Super Bowl 51 Ads: The All Stars and the Also Rans

There are those Super Bowl commercials that change the landscape of advertising, like Bud Light’s “Cedric Date”, E*Trade’s Talking Babies, and Doritos’ Keep Yo Hands off my Mama. And then, there are the less-than-earth-shattering ads like last year’s Puppy Monkey Baby. Did Super Bowl 51 bring us another “Greatest, or worst, Ad of All Time?”

Sunday night was definitely one for the books, and we aren’t just talking about the incredible comeback by the Patriots to steal the Lombardi Trophy from the hands of the Falcons. While it did make for an awesome game, we’re actually referring to the battle that went down off the field between some pretty powerful brands. We’re talking about the #SuperBowlCommercials that made us laugh so hard we almost choked on our chicken wings, pulled at our heart-strings, changed conceptions of brands, and the ones that, well, fell pretty flat.

These are our picks for best and worst commercials of #SB51.

Cream of the Crop:

1. Buick | Big Game Commercial with Cam Newton & Miranda Kerr
(5,858 likes, 613 dislikes)

Buick’s ad not only made us giggle, but it also made us contemplate our previously held notions about the Buick brand. The Buick brand has often been one of luxury and longevity, not so much modern, innovative, and sexy. This commercial, with a little league football player transforming into Cam Newton, pioneered a new brand image. It was clever, creative and memorable. It changed perceptions of the Buick brand.

2. Bai | Starring Justin Timberlake & Christopher Walken
(#5 trending- 5,810 likes, 549 dislikes)

It had us at Walken… and JT, too. Super Bowl ads have long capitalized on the use of celebrities for endorsements. But, Bai utilized the charisma of Walken and Timberlake in a way that was captivating. Walken’s deadpan delivery of NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” juxtaposed to Timberlake’s quizzical smirk created a moment of pure amusement.

3. NFL Hyundai  | A Better Super Bowl
(9,475 likes, 737 dislikes)

This ad had no mention of Hyundai’s products, deals or incentives. Instead Hyundai used its 5 million dollar Super Bowl ad to put the focus on the sacrifice of our troops. The ad began with “Millions of people just watched the Super Bowl, which wouldn’t be possible without our troops.” The commercial proceeded to follow as Hyundai brought soldiers to the Super Bowl with their families, using 360 video streaming. It was all things American, unifying and heart-warming. We are fans!

4. Mr. Clean | Cleaner of Your Dreams
(24,042 likes, 2,767 dislikes)

This basically made men aware of a simple fact about almost all women: women like a clean house. And any man who steps up to pick up could discover that clean is hot. We loved when that icky CGI Mr. Clean surprisingly morphed into her husband and got immediately sacked. Moral of the story: A man with a mop might be the cleanest way to get a woman a little dirty.

5. TMobile | #BagofUnlimited with Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg
(13 trending- 7,888 likes, 397 dislikes)

It’s a play on Snoop Dogg’s reputation for the greener things in life, with a twist involving the oblivious Martha Stewart. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this duo in action, exploiting this unusual relationship really lit it up.

Bottom of the Barrel:

1.Yellow Tail Wine Super Bowl Ad

We have little to say about this advertisement, except the Kangaroo looked robotic, and we’re pretty sure they aren’t actually friendly animals. We’d rather not have one at our party.

2. Sprint | No Need for Extreme Measure

Dad faking his death to get out of his Verizon contract, this is never a good joke to make. Flag on this play. #VerizonGuyIsATraitorAnyway

3. Ford Commercial

The background song was great, the depicted situations were relatable, but the connection from ad to product wasn’t made until the very end of the commercial. It was cute, but in our opinion, fell short of bringing value to the brand.

4. Honda | Yearbooks

The idea behind this ad was great. We can’t say as much for the execution. We had no clue what the product or brand of the commercial was, until it was almost over. And, even then we couldn’t really make the connection.

5. We can’t remember the rest. We just know we didn’t like them.

Did we see the next “big one” in advertising and marketing? What do you think?
Give us your two cents.