The Patriots staged an historic come-from-behind victory in the Super Bowl and Lady Ga Ga gave a half-time performance for the ages - and for many of us, part of the joy of watching the big game is in the often-spectacular ads during the broadcast.
As usual, there were some that fell flat, some that were just plain weird, some aspirational, and some hilarious, and we'll get to those in a moment. This year, though, there was clear winner. The automotive sector did a great job, with Audi, Kia, Ford and Honda delivering commercials that were uplifting, relatable, aspirational and funny.
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Audi: Daughter – Venables, Bell and Partners
There were a few ads that made social, if not political statements, and when Audi took on gender inequality, it put the pedal to the metal. In an interview with Forbes, Audi America’s Vice President of Marketing Loren Angelo said, “This is a culturally engaging topic that we as a company are very focused on, and we think that to have a profound presence in the Super Bowl, and for the investment we're making, we want to relate to what America's talking about.”
Kia: Hero’s Journey – David&Goliath
Melissa McCarthy could show the Falcons a thing or two about not blowing a lead. First she had a show-stealing spot as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live, and kept the momentum going with this commercial for Kia. And it wasn’t just the minute-long third quarter spot that helped Kia to the top of the AdMeter rankings: with several teasers for the commercial leaking ahead of gameday, and a “NiroBot” twitter chatbot giving away props from the ad as viewers engaged around it, there was plenty to keep viewers talking long after the Falcons
Ford: Go Further – Global Team Blue
Ford’s Go Further commercial picks up Ella Fitzgerald’s I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free and puts it to good use in an ad about the frustrations of being stuck. Rather than talking about any of the car company’s brands specifically, the ad looks at the broad range of services Ford offers. Stephen Odell, Ford’s executive vice president of global marketing and sales and service, said, “As we expand our business to be both an auto and mobility company, we’re using new experiences like FordHub and our first Super Bowl ad that talks about the future to explain what we mean when we say ‘We Go Further so you can.”
Honda CR-V: Yearbook – RPA
With online takeovers of ESPN, Amazon and Yahoo, and OOH and print work to follow, Honda’s Yearbook commercial is set to stay in our consciousness a while longer. The ad, which features Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Viola Davis and Jimmy Kimmel (among others), uses a combination of live acting and image effects to bring the yearbook pictures of celebrities to life. Speaking about RPA’s Yearbook commercial for Honda CR-V, Executive Creative Director Jason Sperling said, “It was really hard determining, do we want a performance director, or do we want an effects pro who made sure no one looks creepy. We wanted to make sure people got the feels at the end of it.”
Snickers (Presents a Live Super Bowl Ad) - BBDO
Live ads are something of a rarity, which makes them worth a mention. Adam Driver fronts Snickers' ad and gives proof of live by citing the score and quarter. But aside from the fact that it was live, it doesn't have the feel of a Super Bowl ad, and more a case of using the technology because they can, not because they should.
Skittles: Romance - DDB Chicago
Weird Super Bowl ads aren't a new thing. In order to stand out, most ads execute on discomfort, funny, or emotional triggers. And while Skittles don't go to Old Spice levels of surreal in this one, it's still quirky enough to fit squarely with the Skittles brand and hits the teen/college demographic pretty well. Surely, though, the old "rocks on the window" routine stopped being a thing when all the kids got SMS, so maybe that's something that resonates better with the parents of the target demo.
T-Mobile: Punished - Publicis West
T-Mobile has stepped up its ad game. This year's Super Bowl featured a lackluster ad with Justin Bieber, and two naughty Fifty Shades-inspired ads with Kristin Schaal. For years, John Legere, T-Mo's rabble-rouser-in-chief and CEO has been calling Verizon out for overages, confusing billing and unexpected charges. The CEO is quick to challenge Verizon on Twitter, and after this commercial ran last night, things got interesting on the social network.
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