Once a year, America comes together to cheer or jeer for two football teams as they battle it out to become Super Bowl Champions. Why do we all watch? Tradition. Habit. Half-time show. Any excuse to party.
Or is it to watch the commercials? That’s it, the commercials! Major advertisers, as well as the teams themselves, put in a lot of work for the Super Bowl. Advertisers pull out all the stops to make their brand stand out, become memorable, go viral and hope they are talked about for years to come.
This is the Super Bowl of advertising, and at $5 million to place a single ad, billions of people will watch, advertisers hold their breath, cross their fingers and you can almost see each of the big executives whispering aloud to the their TV screens – “Pick me, pick me!”
So on to the 50th anniversary of the big game, and while it’s game on for the two teams, it’s also game on for ad supremacy. I watched this year’s new crop of commercials, and as I write this article, I can’t begin to predict which will dominate work chatter the following day. But you can bet I have my opinions.
Here’s what I took away from this year’s crop:
One of the trends I noticed this year is the use of major film, TV and music stars in a lot of the ads. I’m talking some big-time talent – Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart, Jeff Goldblum, Helen Mirren, Drake, Steven Tyler and plenty more. Sure, it’s always nice to have a big star push one’s brand, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee memorability – although Paul Harvey’s voice-over on the Dodge’s “So God Made a Farmer” was a knockout.
So who stood out?
I liked Audi’s “Commander” commercial, which featured an ex-astronaut trying to gain his mojo again. I also enjoyed Hyundai’s series of spots highlighting their latest technology. But overall, I will say I was a little underwhelmed, especially for the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl.
As far as catching the public’s eye, two commercials come to mind – the first is Honda’s Ridgeline truck spot featuring a bunch of sheep that sing the classic Queen song “Somebody to Love.” Another commercial that will completely annoy you, but it will have you talking, is Mountain Dew’s Kickstart drink featuring the puppymonkeybaby character – I said that right – puppymonkeybaby. It’s creepy, disturbing and yes, you will remember it.
This year, as you reach for the chips n’ dip, pop open another beer or knock over the popcorn, one thing I can assure you of – you may not remember Coldplay’s halftime show, and you may not even remember who won the game, but you may go to work the next day, walk up to your favorite co-worker and whisper, “Puppymonkeybaby.”