Members of our team weigh in on which ads caught their attention and which ones missed the mark.
With the Super Bowl being one of the most watched television events in the U.S. every year, the commercial breaks give brands a shot to share the spotlight. It’s a rare time when viewers are actually looking forward to watching ads, instead of scrolling through social media or going to the kitchen to get more buffalo chicken dip. People expect the ads to be entertaining, shocking, or moving, but none of this matters if the audience doesn’t get the message. This year we saw some new, creative ideas that struck a chord with viewers, while other ads are getting the wrong kind of attention. Here are the ones that stood out to us.
Microsoft, “We All Win”
We loved Microsoft’s ad for their new adaptive Xbox controller, which lets people with different disabilities play video games equally with their friends. This ad is great because of its heartwarming message about inclusion and equality and its meaningful product that matched the message.
NFL, “The 100 Year Game”
The NFL’s own ad for the league’s 100th anniversary was the perfect mix of humor and nostalgia. Given some of the bad press the NFL has gotten over recent years, this ad reminds us what the league is all about. Fun, inclusion, and football.
Stella Artois, “Change up the Usual”
Stella Artois does a great job of using nostalgia while still “changing it up” in their Super Bowl ad. They began stirring up anticipation before the Super Bowl with a teaser that had audiences thinking there might be a “Big Lebowski” sequel on the way. Instead, Jeff Bridges and Sarah Jessica Parker reprised their former roles for this one-off ad. Seeing iconic characters from “The Big Lebowski” and “Sex and the City” was a hit with audiences, and having them switch out their go-to drinks for a Stella Artois? Now that’s convincing.
Devour, “Food P***”
Devour’s innuendo-ridden ad for frozen food was supposed to make the food look too good to quit, but instead left many people feeling uneasy. If you wouldn’t want to explain the meaning of the ad to your kids, that’s a sign that your ad isn’t television ready.
Hyundai, “The Elevator”
Hyundai’s ad featured an elevator that stops at notoriously undesirable locations with car buying being at the bottom. One of these is a “vegan dinner party”, seemingly mocking veganism. Hyundai is now receiving backlash from vegan consumers and groups like PETA, with some people even calling for a boycott of Hyundai cars. While the jab was likely made in good fun, it’s a reminder to brands that poking fun at any group comes with a risk.