As usual, there was no shortage of excellent clever advertising in Super Bowl 50. With way too many to choose from, here are our eight favorites, each brilliant in its own way.
Paypal – New Money
Paypal’s ad works so well because it finds a new way to define the brand, by making the argument that it’s not just one way to pay for stuff online, it’s a whole new currency fit for a new generation (featuring uber-hip millennials in the ad also helps).
Audi R8 – Commander
This commercial connects with the audience by drawing an apt parallel—the Audi R8 is so design-forward that it’s not a stretch to consider it “otherworldly”. It also works on a literal level, by not-too-subtly implying “If you are bored and have a lot of money, this car will make sure you’re not bored anymore.”
Honda – A New Truck to Love
But you don’t have to be Audi to make a great Super Bowl car commercial. In this ad for the new Ridgeline, Honda reaches a new level of awesome by featuring sheep singing an a capella version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”. The catchiness of the song totally helps to make this commercial memorable.
Heinz – Wiener Stampede
This commercial is basically a play on hot dog wieners vs. dachshunds, but it works so well because a) it has adorable animals (which ensures advertising success in 99 out of 100 cases), and because b) it helps reinforce the company’s brand image by effectively stating that all hot dogs desperately need Heinz condiments.
*Disclaimer: Because we live in Chicago, we’re legally obligated to state that the Heinz mustard was the only necessary condiment in that commercial; the ketchup varieties were superfluous.
Turbotax.com – Never a Sellout
This ad has Anthony Hopkins in it, which already sets the bar impossibly high. It’s also clever, self-referential, and just plain fun. (Also, see our note above on featuring cute animals.)
NFL – Super Bowl Babies
Leave it to the NFL to get meta on us. In a clever ad that reminded us of a Miller Lite commercial that came out last year, the NFL takes credit for, well, many of us being born.
Colgate – Every Drop Counts
Colgate decided to go with the “responsible” angle in their first ever Super Bowl commercial, by pointing out that keeping the water on while brushing your teeth can waste as much as 4 gallons each time, more than some people around the world have for an entire week. The ad connects well with the new more environmentally-responsible consumer (though it wasn’t without its share of detractors). The ad also works because it shows Colgate’s confidence—as a market leader, they don’t have to show you the product for the commercial to be a successful one.
Mountain Dew Kickstart – Puppymonkeybaby
Last but certainly not least, Mountain Dew’s commercial for its new beverage Kickstart (comprised of three parts: Dew, juice, and caffeine) uses another three-part “awesome” thing to advertise it. The disturbing puppy/monkey/baby creature immediately went viral on social media. This ad is proof that, sometimes, “just plain weird” can work very well in advertising.
Those were our picks for the top 8 Super Bowl ads. Did we miss one? Reach out to tell us your favorite.