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Super Bowl Ad Review: When the Ads are Better than the Game

There are 3 types of viewers of the Super Bowl; fans of the sport, fans of the halftime show entertainment, and then casual viewers who watch for the commercials.  With the lackluster performance the players put on this year and with the surprisingly negative reviews the halftime show received, I think it’s fair to say viewers who got the most out of the game were those watching the coveted ads. At an estimated $5 million dollar price tag for a 30 second spot, there’s a lot of pressure to grab the viewer’s attention and give them something to talk about after those 30 seconds are over.

Here’s who our team thought succeeded in doing just that:

 

Game of Thrones X Bud Light | Official Super Bowl LIII Ad

The commercial that stood out to me the most this past weekend was the Game of Thrones ad for Bud Light. This commercial started off with an appeal to humor as it can be clearly seen that bud-light is mocking an iconic scene from the show. A knight dressed in armor filled with Bud Light logos from head to toe is shown as the centerpiece. The commercial then takes a twist as an actual character from the show appears and “kills” the Bud Light sponsored knight. The commercial ends with a dragon putting everything up in flames and people screaming in fear. This ad did a great job with appealing to the fans of the show but also to the casual viewer by linking the show to beer. I for one will be buying some bud light for my next GOT viewing party. Thanks Bud Light.

 

Microsoft Super Bowl Commercial 2019: We All Win

I really enjoyed watching the Microsoft Commercial-although it wasn’t funny like many of the other commercials, it appealed to a different side of the people watching. In it, they advertised the Xbox Adaptive Controller, made specifically for people with disabilities to use to play games. I thought it was really awesome because they chose to advertise the adaptive controller-a product that doesn’t have a huge target market, but focused instead on people with disabilities who normally don’t get much attention. In doing this, Microsoft showed the audience the values their company stands for and what they will do for their customers.

 

The Twilight Zone – Super Bowl Promo | Extended Cut

One the Super Bowl ads that caught my attention was the Twilight zone premiere announcement. The show is known for its signature unexpected plot twists and futuristic content. The ad of course was disguised as a program interruption. It begins with what seems as a return from commercial break to the official super bowl game. At that moment the screen starts to flicker off and on; I assume the cbs network is having technical difficulties. As a big football fan I feel myself starting to get angry, thinking how could the CBS network streaming platform have problems on the most watched event of the year. I soon come to realize this is commercial and marvel in the thought of knowing that this commercial had tricked me. If you can fool someone if even for a few seconds, you can make them wonder and that is when you got something very special; those moments are the moments people can remember for a long time. Even from a marketing standpoint I believe moments like those can genuinely entice people to want to engage in more of your content. As the commercial continues viewers are brought back to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is eerily empty except for one man, Jordan Peele ( Film director known for his unique story lines and great plot twists). Peele then steps into his Rod Serling’s role as the narrator of The Twilight Zone series and recites “When the truth is not the truth, what dimension are you even in?” Soon after he walks through the iconic “Twilight Zone” door and then disappearing. End commercial.

 

Game of Thrones X Bud Light | Official Super Bowl LIII Ad

Bud Light ran a handful of commercials during this year’s Super Bowl. The majority of those ads were taking shots at their competitors for brewing their beers with corn syrup. However, one specific ad was a recreation of an iconic Game of Thrones battle from season 4 of the critically acclaimed show. The battle of the Mountain and the Viper was spun by Bud Light into the battle of the Mountain and the Bud Knight. Just like the Viper, the Bud Knight met the same fate at the hands of the Mountain. What I found most interesting about this commercial is that Game of Thrones was able to pump up the anticipation of their final season without having to tease any new footage from the upcoming season. This is huge for fans like myself who prefer to go into a new season without any sort of idea of where the story is going, but still being reminded that the next season is quickly approaching.

 

Not Everything Makes the Cut – Amazon Super Bowl LIII Commercial
This commercial is above the rest of the competition. This stood out to be the adorably weird ad. Amazon is telling us something how Alexa/technology controls humans which is disappointing. The best part was they put truth in their humour, saying “there are lot of fails.”

 

Though this ad is weirdly disappointing, though it caught my attention past this weekend. Showing off the failed campaign where the dog barks and Alexa recognizes its order request was freaking priceless! I love the Alexa dog collar idea! That’s what caught my eye as an animal lover.

 

I like Amazon’s eagerness to ridicule themselves. It’s a pleasant reflection of rationality of failures along the way to success.

 

The Elevator | 2019 Super Bowl Commercial | Hyundai
There were a few ads from Super Bowl 53 I thought were great, but if I had to choose one as my favorite it would be the Hyundai “Shopper Assurance” commercial starring Jason Bateman as an elevator operator. The first reason being Jason Bateman has been one of my favorite actors as of late. I also love how they took these everyday situations that people dread (things such as jury duty or getting a root canal) and made them floors in a building. As surreal as the commercial is,  it’s pretty realistic as well. All of the loathing scenarios’ these people unwillingly exited the elevator to could easily be real occurrences they all had within the same day. It sort of reminds you that no matter how bad your day may be going, someone else is probably having a worse day. Especially the guy who had to try the beatloaf at the vegan dinner party.

 

Budlight Special Delivery Superbowl 53 Commercial
One of the ads that stuck out to me the most was the spot Bud Light ran knocking Coors Light for using corn syrup as an ingredient. In the 30 second spot, the Bud Knight and crew go through a mini Odyssey to deliver a return a barrel of corn syrup back to the Coors Light kingdom.

 

The spot itself was well produced and overall pretty funny in my opinion. I also enjoy when brands take direct shots at each other. I’m a sucker for drama, what can I say. Overall, I really liked the campaign itself, which debuted during the 2018 Superbowl and seems to have come to a conclusion with another of Bud Light’s spots this year.

 

Humor aside, the other reason I remember it is because the message was not all that effective. The commercial was memorable; so that was a win for the Bud Light brand. However, corn syrup being used as an ingredient is not a factor in my decision making. I’m not drinking Coors Light to be healthy. If they are going to take a shot at Coors Light, they could have been more creative. Regardless, I hope Coors Light claps back.

 

Serena Williams: Bumble Commercial

Though I don’t believe in Date-Meet, the bumble ad grabbed my attention. The line I loved from the ad is “But here’s what the world won’t tell you: you don’t have to wait for power. You already have it.” This is so true, I feel like we all have power from within, but it takes time for us to realize that we have it. Trust yourselves to experience the power within you. I still can’t believe myself that I got inspiration from a dating app!

 

More Than OK – #SBLIII | Pepsi :60

The use of celebrities is over played during the superbowl.  At five million dollars for a 30 second ad, I can only imagine what budget you would have to have to be able to sign on not one, not two, but three celebs to be featured in your ad.  That said, I think Pepsi got it right.

 

It touches on the routine situation where a customer at a restaurant asks for a “Coke” while the waiter response, “is Pepsi ok?”  How many times has this happened to you? And what’s your response, “yah, that’s ok, I guess.” Steve Carell overhears this routine conversation only to chime in essentially saying it’s better than ok.  You have to own “OK” and make it better than just “okay”. This is where it gets good and plays on pop culture; enter Lil John and Cardi B using their respective “okay’s”. It’s witty, plays on it’s rival and puts a real life everyday situation into perspective; hopefully convincing the audience to consider asking for Pepsi next time the opportunity arises.

 

2 Chainz X Adam Scott – Expensify This (The world’s first music video you can expense)

I normally don’t like these gimmicky, over the top ads but this one rose to the top of my list for a few reasons. Prior to the game, I started getting ads for Expensify on Instagram. I had no idea what it was and the ads were essentially a teaser to watch the full music video. The first thing I did was read the comments on the post and it was so overwhelmingly positive that I thought the commenters had to be bots sent by Expensify. That prompted me to watch the full ad or music video which was catchy to say the least. Being a business owner, I feel the pain of tracking expenses for accounting and taxes. I was intrigued by what Expensify was and what it had to offer. I thought that this was a good example of an integrated approach and the way that all ads are going. It’s not enough to be linear and have an ad promote an action like going to a website or learning about a sale. The Expensify ad wasn’t just an ad, it was an integrated campaign that targeted me on Instagram before the game, had the right buzz happening in the comments, had a clear call to action to watch the music video and even had an interactive element within the music video. I noticed it the second time I watched it but you can actually take pictures of the receipts in the music video which then link to the corresponding app store to download Expensify and is accomplished via QR code receipts. Genius. I believe that this is the way advertising is going: interactive, integrated, engaging. They took something that is supremely boring, tracking expenses for expense reports, and turned it into gold.

 

From beer companies to expense reports the Super Bowl had it all. It kept people entertained and gave us water-cooler talk for days on end.  From the use of celebrities to partnerships with TV series, ad agencies did their best to prevail on Super Bowl Sunday allowing them to be the clear winner in all the chaos.