Throwback Thursday: Acura’s Leila Cesario reminisces the most ‘super’ Super Bowl ads

With the big game coming up on Sunday, this week’s Throwback Thursday is all about Super Bowl ads, obviously! Acura’s Leila Cesario recalls two of her favorites, both of which went viral during different decades.

“It can’t be one of your own ads” will typically be the only guideline for Throwback Thursday, but we decided to tighten the reins this time. Since the Super Bowl is three days away and ClickZ is a marketing publication after all, this week’s edition will be all about Super Bowl ads.

And who better to talk about them than an actual Super Bowl advertiser? Acura is a regular in the game and this year, the automaker is focusing on the manufacturing side of its NSX: both the quality and the location. The red, white and blue color scheme ties in with the fact that the cars are made in Ohio.

“The Super Bowl is all about high energy and captivating visuals, but music also plays such a big role in helping create that desired energy,” says Leila Cesario, Acura’s national advertising manager, on the choice of Van Halen. “You need that big rock song that ties into this platform and it’s been fun sharing that with everyone.”

Newcastle Brown Ale: “If We Made It”

As a brand marketer, Cesario always strives to portray the kind of quiet confidence she feels Newcastle Brown Ale embodied in its non-Super Bowl Super Bowl campaign from 2014, which focused on all the things the brand would do in a Super Bowl ad, if only it could have afforded to make one.

She particularly likes the non-commercial, in which Anna Kendrick goes on a profane rant about being denied the opportunity to make a commercial. Rather than tell you, “We’re a fun brand,” Newcastle showed you why it is.

“It’s such an innovative approach. Clearly, Newcastle understands the media environment, and the shift that’s happened over the last few years of all this attention leading up to the Super Bowl online,” says Cesario. “I love how it found a way to stand out by staying true to the brand and successfully breaking through without ever actually being in the Super Bowl.”

Wendy’s: “Fluffy Bun”

In this Wendy’s ad, three grannies subtly slam McDonald’s and Burger King for their hamburgers, which had smaller beef-to-bun ratios than Wendy’s. If this sounds vaguely familiar, but you can’t quite place it, you probably know the ad by its punchline: “Where’s the beef?”

“In marketing, you struggle constantly with product differentiators, communicating the product’s point of view, and connecting with customers in an entertaining, relevant way,” says Cesario. “I love that Wendy’s was able to do it so strongly that 30-plus years later, we’re still talking about it.”

“Fluffy Bun” went the 1984 equivalent of viral, long before Facebook existed (Mark Zuckerberg would be born four months later). It became one of the most iconic catchphrases of the ’80s, spawning countless merchandise. Three hundred pieces of it are currently available on eBay, including a Milton Bradley board game.

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