This past Sunday, the Broncos beat the Panthers 24-10 – but as advertisers, this wasn’t exactly our first priority. The real showdown occurred between plays, where 52 advertisers fought for the attention of approximately 111.9 million viewersacross the U.S.
Let’s recap some of the highlights:
Corporate Social Responsibility
Many brands took advantage of the event’s colossal viewership to promote safety, sustainability, and well-being -- for that, we salute them. On behalf of Budweiser, Dame Helen Mirren voiced many of our inner sentiments towards drunk driving, as she crucified every selfish being that has ever or would ever get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
In an effort to distance the NFL from its associations with domestic violence, the organization promoted NO MORE, a foundation dedicated to raising awareness and destigmatizing domestic violence (read more about the NFL's campaign here). Colgate stressed water conservation and BMW’s spot celebrated diversity by positioning the new MINI Clubman as a vehicle for all genders, sexualities, body types, and personalities. Lastly, AXE’s ad proved that all men have that “special something” to lure lovers—even if that “special something” lacks bronzed, chiselled abs—which is a drastic departure from the brand’s previous creative strategy.
What Just Happened?
A few advertisers took a walk on the wild side, hoping their bizarre creative would captivate audiences. Heinz dressed hundreds of dachshunds in hot dog costumes and it was glorious. Honda’s ad appointed a sheep choir, Doritos forced a woman into premature labor, AstraZeneca’s spot romanticized bowel movements with black-and-white aesthetics, Mtn Dew birthed a puppy/monkey/baby hybrid (which generated the most social impressions), and according to Avocados from Mexico, aliens adore guacamole.
When you have 30-60 seconds to impress the largest audience of the year, choosing the right celebrity endorsement is absolutely crucial. Here are a few famous brand ambassadors that companies invested in this year.
Amazon proved that it would be both hilarious and awkward if Jason Schwartzman, Dan Marino, Missy Elliot, and Alec Baldwin mingled under the same roof in #Baldwin Bowl. Hyundai imagined a world where every man looked like Ryan Reynolds, and in another spot, enlisted everyone’s favorite pint-sized comedian, Kevin Hart -- the ad won first place in USA Today’s Ad Meter. Bud Light made a safe bet with Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen, Janelle Monae danced through the decades with Pepsi, and Snickers revealed that Marilyn Monroe morphs into an ornery Willem Dafoe when she’s hungry.
Lastly, T-Mobile’s spot remixed Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” Apartments.com tested the most unlikely duo featuring Lil Wayne and Jeff Goldblum, and Kia made us all hope that we never have to encounter Christopher Walken in “Walken Closet.”
Live Life to the Fullest
Fantastical imagery, inspirational anthems, and notions of legendary status helped brands position their products as a way to enhance consumers’ lifestyles. Budweiser’s ad showcased its robust history to clarify that it’s only suitable for true Americans. Jeep fancied itself an icon in “Portraits”, capturing the euphoric, adventurous, and spontaneous spirit sought after by millennials across the nation. Audi compared its driving experience to space shuttles, Advil’s spot made us cringe in admiration over flexibility and strenuous activity, and PayPal redefined “new money” as a way to innovate the consumer experience and our economy.
While this year’s roster may not have been the most electrifying to date, it was certainly a breath of fresh air. It appears advertisers are trading in sex appeal (remember Go Daddy and Carl’s Jr?) for responsible promotions, bizarre humor, and celebrity powerhouses during game day. It’s admirable to see the alcohol industry confront overconsumption issues, especially on a day when a substantial portion of the population is drinking like college freshmen.
The safe bets – partnering with Amy Schumer, dressing weiner dogs in hot dog costumes, and watching Drake dance like a dork – were still entertaining. I’m only left with one question: what does it say about our country if a pug/monkey/human baby resonated with audiences the most?
What did you think about the Super Bowl 50 advertising? If you’re interested in last year's roundup, click here or reach out at Info.US@ebiquity.com
By Jennifer Bonetto
About the Author:
Jennifer Bonetto is an Advertising Analyst at Ebiquity