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Companies fumbled, scored in Super Bowl ads

Companies fumbled, scored in Super Bowl ads

The Super Bowl is an American event like no other. The amount of people who turn their TVs on for this special evening each year is unparalleled, and the number only seems to grow, just like the amount of money companies spend for commercial time during the game. Prices continue to skyrocket year after year: just a 30 second spot costs averaging about $5 million.

Even with the stakes being so high when it comes to the advertisements, companies still flop. But at the same time, many rise to the challenge and create some of the best ads that serve as popular culture references for years to come. It’s the second biggest competition of the night, and people love to watch and see who’s going to be successful and who is going to spend all their money for no gain.

And so without further ado I present my top five and worst five Super Bowl advertisements. Because it’s better to end happy than sad, I’ll start with my least favorite:

This commercial left me with that “uh-oh” feeling. In an attempt to reach out and make an impact, Ram used Martin Luther King Jr. as the main image of their commercial, mainly through his voice. However, it came across as if they were twisting his words to fit the commercial. It was appropriation. It was misuse. This landed on my worst five Super Bowl commercials list solely because of the misuse of an American icon who gave everything to better this country.

The Tostito’s ad may seem like a strange addition to you, probably because you don’t remember it. This ad was incredibly short and fast and hit you with a blast of images before being done for the night. It was a hodgepodge of images that blazed through, trying to play off of stereotypical Super Bowl advertisements and how they are all the same. The idea was neat, and I understand the concept they were attempting to capture. In the end, though, the effect was just confusing, and a confusing commercial can’t be expected to sell anything.

Okay, now some people may have liked this one. It was based off a certain type of dumb humor that elicits a chuckle or two and have an “ah that’s a good one” kind of effect. The tag line to this commercial was “The Only Guy Whose Bleep Don’t Stink.” I bet you can put two and two together on what they were playing off of. It wasn’t necessarily a bad one, it was more just there and ineffective. It was also forgettable. I bet most people can’t even recall the commercial. Or maybe you could once I wrote the tag line, but you didn’t even realize it was a Febreeze commercial. What’s the point of spending all this money if no one remembers you?

This, again, may be an unpopular opinion, but this ad made me uncomfortable. The idea was funny, and I appreciate the plot of incorporating Martha Stewart and the play on the competition between fast food and homemade, but it was too aggressive for me and it felt like they were forcing a persona onto Martha Stewart that didn’t quite work.

What made this ad bad was the pointlessness of it. There was no overarching theme delivered, and it took me the entire commercial to even figure out this was a commercial. You probably don’t even remember it being on during the game, because it was just one of those ad.

And then onto the better ones:

This advertisement was the definition of a success. It features two powerhouse actors—Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman—and then doesn’t even use their voices. Instead they are lip-syncing in a battle-like setup to Missy Elliot and “Look at Me Now”. Anytime an actor is used correctly in an advertisement it’s a good time, but the combination of killer song choice, great actor choice, and perfect execution makes this commercial one of the best. People are still talking about it and showing it to their friends days and probably will continue to do so weeks from now. It was also smart of PepsiCo to combine Mountain Dew and Doritos into a single commercial. If you own it a0oll, why not?

This is one of those commercials that I have been sent and tagged in on Facebook numerous amounts of times since the Super Bowl. The commercial features wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., quarterback Eli Manning, and other members of the New York Giants as they practice a touchdown celebration dance. However, the touchdown dance turns out to be the classic dance from the film “Dirty Dancing.” It was a great time to watch Manning try to dance as he joined his brothers in the realm of comedy with his efforts. The way people remember this and keep wanting to share it with people makes this one a winner.

This one is easily my favorite from the entire night. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for rapper Cardi B and actress Rebel Wilson, but really it was just an unbeatable combination of celebrities, much like the PepsiCo lip-sync commercial. Each of the celebrities were used perfectly in a way which highlighted what society loves about them. It was creative and took people by surprise, which is another reason it was amazingly successful. Another one which will be remembered for a while.

The ad starts off appearing to be a trailer for an upcoming Crocodile Dundee film where Crocodile Dundee’s son comes back to Australia to relive in his father’s footsteps. The commercial showcases actors from the “movie” such as Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth. Partially through the “trailer” though, the actors break the fourth wall and ask “Wait, this isn’t a movie trailer is it?” And the commercial transforms into a tourism advertisement for Australia. It was clever, well-designed, and just confusing enough to keep the audience intrigued.

This advertisement is technically two separate commercials, so it may be cheating. It also features one of my favorite actors, Chris Pratt, so I may be biased. The idea of the ad is that Pratt got a role in a Michelob Ultra advertisement and has to go through intense training because he is going to be the star of this upcoming commercial. It’s this whole process of him going above and beyond for this role and being his funny self. Turns out, though, that he isn’t the main actor and that he did all that training just to be an extra. The second commercial shows the “actual” commercial where Pratt is an extra. The whole advertisement is really just knocking Pratt down a few pegs and laughing at him in a way. It was definitely a success.

There you have it, a comprehensive list of the good and bad of Super Bowl ads. Or wait, it’s just a Tide ad.


Feature Image: Courtesy of

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Companies fumbled, scored in Super Bowl ads