The Super Bowl is over, and with the largest televised event in America having aired, it’s time to analyze the most important thing about the big game: the ads. The ads for Super Bowl LI were definitely not as great as the game, which many are calling the greatest Super Bowl of all time. Many Super Bowl records were broken in that game: it was the first Super Bowl to go into overtime, it was the first super bowl when a team overcame a 25 point deficit and came back to win, Tom Brady won his fifth Super Bowl title, and fourth MVP, James White scored 20 points, the most by a single player in the Super Bowl, Tom Brady passed for 466 yards, the most ever in a Super Bowl, the list could go on and on. And let’s not forget Julian Edelman’s legendary catch, somehow he came down with the ball after it was tipped by Atlanta cornerback Robert Alford and after Edelman dived for the pigskin, competing for it in a pile of 3 Atlanta DBs. This Super Bowl was one for the ages, no matter how you feel about the Patriots or the Falcons.
But, back to the ads. As said before, the actual game was a crazy thrill ride, but the ads weren’t. One thing I noticed this year while watching the game was the huge amount of dramatic, inspiring ads, some not really selling a product but promoting an idea. For example, take Airbnb’s commercial, “We Accept”. This thirty second commercial features the faces of people of many different races, ethnicities, and ages being layered on top of each other and displayed next to each other, with text reading: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.” There’s nothing wrong with this type of commercial. A super bowl ad advocating for acceptance of all types of people is great, but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I would’ve liked to see more funny ads that made viewers laugh out loud at their absurdity, creativity, and wit. But that’s not to say there weren’t any ads that had those characteristics. The car company Kia aired a very funny ad that was both witty and creative. In fact, this ad was the highest rated Super Bowl LI commercial on the ad meter. This commercial, “Hero’s Journey”, features the comedian Melissa McCarthy driving a Kia, who is repeatedly called through a radio to help with a bunch of different environmental causes. For example, first she saves the whales from illegal whalers, then she saves the trees from being chopped by lumberjacks, next she saves the ice caps, and lastly she attempts to save the rhinos. Unfortunately, McCarthy almost dies or is injured badly in all these scenes, but it’s funny. Another type of ad in this Super Bowl was the dramatic, inspiring commercial. One that I personally liked, and also ranked highly with other viewers, was Budweiser’s commercial, “Born the Hard Way”. Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Budweiser, journeys to America from Germany and overcomes many obstacles as he pursues his dream to brew beer. He perseveres through a difficult boat ride to America, he encounters people who don’t like immigrants, he jumps off a steamboat that’s caught on fire, and more. Finally, he reaches St. Louis, the city where Budweiser is based today. This commercial was dramatic and very interesting.
According to the USA today ad meter, these were the top five Super Bowl LI ads:
- Kia, “Hero’s Journey”
- Honda, “Yearbooks”
- Audi, “Daughter”
- Budweiser, “Born the Hard Way”
- Tide, #Bradshaw Stain
While there weren’t any revolutionary ads this super bowl, there were still a couple good ones. Let’s look forward to the next super bowl hoping for the Packers to win it, and for some more crazy ads.