Superbowl-50

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gents. The Superbowl. This one is quite significant as it is Superbowl 50 because duh, it’s the 50th year celebrating the sport that is American football. But as anyone who has watched the full spectacle, the event isn’t just about American football. It’s about the en-masse trans-fat eating and booze sloshing, it’s about the coveted Half-Time Show, it’s about the Puppy Superbowl! It’s also like the Olympics meets the World Series for brands & advertisers. And this year hasn’t stopped those advertisers and brands spending like there’s no tomorrow. Of course those big brands can afford it because it’s like the saying: “you get what you pay off”. And just being short of the FA World Cup & the Olympics, there is no other greater stage for advertising to the masses. So you know what’s next, time to see who did well and who didn’t do so well. I’ve picked out 50 ads because you know, Superbowl 50. Pun IS intended and I’m not ashamed of it.


 

Acura

Verdict: I enjoyed that advert for the simple fact that it just seems to work for Acura. The cinematic cut-through shots, the glamourous angles of the car in question and the backing sound was both fitting and emotive. Not sure whose voice that was in the background hollering and screaming but damn it sounded like they were having fun. Which made the advert quite fun for me to watch. Slick + fun = good advert.

Grade: A-

 


 

Audi

Verdict: Well that’s one way to shake off the blues. That R8 looked every bit shiny as it did look badass. No wonder the grandfather’s face lit up. Is it me or does there seem to be an ‘elderly theme’ going on? Like since Christmas? Maybe it’s just me (I’m not ageist, I swear). I think its a sweet advert, nostaglic and to have David Bowie’s ‘Starman’ featured in it was a nice touch too. But I’m wondering…did the grandson give him just a test run or was it an actually gift? If it’s the latter, well DAMN!

Grade: A-

 

 

HONDA

Verdict: Hahahahaa! Its a beautifully shot ad but the stars of the show are definitely the sheep. I found it quite funny to watch, its light-hearted and humourous. Those sheep could really belt out those notes. And I haven’t heard that song in like forever so it was nice to hear it again. Especially with such a twist on it. It’s nothing ground breaking, but still a fun watch.

Grade: B

 


 

HYUNDAI (1)

Verdict: Since Deadpool has been making the rounds, its actually nice to see Ryan Reynolds make the rounds again. I think the film has raised his profile and brilliantly so. This advert is funny because everyone in the neighbour bares a striking resemblance to Reynolds. And speaking personally for myself, the man has never looked hotter. Wait…this was supposed to be a car advert right?

Grade: B+ (Reynolds himself gets a A+ from me because I’m shameless like that)

 


 

HYUNDAI (2)

Verdict: I love Kevin Hart, so much funny in such a short man. Him playing the role of a overprotective father suited him well. Boy knows how to bring the crazy. That young lad stood no chance. Enjoyed seeing Hart bring the intrusive stunts and overreaching crazy. That car finder do-dad trick for the Hyundai is quite impressive. Slick looking too.

Grade: B+

 


 

JEEP

Verdict: I heard quite a bit of hype around this advert after Superbowl 50 and I can see why. The portrait look is a throwback to the early 00s and to do that as a commercial is certainly different. The photography is fabulously stunning. The faces are hauntingly beautiful and the narrative is potent and stirringly potent. Wonderful advert! And I had no idea JEEP had been around for 75 years. Definitely one of the most memorable ads of the Superbowl.

Grade: A+

 


 

KIA

Verdict: Didn’t what to expect with this one. I liked the beige analogy and going against that for something bold and different. And I like Christopher Walken alot, great actor and such a memorable voice. But the advert fell a bit flat for me nearing the end. I mean its a decent looking car but I don’t know. Maybe I’m the wrong target audience (read: I’m definitely the wrong target audience). But not a bad ad from KIA. Last year’s was so much better though.

Grade: C

 


 

MINI USA

Verdict: Hmmm, well I think this advert is a bit of a different route for Mini. I kinda got a bit lost at the beginning about what was going on but near the end I realised. Heck, I should have realised from the beginning because hello, the ad is called ‘Defying Labels’ after all. But it is a good reminder of what one shouldn’t let themselves be labelled or pigeonholed into a singular category. The same thing goes for cars too.

Grade: B

 


 

TOYOTA

Verdict: Erm, LOL them duck though. Okay the guy’s singing (doubt its actually his voice but you know) is clever but probably trying to be a bit too clever and cute like. I do like the ‘over the top’ mess of it all and that Prius ain’t bad looking. Love the red. A lot of random happening in the ad but I guess it’s the point. It’s the ducks that mad me laugh at the ridiculousness of it all but again, it does well for a advert that is deliberately being fun and exciting. Americans, am I right?

Grade: B

 


 

AVOCADOS FROM MEXICO

Verdict: AfM put out their first Superbowl advert last year (which was great) so they had set the bar quite high for themselves for Superbowl 50. I enjoyed the advert. It looks fun and wacky even before you hit play. There’s a number of pop culture references made in this and I bet that was so much fun to participate in. I don’t get the whole hubbub around guacamole but it was a delight to watch and easily one of the most memorable ads of Superbowl 50.

Grade: A-

 

 

BUDWEISER (1)

Verdict: When I first heard that Dame Helen Mirren was going to be in a Bud advert for Superbowl 50, I was like ‘Huh? What? Why?’. Now that I’ve seen the advert I can see clearly now. *Tries not to burst into song*. The advert is poignant in its direct approach and demure setting. When it comes to drink driving, sometimes less is more to get the point across. And using Mirren to do that with that typical dry, non-nonsense approach that we Brits are so typically famous for, worked really well for the advert. Yeah it was scripted but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that is actually what Helen Mirren would say herself. Script or no script. She was straight forward and unwavering, with a touch a sarcasm & humour. Pleasantly surprised by this one.

Grade: A-

 


 

BUDWEISER (2)

Verdict: Didn’t know what to expect with this advert. Seth Rogan & Whatsherface being in this advert made me originally think one thing. It’ll either be over the top good or over the top bad. After having watched the Bud Light advert I’m leaning more towards the latter. It’s trying too hard to be funny and it’s nowhere near as good as the Helen Mirren advert. I get its trying to be humourous but quite frankly I found it rather humourless.

Grade: D

 


 

BUDWEISER (3)

Verdict: Much preferred this advert to the Rogen & Schumer one. This was visually appealing, energetic and punchy. Great backing track and no narrative was needed. Reminded a bit of the Acura advert above, just a tad bit longer. Good advert from Bud, not their best though. I think Mirren’s advert was the best one out of the three.

Grade: B

 


 

T.J. Miller

Verdict: Again, another advert I didn’t know what to expect from. (This seems to be a pattern). But it was short, sweet and sassy. It was humorous without trying to hard. You hear that Rogen & Schumer? God I wish I could take the 1 minute of my life back.

Grade: B

 


 

BUTTERFINGER

Verdict: Bizarre. Bizarre is the word I’m going to go for here. I sensed it was going to be a bit of a wacky advert but I didn’t think it was be this nuts (no pun intended). I mean I got a bit confused what was going on because it just felt like crazy piled on top of more crazy. Sure that may have been the point and sometimes with adverts a point doesn’t have to be made. But it was just so….bizarre.

Grade: C-


 

COKE

Verdict: Loved it. LOVE! I didn’t know Coke was doing a collab with Marvel until after Superbowl 50 so I had high hopes for this one. It did not disappoint. Between Paul Rudd’s Ant Man hilarious cheeky character (he was a quick little bugger wasn’t he?!) to the Hulk just being, well the Hulk. Never take a man’s Coke. Especially if that man is 7ft tall, weighs 1,400lbs and has the most cantankerous anger issues.

Grade: A+

 


 

DORITOS (1)

Verdict: Bwhahahahahaa!! Those are my kind of dogs! Although they lose points for going after Chilli Heatwave (I’m assuming. Tangy Cheese is KING!)*. After attempt after attempt to try and bag themselves some delicious corn-chip goodness, they figured out a way to do it. I won’t spoil it though if you haven’t seen it yet. But it did make me laugh.

*Update: I was wrong, apparently its Cheese Supreme. Oooh now THAT sounds delicious! The dogs get their extra points back.

Grade: B+

 


 

DORITOS (2)

Verdict: I heard a-lot of commotion around this advert and I heard it was pretty far out there. Which is saying a lot of a Dorito advert. I mean I knew something was gonna be up with the baby but…I mean DAMN. No way those chips are that good…

Grade: WTF  C

 


 

HEINZ

Verdict: Dachshunds in hot-dog costumes. Could you think of anything more hilariously cute?! Hahahaha it was a short but fun advert which looked like it was a lot of fun for everyone involved. The dachshunds included. Now I’m craving hot-dogs smothered in ketchup. Well done Heinz, your cute, slightly over subliminal advert worked.

Grade: A-

 


 

MOUNTAIN DEW

Verdict: What. The. Hell. Was. That? Did I drop acid before pressing play on that advert? I bet that’s what Mountain Dew is laced with. That or cocaine. Now I know Mountain Dew have a tendency to throw common sense out the window and bring the crazy in spades but….I…can’t even…begin to figure out how to critique this. Erm, NEXT.

Grade: WTF  D-

 


 

PEPSI

Verdict: Marvellous advert from Pepsi. It was fun, vibrant and kept switching it up. Starring the wonderful Janelle Monae, it was a great ad that fits the Superbowl so well. Plus it’s a great way to get people excited about the infamous Half Time Show too. Loved the ending, great concept.

Grade: A

 


 

SKITTLES

Verdict: Steven Tyler in a Skittles ad? Didn’t see that coming. I liked the bit where he talks about ‘minds to twist & values to warp’. Hahaha yes! But the talking skittle portrait was a little weird and jarring, but that was made up for when it went for that all elusive high note and fell apart. Literally.

Grade: C+

 


 

SNICKERS

Verdict: Willem Dafoe in heels and Monroe drag. What could go wrong? He made a good point about who’s bright idea was it to put Monroe in hells standing over a vent grate. I wonder how Snickers managed to CGI/Hologram/Summon the dead Marilyn into the ad? Clever. It’s better than last year’s advert.

Grade: C+

 


 

TACO BELL

Verdict: I have no idea if this Bryan Wilson is a real person or an personified character (could very well be an actual person, he is American), but he really goes for it. A whole lotta crazy going on it that advert. He throat must hurt after all that yelling and hollering. It was a bit cringy to watch. No way the Quesalupa taco is that good. (Read: I’ll take 5 please).

Grade: C-

 


 

MOBILE STRIKE

Verdict: I find most mobile app adverts pointless. Probably because I don’t do mobile games. But it’s interesting to see what these mobile app companies do when it comes to the Superbowl. After seeing a barrage of first time hitters last year, Mobile Strike’s ad featuring the one and only Schwarzenegger, it turned out to be quite a surprising little number. It was fun, creative and did well to bolster up an app that probably isn’t that amazing. Probably.

Grade: B

 


 

POKEMON

Verdict: Gawd I used to love the hell outta Pokemon. Watched the series, collected the cards etc (Sidenote: Is that still on TV? If so how is that even possible??) But this is their first ever Superbowl advert and celebrating its 20 year existence, Superbowl 50 is a fitting debut stage. Great advert, good concept and narrative. Made me nostalgic watching it.

Grade: B+

 


 

QUICKBOOKS

Verdict: You know when you watch an advert you’re not sure how it will turn out? Definitely one of those ads. Interesting concept from Quickbooks in collaboration with Death Wish Coffee. It’s very cinematic and dramatic and has an interesting twist at the end. Other than that, I don’t have much else to say about it.

Grade: B

 


 

So-Fi

Verdict: For a loan company, taking out an advert during the Superbowl is mad-level risky. But I actually liked it. For a loan/money advert it was quite delightful to watch. Good concept, decent narrative and it flowed quite smoothly. Nice job So-Fi.

Grade: B+

 


 

SunTrust Banks

Verdict: Never heard of this company before so I’m assuming this is the first time they’ve put an advert out at the Superbowl. Considering the uncertain financial times we live and and how a lot of people are literally living week to week or day to day, I can imagine this striking a chord with a lot of people. It’s quite a poignant advert with moments of dread as well as hope. Nice cinematography too.

Grade: B

 

 

TURBOTAX

Verdict: Awhh poor James. That ice-cream cake looked real good yo!

Grade: C-

 


 

Quicken Loans

Verdict: Hmmmm well I get what the narrator is saying, but what if some of those people just wanted to rent? It happens. I think I’ve watched too many of these adverts (currently watching them one after the other). Interesting concept, loved the CGIness of it all. But it’s nothing earth shattering and I’ll most likely forget about it this time next year.

Grade: B-

 


 

DISNEY

Verdict: I had originally had to 7 sec trailer up previously and watched it and was like “Woah, WAIT. When did they decide to do another Jungle Book?!” So after finding the full trailer above, I basked in the awesomeness that is the CGI. The graphics were visually euphoric and the film just has such presence. I see big things in Neel Sethi’s future. The cast line-up is interstallar, although Scarlett Johansson as Kaa threw me…I can’t decide if that’s a miscast or not. But maybe she’ll surprise me. I would definitely watch this flick. Looks like one of the few decent releases Disney has done in a long time.

Grade: A+

 


 

AMAZON

Verdict: Quite a line up in this Amazon advert for Superbowl 50. Alec Baldwin, Missy Elliott, Dan Marino & Jason Schwartzman are featured in Amazon’s ad and the star of the show isn’t any of them. It’s the new Amazon Echo. Apparently it will recognise your voice from way across a busy room via voice recognition, change up songs, switch on lights, answer questions (like Google), read audiobooks, news updates and so on. Like a little smart home hub gadget. The ‘Internet of things’ is becoming increasingly more commonplace. Which I personally find equally exciting and terrifying. That shameless Missy Elliott new track plug at the end though, ha!

Grade: B+

 


 

APARTMENTS.COM

Verdict: Watching this made me want to re-watch The Jeffersons again. There’s was a bit of controversy around this ad because of the whole George and Weezy thing, specifically the George Washington cosplayer & Lil’ Wayne in those roles. Because if you know anything about American history, Washington being the first American president was also a lifelong slave owner. That didn’t sit right with some people. Speaking as a black man, I get why people may be concerned but I don’t it matters much to others. It’s just an ad that’s supposed to be ironic and playful. Plus Lil’ Wayne doesn’t seem to care so people need to calm down just a touch. Love Jeff Goldblum’s part in it, I thought he was the best part of the advert.

Grade: B

 


 

SQUARESPACE

Verdict: I’ve heard of Key & Peele beforehand but didn’t really know what they were famous for. After finding out they are a famous American comedy duo, it made sense why the advert I had watched previously seemed like fun. Not over the top fun or crazy but you could tell that these two were characters. And also there was some controversy around the inclusion of Key & Peele and the narrative of the advert so Squarespace apparently did it all on the hoof. As a live, improvised advert. Pretty damn clever.

Grade: B

 


 

WIX.COM

Verdict: Interesting how Wix.com collaborated with Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda, which oddly enough has a new film coming out shortly. I liked how the Po (that’s the Panda) did spoofs of already existing adverts in his mind. The best one was the Old Spice spoof.  I’m familar with Wix as I’ve used them many moons ago. It’s not a bad advert, but an easily forgettable one.

Grade: C-

 


 

AXE

Verdict: AXE usually do real good adverts, especially around Superbowl time. This time was no exception. I love that the went for the whole ‘be yourself and only yourself’ route. And it’s true. Doesn’t matter if you’re a bit tall or slender, or freckled, handicapped, intelligent, kind-hearted or even rock a pair of heels. As long as you get the girl (or guy for some) that’s all that matters. And you can only truly impress if you’re being the best version of yourself possible. Or some sweet fluff like that. Fierce advert, AXE didn’t disappoint.

Grade: A

 


 

COLGATE

Verdict: Every drop counts, indeed. You know before even watching that this advert will be poignant, but it really does a good job of bringing home the real point. We waste far too much water. Compared to others in worst situations to ourselves, its rather responsible of Colgate to turn around and say ‘Hey, get your act together people’. There was no voice over but it wasn’t necessary. The less is more approach worked great here and it’s definitely going to make me think twice when I come to brushing my teeth next time.

Grade: A

 


 

PERSIL

Verdict: There’s only two things that this advert did for me. The suave voice that was coming out of the man’s mouth. And the ‘boom’ at the end. So American. Other than that…..it’s kind of a ‘meh’ advert. The teaser trailer had much more promise.

Grade: D-

 


 

SCHICK

Verdict: This advert is what I would like to call a ‘Dark Horse’. I think out of all the ads I’ve seen so far this one FAR exceeding my expectations. I love the Transformers twist to it. Definitely made an otherwise boring advert about razors much more dramatic and fun.

Grade: A

 

 

MARMOT

Verdict: From the trailer I expected it to be a little silly. I didn’t think it would go past silly and into ridiculous territory. No lie, this made me laugh. The dude and his furry friend (what was that? A beaver? Looked like a beaver) got into all kinds of silly scenarios and we’re having the time of their lifestyles. That ending though….LOL!

Grade: A-

 


 

FITBIT

Verdict: The boss here owns a Fitbit so I know as soon as he sees this he’s gonna want to buy one. Short advert but it seemed to work in their favour. A lot of energy packed into 30 secs and it sells the product with an edge of dramatic flair. Real question is, can it rival the iWatch? Probably.

Grade: B+

 

 

GO-PRO

Verdict: Whoever’s idea it was to use actual footage from numerous adventure-seekers Go-Pro cams for this advert, knew what they were talking about. Those shots alone sell the product. Now I kinda what one but I don’t plan to be rock-climbing, bungee jumping or lake diving anytime soon *phew*.

Grade: B+

 


 

LG

Verdict: I like Liam Neeson. The man is a fantastic actor, beloved by many and his voice carries a particular presence that few have. The concept isn’t different but seems to work for the LG advert. I feel like that kid let down the advert a bit but that’s just me. The new TV looks impressive. And reaaaaaaally thin. Is that real? Couldn’t have that in my house, too much of a klutz.

Grade: B-

 


 

PAYPAL

Verdict: Paypal have thrown in their two pence into the Superbowl ad frenzy and if I’m being honest, it kind of falls by the wayside. I get what the concept is trying to do and its as over the top as some of the ads we’ve seen above. But I don’t know, to me it just seems a bit lacklustre. Even the Demi Lovato instrumental thumping in the background couldn’t save it.

Grade: D

 

 

T-MOBILE (1)

Verdict: I saw some similarities to this advert and ourselves here. Drake sounded a lot like the creative and/or designer whilst the mobile execs were, well the client. They added a lot in that wasn’t necessary and basically got carried away. Basically the advert was like an acted out version of this chart. That comparison is the only reason I like the ad. Other than that, it was actually a bit of a letdown.

Grade: C-

 


 

T-MOBILE (2)

Verdict: Hahahahaa fair play to Steve Harvey. Being a funnyman from way back, I’m not surprised he want along with this advert for T-Mobile. He was great in it. Not only did it poke fun at Harvey and the Miss Universe fiasco, but also at Verizon. In the same style more a less. Why, how sassy of you T-Mobile! Definitely the better ad out of the two (sorry Drake).

Grade: A-

 


 

NCADA – St. Louis

Verdict: Well damn. I knew this advert was gonna be quite potent but damn! Now bare in mind, not all Superbowl ads are national. Some a regional and this instance, this advert aired in St. Louis, Missouri. Girl had everything and threw it away because of that mess. Remember kids, drugs are bad. No seriously they really are. Cocaine is one thing but heroin is no joke. Leave that mess alone.

Grade: B

 


 

NFL

Verdict: I didn’t know that Superbowl babies was a thing? (Read: apparently you’re a Superbowl baby if you were conceived on Game Day). So seeing different age groups coming together from different states with their respective team colours on was really quite something. And switching up the lyrics to tie in with Superbowl 50 in the same style and melody as Seal’s ‘Kiss By A Rose’? I won’t lie, I enjoyed watching that. I didn’t know what to expect but was a bit blown away. The whole tie in with how NFL is considered a family sport is interesting because I do think American football seems to be the no.1 sport in the US that really brings families and friends together. There’s something sweet about that.

Grade: A

 


 

NO MORE

Verdict: The domestic violence & sexual abuse organisation No More teamed up with the NFL and Grey to produce a poignant advert that is no-fuss, no nonsense and all potent. Less is more here and it works well, especially with the use of instant messaging, something young kids, teens and adults will instantly identify with.

Grade: B-

Written by: JR

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