And Now, a Quickfire Super Bowl Ad Q&A with an Agency ECD

By Kiran Aditham 

Our pre-Super Bowl coverage continues, this time with a little insight from Tripp Westbrook, who’s actually not a character from Knots Landing, but in fact the partner/executive creative director at Dallas-based agency, Firehouse. Conjuring up the words of Padma Lakshmi, here’s a quickfire Q+A regarding the Big Game with Westbrook, who’s worked as a creative director at GSD&M  and an ACD at Fallon prior to Firehouse.

What ads you’re most looking forward to this year?
I’m trying to go into it with no expectations and just let them wash over me. Yes, I think that might be best.

Is the ever-increasing Super bowl ad cost really worth what’s now $4 million a spot?
Wow, that’s certainly a big number to try and get a return on. However, I think that for the right client with the right execution, it’s certainly possible to generate PR, and talk value, that far exceed the actual media cost. The value can get amplified even further if you leverage other digital/social assets to work hand in hand with it.


How important are the digital tie-ins to the TV spots, i.e. mobile and social, is value increasing?
They’re incredibly important if you want to maximize the impact and reach of your idea. Particularly with social, you have the ability to tease before the game, engage during and extend after. I think we’re just seeing the beginning of companies really utilizing the real-time engagement power of digital tie-ins. These integrated efforts will only get better and more engaging in the years to come.

What do you think about the Pepsi/Beyoncé crowdsourced halftime show promo?
Lame. Gimmicky. Lazy. Only crowd-sourced in the strictest sense of the term. Did I mention lame?

Is there an advantage or disadvantage to releasing ads to social media ahead of time?
I actually think it takes some of the magic out of being on the Super Bowl in the first place. The surprise, the shock, the humor all gets diminished if people have already seen it. The whole point of being on the Super Bowl is to be a part of the spectacle. Sure, tease people to whet their appetite, but don’t give up the goods too early.

Your favorite/least favorite Super Bowl ads ever?
Faves: McDonald’s “HORSE” with Jordan and Bird, Snickers with Betty White, EDS herding cats.
Least faves: Anything GoDaddy.