Top 8 Super Bowl 50 Commercials

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At Shocase, we’re even more excited about the ads than the Big Game itself. So we gathered a team of both agency and client-side executives from across the country, many with past Super Bowl experience, to select the SB50’s best commercials. The advertising group was lead by Vince Engel, long-time creative director and two-time Big Game commercial veteran for Subaru and Nike. Jim Tobin, the president of Ignite Social Media, and his agency team selected the winners of social media after monitoring social engagement before, during and after the game. We also polled consumers to get a 360-degree perspective on the brands that truly shined this past Sunday.

“The game didn’t live up to my expectations and neither did the ads,” commented Engel. “Where were the big ideas? Too many hid the lack of an idea behind movie stars. There were, however, a few spots that stood out to our panel of experts and consumers. Although far from a unanimous choice, ‘Puppymonkeybaby’ from Mountain Dew was the most liked ad across our three groups of judges.”

What other ads made our top 8? Read on.


Ad Agency Winners

  • “Puppymonkeybaby” : Mountain Dew
    • “So dumb, so simple, so memorable,” stated Jason Harris, president of Mekanism, whose work with Pepsi has been seen on Super Bowl Sunday. “Millions of people this morning are humming: puppy-monkey-baby and looking for a Kickstart. It doesn’t have to do more than that.”
    • “While the slightly ‘janky’ animation might add to this ad’s appeal, it is the repetitive rhythmic chanting to the central character that gets stuck in your head like a bad Fat Boy Slim track,” commented David Boensch, group creative director at VML.
  • “Portraits” : Jeep
    • “Far and away the best, although it was far from perfect and wins simply because of the art direction, which consists solely of black and white still shots,” said Janet Champ, creative director/writer at Switzerland Inc. and Big Game ad veteran working with Nike. “The photography was stunning.”
  • “Commander” : Audi
    • “Chills, emotional, classy and Bowie,” said Canice Neary, vice president and co-ECD at Laughlin Constable. “Venables Bell & Partners always delivers high for this client.”

Client-Side Winners

  • “Ultrasound” : Doritos
    • “Hysterical and product focused,” proclaimed Cheryl Robinson, a business executive with over 30 years of client-side experience.
  • “Game Day” : Heinz
    • “Why does this ad have such joyful appeal?” asks Carol Dunne, vice president of brand marketing at La Quinta Inns & Suites. “It’s more than just cute dogs. I think it has to do with the slow motion of the dogs’ ears flapping in the wind with the perfect choice of music that brings that feeling of ‘anticipation.’ The wiener dog licking the Heinz face at the finale is an adorable conclusion. This ad is proof that emotion and likeability can create new consideration and buzz for an old brand.”

Consumer Winners

  • “Ryanville” : Hyundai
    • “Who wouldn’t enjoy 45 seconds of Ryan Reynolds’ face on a high-definition TV?” said Samantha, a young professional from Wisconsin. “It’s a cute and funny ad that is effective in highlighting their anti-crash feature.”
  • “Drop the Balls” : T-Mobile
    • “Really, funny with Steve Harvey,” commented Lily, a student from Alabama. “Played well in pop culture and made me laugh a lot.”

Honorable Mentions

  • “#GiveADamn” : Budweiser and “#EveryDropCounts” : Colgate
    • “My choices are based on if the ad holds my interest and if it might surprise me at the end,” explained Derek Ruddy, founder and executive producer of Switzerland Inc., and Super Bowl veteran for his work on Nike. “Either that or if there is a message that leaves me with a positive impression for the brand. That is why I liked the Bud/Helen Mirren and the Colgate/water spots. Those two had an important message.”

Social Media Winners

“Super Bowl 50 will not go down as the social Super Bowl, as very few of the ads had social tie-ins,” said Tobin. “But the few notable exceptions show how powerful social media can be at extending a message. In fact, the most tweeted brand of the Super Bowl didn’t even buy an ad during the game. Esurance instead chose to give away $1 million to people who retweeted their hashtag. It was a blatant promotion, but lots of folks took the bait.”

  • Esurance ended up with over 835,000 tweets, almost four times more than any other brand during the game.
  • Doritos lit up social media through its commercials (particularly the “Ultrasound” spot) and they were rewarded with over 238,000 tweets.
  • Coming too late in the game to reach the top ten in tweets, Budweiser had a strong #GiveADamn hashtag tied to their Helen Mirren spot against drunk driving. They even paid Twitter a reported $1 million for a custom emoji set to help spread the message. Good marketing, although a fair percentage of the Twitterati found it hard to believe that Mirren drinks Bud.

What were your favorite commercials from this year’s Super Bowl? Comment below!


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Top 8 Super Bowl 50 Commercials