The Mannings Bring the Big Game Feeling to King’s Hawaiian

King’s Hawaiian

Perfectly Imperfect


One of our most regular pieces of advice is that brands should try and make Super Bowl commercials all year round. We mean that metaphorically – brands need to create ads with a ‘big game mentality’ that entertain, cut through the clutter and make audiences happy by seducing not just selling.

Or, obviously, you could do what King’s Hawaiian have done and make an ad with two NFL legends which would fit right in at the Super Bowl. That works too.

The Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli, need no introduction – they’ve turned their success as champions into a second career as top sportscasters, with their unique chemistry as brothers a huge part of their appeal. It’s that relationship and that chemistry that powers this King’s Hawaiian “Slider Sunday” ad (from creative agency Omaha). Anyone with a sibling – or a good buddy – can see themselves in the friendly rivalry between the Mannings, as the older Peyton has to rely on his boisterous kid brother to save their Sunday celebration by bringing slider rolls.

The Manning brothers have signed up for a 2-year campaign with King’s Hawaiian, so this is the first of many ads, and it’s an excellent start – an exceptional 5.2-Star Rating which also gets exceptional short-term Spike. The longer-term deal gives the brand an opportunity to get the most from the partnership by using the Mannings not just as brand ambassadors but as a geniune “Hired Device” – our term for when a celebrity acts like a brand-created Fluent Device by being the creative and narrative center of the ads. (Think George Clooney’s Nespresso ads for a great example).

Hired Devices have one big advantage and one related major disadvantage over normal brand character Fluent Devices. The advantage is they’re already famous – King’s Hawaiian can hit the ground running with no need to introduce or build up a character. The disadvantage is that the brand doesn’t own them, and so some of their effectiveness may not link back to the brand itself. This ad has exceptional Star and Spike Ratings, for instance, but only good Brand Fluency.

Beyond that, Hired Devices work like any other celebrity in ads. On the small canvas of an ad, you get the most out of them when you’re able to take some element of their persona and magnify it for creative or comic purposes. Do the Mannings really hang out at Peyton’s house on Sundays eating Sliders? Does Eli really like to get one over on his brother in the kitchen? Maybe, maybe not. But the ad makes it feel like they do, and that’s good enough to make audiences happy – and bring that Super Bowl spirit to an all-year-round campaign.

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