Our take on Super Bowl XLIX Ads

As the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks competed on the field for Super Bowl XLIX, brands across the nation faced off during the commercial breaks. Movie trailers, mobile game promotions and new product announcements were among the ads that were shown during the game.  Hashtags like #AdBowl, #BrandBowl and #PRSSABowl were flooding Twitter throughout the game and opinions came rolling in real-time as football fans, advertising buffs and everyone in between watched the Super Bowl commercials. It was a hot topic in the office this morning as our team weighed in on the best and the worst of this year’s ads. See what everyone had to say:

THE GOOD

Alex: Fiat 500X: Blue Pill

Totally unexpected and got a good laugh out of the entire room.

Diana: Fiat 500X: Blue Pill

Aside from it being funny and memorable, it took a clever approach at how it unveiled the product at the end. I’ll remember the commercial, and more importantly, I’ll remember the product.

Jeff: Wix.com: #ItsThatEasy

This one was humorous and effective. Loved the use of former NFL players and what they were known for to show how easy it is to create your own sharp website. 

Kevin: TurboTax: 2015 Super Bowl Commercial

Using the Boston Tea Party was clever and funny.

London: Nationwide: “Make Safe Happen”

The shock value made the message one of the strongest.

Pete: Clash of Clans: Revenge

Yes, it was humorous, but casting Liam Neeson as pitchman for an app casts people’s view of “gamers” in a hip new light.  This was both memorable and branded the product well.

Susan: Doritos: Middle Seat

It was funny with an unexpected twist and the brand was very clear. 

Of course it was hard to choose just one, and Budweiser, Nissan, Jurassic World and Toyota got honorable mentions as well.

THE BAD

Only a few of us chose to dwell on the negatives, but those that did had strong opinions.

Alex: Skittles: Settle It and Jublia: Tackle It

The Skittles arm wrestling ad was totally pointless and the Jublia toenail fungus medication ad was really gross.

Diana: Nationwide: “Make Safe Happen”

It’s too depressing for the Super Bowl. People expect to see funny or heartwarming ads during the Super Bowl so this just wasn’t a good fit for that venue.

London: Coca Cola: #MakeItHappy

I understand the message but I think it downplayed the issue of bullying in order to paint a picture of the brand.

Pete: Game of War: Who Am I and Esurance: Sorta Mom

I felt like I had already seen the latest Game of War ad featuring Kate Upton hundreds of times because it was so similar to their others ads that have been airing for weeks. 

As a communications and public relations professional, one of the major bars that I have for a “good” Super Bowl ad is that viewers must be able to remember the brand.  So, while I thought the “sorta like” ads featuring Bryan Cranston and Lindsay Lohan were funny, far too many people I spoke with had no idea what company they were advertising.  It was Esurance, in case you couldn’t remember.  

THE TAKEAWAYS

  • This is an office who likes to laugh. Most everyone’s favorite ad was a humorous one, proving that making an audience smile goes a long way.
  • Another reoccurring theme in the ads we loved was an unexpected twist or surprise. Predictability is boring!
  • Using a serious or even sad concept is a serious risk. People don’t want to be depressed during a fun event like the Super Bowl.
  • Attention-grabbing is important, but being memorable is the real goal. If an ad doesn’t present the brand clearly and in a way that people will remember then what’s the point?
  • Be new and original. Some of the ads shown had definitely been on TV or mobile prior to the Super Bowl and that could cause people to disregard them because they had already been seeing them around.
  • Don’t be gross or pointless. Just like people don’t want to be depressed during a fun and happy event, they also don’t want to be grimacing with disgust or left wondering ‘why did I just watch that?’

Share the Super Bowl XLIX advertisements that you loved and hated with us! You can view a complete list of them here.