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I am not much of a football fan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the Super Bowl. I look forward to the event every year because of the commercials. As a lifelong marketer, this is the ultimate advertising competition.  

Super Bowl Ads – The Real Battle

It is a high stakes event with companies investing millions in their 30, 60 or 90-second spots. Some will find the thrill of victory as their ad goes viral, is shared on YouTube and talked about for the days and weeks after the game. But for most, there isn’t even the glorious failure as people simply forget Super Bowl ads the moment they are over. 

Social media has changed the game, giving fans a way to talk about, share and enjoy the ads over and over again. This gives the top advertisements more opportunities to shine. Looking at this list of the top ads from the last eight years you see many ads which probably drew larger audiences long after the game was over. 

So who got it right this year? I asked a panel of experts, also known as Team ‘Peg to pick their favorites. 

Cherilyn’s Pick: Marshawn Lynch playing the bagpipes in Houston, Scotland

I can generally keep up with how a football game is progressing and why my friends are cheering and booing at certain intervals, but I didn’t even know who was playing the Super Bowl until someone told me in disbelief yesterday. 

Apparently, my fellow Scotsmen are more ardent fans than I am. This ad tickled my sense of ridiculousness and subtly implied the sponsor without distracting from the absurdity. 

Lorraine’s Pick: Born to Be Wild with a Mercedes

Here’s why I loved every second of this commercial:

  1. Let’s face it for anyone of my generation the song “Born to Be Wild” is is essentially an anthem.  
  2. Peter Fonda.
  3. The images of aging bikers still rocking out, arm wrestling and head butting made me laugh. My favorite is the guy who had to put on his glasses to read the song titles. 
  4. Did I mention Peter Fonda?

All kidding aside, this is brilliant advertising, because Mercedes clearly understands their target customer. The combination of power and comfort will appeal to the affluent baby boomer who remembers the music and the movie and identifies with the challenges of aging. For everyone else.the pounding music and visual sight gags will break through the noise of any Super Bowl party. And of course, there is Peter Fonda. 

Sam’s Pick: Bud Light Between Friends

Bud Light, your beer may basically be water but I have to give you props where it is due. Every year you see lots of duds come through the Super Bowl ad pipeline, but this is not one. The Bud Light team did a great job with their ad this year, finding the perfect balance of sappy sentimentality and smart humor to create a clever and, dare I say, touching commercial.

Luke’s Pick: Febreeze #BathroomBreak

So first off, I find this commercial absolutely disgusting as a viewer, but as a marketer, I think it’s perfect. It reminds us all of how gross we are as human beings and the millions of pounds of wings and greasy food that we will be digesting for game day.

So although I find this commercial gross, it is an automatic reminder that I probably need to invest in some freshener for the bad smells flowing from my bathroom and without much competition when I go to my local grocery store, you know Febreze will be fresh on my mind for my next visit.

Peter’s Pick: Avocado’s From Mexico

This ad doesn’t have celebrities (except John Lovitz), it doesn’t have action (except that twist ending) and it has no connection to football, or even the product (except for the part with John Lovitz). But I love it. In the ad, members of a secret society meet to find out who’s been leaking their secrets. As these awkwardly bad conspirators shift blame around the circle, they reference Big Foot, live-streaming, 50 Shades of Gray, even Deflate Gate. Make sure to listen closely to catch all of them.

The ad is definitely made for re-watching online. It plays like an SNL skit where the lines build on each other to a visual punch line you’ll only get if you’ve been paying attention.

Eventually, they get to the biggest secret of all: avocados are good for you.

Jenna’s Pick: Sprint- Extreme Measures

This has everything I want in an advertisement: casual violence, drastic overreactions and a morbid sense of humor. I don’t particularly care about the Super Bowl, but I would gladly watch this family fake their own deaths any day. Phone companies are constantly going after each other in their ads, but Sprint definitely won this round with their hilariously dark approach to switching carriers. Sure, most people don’t go to measures this extreme, but you have to admit you’ve thought about it.

Whitney’s Pick: Bai

As someone who was a teenager at the turn of the millennium, this ad has many things that stand out to me. Although (to your disappointment) I was NOT an NSYNC fanatic, I do have the utmost respect for Justin Timberlake, using the wordplay on their lyrics allowed me to make a connection to the name and branding of Bai drinks. And let’s face it, none of us knew how to properly pronounce their name anyway. Plus Christopher Walken speaking the lyrics so seriously was just icing on the cake.  

So that is our post game day wrap up. Did we miss anything?  Was there an ad you think should have made our favorites list? 

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