Super Bowl 50 was a good game of football between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, but, to be frank about it, not a great game. There were some good plays, but the game revolved around errors and mistakes much more than it featured great plays and exciting completions. Heck, I don’t think there was a single touchdown from a pass completion for either team. Still, congrats to the Denver Broncos for winning, 24:10, and special props to banged-up quarterback Peyton Manning for leading the team to victory!
Football is usually an entertaining game to watch, though when it comes to the Super Bowl, I’m just as interested in the commercials: with one of the highest viewerships of the year, TV spots are very expensive and companies put a lot of effort into making them memorable.
Weirdly, though, more than half of them end up not being particularly entertaining, engaging or effective. Worse, some can completely backfire, leaving viewers shaking their heads and laughing at the ad.
A prime example this year was the weird NFL spot “Super Bowl Babies” singing songs about being conceived after their parents watched a Super Bowl where the favorite team won. Cute with babies, but when the spot switches to teens and even adults singing about their own conception, well, my viewing party agreed “awkward”:
My favorite of the many ads was the hilarious Hyundai “First Date” commercial about the 2016 Hyundai Genesis and starring comic actor Kevin Hart.
As a single father, I’m sensitive to how often dad are portrayed as idiots in the media while moms can never do any wrong. Life’s more complicated, and it’s fun to see a commercial playing with the idea of a protective father looking out for his daughter. Indeed, it ends with Hart saying “A dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do.” I agree!
Jeep had a couple of interesting commercials, though I didn’t think either quite worked perfectly. The first was more effective, “Portraits”, a slide show of striking portraits of men and women with varying levels of historic importance. I felt it would have been more effective if it would have either shown people in Jeeps or otherwise held off on the brand reveal until the end of the ad, but I might be in the minority as plenty of others liked it:
Budweiser seems to always have multiple campaigns vying for the viewer’s heart and this year was no different. The company delivered up a solid, patriotic diss of craft beer with its “Not Backing Down” spot:
Good advertising, a strong pull. And yet the same company is running what I think is a daft “Bud Light Party” spoof political campaign starring Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer. Amusing, but it’s quite unclear what the point of the advertising campaign actually is, and is it selling beer?
And it’s possible that our country has enough confusion about political campaigns and candidates that a spoof campaign about alcohol might not be quite what the doctor ordered in 2016:
Another company with a reputation for weird but amusing ads is Doritos, a Frito-Lay brand. The company doesn’t focus on the product, but on how desirable they are, and this time they had two great commercial spots, first the slightly twisted, but funny “Ultrasound” spot:
The company also scored a second funny spot with “Doritos Dogs”, though why dogs would want to eat spicy corn chips is fortunately omitted from the narrative storyline:
Another commercial I really liked was the sad, but inspiring “Commander” spot from Audi, telling the story of an old man who dreams about his adventures as an astronaut but is disengaged from his life in a retirement home. Until his son appears and offers to let Dad drive a beautiful 2016 Audi R8, which brings him back to life in a touching and inspirational close:
And, finally, my vote for worst, most incomprehensible commercial was actually what appeared to be a really cool trailer for a Tron-like movie laden with futuristic special effects from LG, “Man from the Future”. It just didn’t work at all for me and left me disappointed that it wasn’t a movie trailer, actually:
Now what about you? What were your favorite commercials from the 2016 Super Bowl 50 broadcast?