Super Bowl 51 - Saxum


Super Bowl 51

Nida Nizami – Social Media Standpoint
What’s the Super Bowl without banter from the world’s largest sports bar, better known as social media? In recent years, the game viewing experience isn’t complete without tuning in to see what the rest of the nation has to say on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. TV ad buys alone are no longer enough to sustain a successful Super Bowl campaign in the digital era. TV commercials start the conversation and social media completes it. Social media users showed up this year with 27.6M tweets related to #SB51 and 240M interactions on Facebook. Here are the top social takeaways from Super Bowl 51:


  • Standard practice now requires a promoted tweet to hit timelines as soon as the TV ad airs. Marvel Studios practiced this well with the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer by sending out a promoted tweet asking users to share their favorite Guardians emoji and hit a button that would open a tweet with their hashtag #GotVol2 already incorporated.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings strategically leveraged their hashtag campaign #HitTheButton by pushing out promoted tweets every time there was a score in Sunday’s game. #HitTheButton is part of their larger, more well-known campaign in which TV commercials show consumers hitting a button at the restaurant to make sporting games more interesting. Let’s be real, someone somewhere definitely was hitting a button after that historic (and miraculous) game.

  • We all know about passive aggressive subtweets, but a new trend that cropped up among brands this year was to dabble in the fine art of trolling other brands with TV spots. Mr. Clean and Avocados from Mexico turned out to be the biggest trolls of them all by reacting in tweet form toward most of the commercials that aired.









  • Wix previewed their TV spot through a Facebook Live session that also tied into a contest. This is the first brand to use Facebook Live as a means to release their commercial.
  • This year, the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales made their way from their usual television home over to Facebook, featuring a live video on the Budweiser page titled the #ClydesdaleCam.


  • Bud Light, known for its memorable TV spots, made its way to Snapchat. The brand converted a classic ‘90s commercial into a game that lived on ESPN’s Discovery page.

  • Like Budweiser, Campbell ran a 30-second promo (in 10-second increments) teaching users a Super Bowl recipe using Slow Kettle soup.
  • Gatorade brought back its dunk filter with a few updated tweaks. Following suit, Honda debuted a filter to align with their Yearbook #PowerofDreams campaign. The filter put a radical ’80s twist plus braces on users.


  • Mercedes used stories and Sprint pushed posts to tease their TV spots.
  • Wine brand Yellowtail , was the only other alcoholic beverage to go against Budweiser on television. In a bout of self-awareness, Yellowtail delivered 4,000 bottles of wine to the Anheuser-Busch headquarters and displayed the entire thing through a series of Instagram videos.


Dan Martel – Creative Standpoint
It’s hard to believe it’s been fifty-one years since the very first Super Bowl game when the legendary Bart Starr won the game for the Green Bay Packers. That was a long time ago, and here we are at Super Bowl 51.

All around offices, the post-Super Bowl Sunday conversations are happening. There have been so many great Super Bowl ads that people still talk about. You may remember the first real SB classic – Coca-Cola’s ad featuring Mean Joe Green of the Pittsburg Steelers, who hands his game jersey to a young kid when the kid offers him a Coke. Then there was the Volkswagen ad featuring a young boy dressed as Darth Vader trying to start his dad’s VW, when suddenly the dad starts the car from inside the house, startling the kid. Finally, how many times have you gone back to watch the Budweiser ad with the Clydesdale running up to his original owner following a parade, only to share a moment? I still tear up thinking about that commercial.

But the one that stopped millions of Americans in their tracks was the Dodge ad featuring legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey, who spoke about God creating the American Farmer. Talk about nothing short of powerful.

This year, we looked at another “crop” of ads all hoping to gain their place in the Hall of Fame and all looking to become ingrained in the minds of millions of viewers across the globe. As I look at this year’s bunch, I can say the most innovative award goes to Hyundai for creating a LIVE ad. Though live ads date back to the 1950s, Hyundai’s emotional, original and captivating live ad simply nailed it. I will also give kudos to the Honda “Yearbook” ad, featuring famous celebrities talking in their high school yearbook photos. And, we did all belly laugh watching the amazing Melissa McCarthy getting the “you know what” knocked out of her during the Kia series.

I did miss Dorito’s not being part of the Super Bowl this year. And, of course, I missed the one spot that brings grown men to tears. We all missed you on TV, Budweiser. Overall, if it had not been for Hyundai, the slate was sort of middle of the road. This year, I would say the game itself was the real winner, and with a finale like that, Hyundai’s placement could not have been any better.


Amy Blackburn – Strategic Standpoint
For the first time in a few years, the biggest star of the Super Bowl was actually the game, with Lady Gaga’s halftime show coming in at a close second. Both the game and the halftime show gave Americans a welcome reprieve from these politically turbulent times, something that a few advertisers embraced. There were several advertisers that went the heartwarming route, and the laughs were few and far between, mostly thanks to the absence of perennial Super Bowl favorites like Doritos and Butterfinger.  From a brand strategy perspective, the final test is to ask, “Will it sell X?” Here are a few takeaways.

  • 84Lumber – This moving campaign highlighted the journey of an immigrant mother and daughter trying to enter the United States. It told a compelling story with a captivating cliffhanger that directed viewers to their website, which temporarily shut down due to overwhelming traffic. Despite underestimating website traffic, the campaign was well-executed with wondering online and social components to help tell the story. But, will it sell lumber? Probably not. This was more of a brand awareness play, and for that purpose, the spot was done well. Unfortunately, after watching the spot and the full story online, I still don’t know much about the company or the products they sell. And since I don’t buy lumber every day, that top-of-mind awareness will quickly fade to black.
  • Hyundai – A successful venture into the “live” spot category for the car brand, this spot was filmed and edited during the game. The spot highlighted a couple of deployed troops and allowed them to experience the Super Bowl via an immersive video experience right alongside their family members, who were at the game. Hyundai had the good fortune of a nail-biter right up until the very end, so the immediate post-game placement was the equivalent of two touchdowns with two two-point conversions to tie the game. But, will it sell cars? Maybe. More than 88% of consumers think companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and the environment (Forbes), so this could move Hyundai to the top of someone’s consideration set.
  • Google Home – If “really demonstrating a product” were an advertising award, Google’s spots would take the cake. These heartwarming spots set to a modern rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” delightfully linked the Google Home smart home devices to the lives of everyday people. One unexpected consequence was that the spot activated Google Home devices for those who already had it installed. Certainly a minor hiccup, and one that I’m sure their existing customers got a chuckle out of. But, will it sell? Yeah, probably. This spot actually showed how the product worked, and the ways it can integrate and assist in everyday life.
  • Bai – Perennial commercial favorite Christopher Walken always brings the star power, even when he’s just reciting some boy-band song lyrics. And then Justin Timberlake comes along with an approving nod to Walken’s N*SYNC performance. But, will it sell drinks? Yes. This spot will certainly bring top-of-mind awareness to shoppers as it clearly defined the product benefits with the added benefit of some good 2000-era nostalgia, especially for life-long N*SYNC fans like myself. Bai Bai.

This post was written by Nida Nizami, Social Media Coordinator; Amy Blackburn, Account Director, Media and Brand Strategy; and Dan Martel, Senior Vice President, Chief Creative Officer


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