The Super Bowl this year was a bust. It was touted as being one of the greatest matchups ever (rightfully so), but didn’t deliver because only one team showed up to play. We all know that the game was miserable, but did the commercials save the day? My answer is a resounding “meh”. There were a few good ones, but most felt forced and unnatural. Here are my thoughts on the commercials…
Big Winner – Esurance
The biggest winner of the night didn’t even have an ad during the Super Bowl, but instead decided to air it right after the game, saving them $1.5 million dollars. In a stroke of genius, they decided to offer up these saving to one lucky winner through Twitter. Naturally, this hashtag has exploded, creating millions in “free” marketing for Esurance. Others will likely try to mimic this tactic in the future, but Esurance will be remembered as the first.
Most Overrated – Jaguar Villains
I don’t have any specific quips about this one, it just didn’t quite do it for me. Others praised it as being the best commercial of the night. Oh well, maybe I’m not cool enough to get the appeal.
Most Disappointing – Bud Light Randomness
Bud Light had been hyping their Super Bowl commercials for weeks, which puts immense pressure on them to deliver big. They weren’t terrible, but definitely didn’t live up to the hype.
Most Controversial – Coke’s America is Beautiful
People either loved or hated Coke’s ad featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in multiple languages. My twitter timeline was filled with mixed responses ranging from “best commercial ever” to “I think I’ll buy Pepsi from now on.”
“What Could Have Been” Commercials
This category contains commercials that weren’t bad, but could have been so much more with a few tweaks.
This one wasn’t absolutely terrible, but I feel as though they missed a big opportunity. Had they played off of the “hitting the 57” trick to get it to come out, it might have been more memorable and less meh.
Doritos Time Machine
I’m not sure exactly what this one was missing, but it was barely off. Just a few tweaks away from being really funny.
Like most the commercials in this category, the idea was genius but wasn’t quite carried out to perfection. The Sarah McLachlan bit was fantastic. This one barely missed my top five.
TurboTax Love Hurts
This one isn’t really TurboTax’s fault per se, but it just felt really disjointed from the company’ product. The first 45 seconds were brilliant, but then the product pitch come along and they lost me. So close.
Bud Light Ridiculousness
The idea here was brilliant but the execution wasn’t quite as sound. They probably could have gone just a little bit more ridiculous, but I’m not really an expert. Overall an amusing but not epic series of commercials.
5) Kia Matrix
This one had me intrigued in the beginning, using the classic blue pill vs. red pill motif. It quickly went from intriguing to bizarre when he started opera singing, causing everything to explode… Missed opportunity here.
4) Bud Light Twist
Was this really the time to market a beer bottle with a resealable cap? How many people drink half a beer and think “Yea, this will be really good tomorrow!” and put it back in the fridge?
Wasn’t too bad until they tried to make it sleazy, although it wasn’t even that trashy. I’m never for ridiculous trashiness, but it would have at least made it memorable. Fail on every account.
2) Axe Make Love, Not War
I’m not going to waste valuable words talking about this commercial. It was dumb.
1) U2 & BoA Red
No one would have been upset if U2 had just been using this platform to launch their new song. Unfortunately, it had the “RED” name attached to it, and felt like a ploy more than a genuine effort to raise money for a good cause. What if they had just donated the $4 million instead of paying for the ad spot? Maybe I am being too harsh, but it rubbed me the wrong way.
Honorable Mentions: Audi Doberhauhau and TurboTax Love Hurts
5) Cheerios Gracie
It might not have been laugh out loud funny or make you emotional to tears, but it was well done and sweet.
4) CarMax Slow Clap(s)
The first one (with people) was clever. They took a pretty big risk using the slow-clap because it is pretty played out. The commercial went from good to great when I saw the puppy version of it, which recreated everything from the first. Surprisingly excellent offerings from CarMax.
3) Radioshack 80’s Call
This one was so great because it was self-deprecating in a clever way. RadioShack took the negative stereotype about them and used it with the vintage joke about the 80’s calling. The music was perfect too. Radioshack’s shares were way up this morning, so clearly this one was effective in getting the message out.
2) Microsoft Technology
This one came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. It definitely had me teary-eyed by the end. Heck, the video of the deaf woman hearing for the first time makes me cry every time. Microsoft isn’t normally too adept with marketing, but kudos for this one.
1) Budweiser A Hero’s Welcome & Puppies
We’ve come to expect greatness from Budweiser’s commercials, and they didn’t disappoint this year. I didn’t want to chose between the two, so we’ll give both of them the first place ribbon. Although some will say that it was cheesy and overblown, the raw emotion in the hero’s arrival home was chilling and beautiful. “I’m Coming Home” has become the de facto song for military arrivals, but it worked flawlessly here. What could make the already great horse commercials even better? A puppy. Cute all around. Budweiser wins yet again.