Super Bowl 2018: Justin Bonura, Cerberus Agency

"I can tell you there are a couple spots that I'm not looking forward to watching."


Justin Bonura
Partner, Creative Director Cerberus

In a few words, can you tell us who you are and what your job title is?
I am one of three partners / creative directors of Cerberus in New Orleans.
The current price for a 30 second slot is over $5 million. In your opinion is the spend worth it?
If the advertised product can realistically be purchased by the diverse audience the Super Bowl attracts, then maybe. This year is unique, with the reduction in audience numbers due to the national anthem controversy. Then there's the possibility of blowback from veterans and military for supporting the game. For tech products, mass consumed beverages or foods; I lean 'yes'. For products and services with a more traditional or conservative bent, unless there's a spot that unifies the diverse audience, I'd recommend staying on the sidelines this year.
Is there a demographic you believe Super Bowl advertisers have failed to target or a business sector that is underrepresented?
Not really. Actually, I think there are more companies advertising during the game that really shouldn't be there. It is my firm belief that you have to hit the target with as little waste as possible. Large sums of money can be squandered if you plan to advertise something with a niche appeal to a mass audience. These budgets can be spent elsewhere to greater effect.

Nearly 20 years ago, Outpost .com and Cliff Freeman and Partners caught flak for their outrageous campaign that included a spot that explained, "...we want you to remember our name, that's why we're going to fire gerbils out of this cannon through the "O" in Outpost."

The campaign was perfectly suited for the intended target, younger males with enough tech savvy/courage to buy computer equipment online in 1999, way before that type of thing was commonplace. The problem wasn't the campaign, even though creatives across the country in agencies large and small caught grief for it. Sure, you could argue the buy was off, but the work was solid. I can't tell you how many older female colleagues of mine were so outraged by the spots. I can just imagine the social media uproar, if that campaign ran during this year's Super Bowl.
Who do you think is the ‘brand to watch’ at this year’s Super Bowl?
I can tell you there are a couple spots that I'm not looking forward to watching. For the very reason the Outpost spot was so vilified, I think the 'Go Vegan' spot by Peta and the Tide spot on the dangers of eating Pods are ill placed.
Do you think advertisers can benefit from taking a political/social stance in the Super Bowl?
At a time when the country can be divided pretty much 50/50 on any issue, I find this a very dangerous proposition. If the work doesn't unify the viewers, there's going to be a backlash via social media. I'd have to be convinced via a brilliant execution and planning that this is worth attempting.
Are there any fumbled opportunities that come to mind when you think of past Super Bowl advertising?
Again, any work that speaks to a niche audience on a major stage.
Eagles or Patriots?
I recently watched the movie 'CREED' on Netflix, so I'm going to go Eagles, even though I do admire Robert Kraft's exceedingly longer hair. He reminds me of George Washington. Still, there is the risk he's going ponytail on us. I can't risk that. Yeah, definitely Eagles.
What is your favorite Super Bowl ad of all time?
The Snickers spot by BBDO where Betty White and Abe Vigoda play in a muddy football game is hands down my all time favorite. Betty White: "That's not what your girlfriend says." The campaign, the creative, the media placement, it was all absolutely perfect.


Justin Bonura
Partner, Creative Director Cerberus