In between the passes, tackles and screaming fans, comes one of the biggest anticipatory events of the ages—the singular time when viewers turn the volume up instead of down during the commercial break—the super bowl ads. As the biggest sporting event in the United States, the Super Bowl is not only a showcase for athletic excellence but also for brands to show off their creative marketing chops. Each year, companies pay a pretty penny to compete to create the most memorable, entertaining, and thought-provoking commercials to air during the game. The goal is to stick in the minds of the ~113 million viewers. While generally not experiencing a big spike in sales, the most memorable brands do typically see brief spikes in online searches and potentially increasing brand awareness. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable commercials from this year’s game.
Ram: Healthcare Spoof
While advertising the Ram electric truck, they decided to poke fun at the healthcare advertising world. While spoofing commercials for erectile disfunction drugs and treatments, the 60 second spot got the message across in a creative and new way. The spokesperson stated, “Are you excited about buying an electric vehicle but worried that it could leave you unsatisfied? Then you could be one of many Americans concerned about premature electrification, with symptoms including: fearing you may not be able to last as long as you’d like…” Featuring several different couples sharing their stories, the commercial even took a couple of points from one of GSW’s creative commercials for Peyronies Disease—featuring bent or broken objects hinting towards the you-know-what.
Doritos: Jack’s New Angle
Doritos jumped on America’s love for the “first class” rapper Jack Harlow and used their iconic triangle as the inspiration for Harlow’s “New Angle.” Featuring Missy Elliot and Elton John, Doritos showed Harlow’s career transition from a rapper to a beloved triangle-ist. Many brands get so wrapped into the idea of creating an out-of-the-box and unique commercial that they lose the brand representation within it— leaving viewers scratching their heads saying, “what was that commercial for?” But not Doritos. The iconic Doritos triangle filled the screen for the entire 1:30 second spot, while still remaining engaging and featuring big names. While viewers all have different opinions on the spot in general, no one can deny the fact that it is being talked about and gaining attention.
Tapping into some stereotypical corporate lingo, Workday may have single handedly killed the use of the term “rockstar” in the corporate world. Featuring Ozzy Osborne, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, Gary Clark Jr. and Paul Stanley of Kiss, the commercial quite literally spoke the language of their target audience, while poking fun as well—claiming Ted from finance is not cut out to be the “rockstar” his coworkers claim him to be. This ad nicely tied in the message that Workday makes things easy when it comes to finance and HR.
The Farmers Dog: Forever
The Farmers Dog food nestled its way into the heart and soul of viewers this Super Bowl. The spot portrayed a loved dog named Bear (played by five different dogs) throughout his life and his companion who cared for him deeply. This ad plays into the “man’s best friend” idea, using emotion to trigger their target audience. They know their target customers (dog owners) love their dogs like a best friend and want to treat them well, so they tapped into that desire. They set the viewer up to make the conclusion that Bear was able to make it through all of the most beautiful memories because the family chose to feed him better food compared to processed kibble their competitors make.
Uber One: P Diddy
The Uber One advertisement features P Diddy, Montell Jordan, Kelis, Donna Lewis, Ylvis, and Haddaway bringing forward some of the biggest hits of their careers… in an uber “jingle.” The spot is filled with catchy remakes of popular songs, sticking in the heads of the listeners. Never a bad strategy—although not a jingle.
The ingenious Elf ad played directly off Jennifer Coolidge’s recent interview stating she wanted to play a dolphin in an upcoming role. The interview went viral shortly after she starred in White Lotus. In the Elf commercial, Jennifer Coolidge put the product on and said she, “looked like a baby dolphin,” followed by several dolphin screeching noises. Then, the sticky primer seemed to glue everything she touched to her, resulting in her collecting loads of household items on her person. The commercial did a great job piggybacking on recent popular events, staying on brand, and featuring the strong hold of the product well. It seemed to stay on strategy for Elf and Jennifer Coolidge couldn’t have been more on brand.
Dunkin’: Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck's love for Dunkin' coffee is widely known and doesn't require keeping up with the tabloids, as he has been photographed picking it up countless times, and his habit has remained constant even as he has gone through various relationships. This commercial features the Dunkin’ enthusiast working the drive through. Celebrity stunts such as this can be great for commercials, especially when they play off big names like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
T-Mobile: John Travolta
The T-Mobile commercial took a unique approach—combining a musical “Grease” style ad with John Travolta paired with the stars from Scrubs, replacing summer love with…home internet love? While peculiar and eclectic, the ad stuck in the minds of viewers while getting their point across: you’ll want to hear more about T-Mobile’s great internet deals.