these ads, and if you have any to add to either list. Shoot me an email at alexsiminoff@gmail.com.

By: Alex Siminoff