Aside from the stellar defensive stand from the Broncos defense that resulted in a big, fat "W" for the team in orange and blue, the viewers were the winners in Super Bowl 50. Last year viewers were treated to a barrage of emotional commercials that, in the end, added up to be too much.
This year, advertisers and marketers did a 180 and at least brought the fun! Unfortunately, at a price of $166,000 per second, many played it safe and avoided controversy. Below, I share my top 13.
13. Amazon, Party
Strong performances and celebrity packed! Alec Baldwin hosts a Super Bowl party where the repartee is witty and the feuds are petty--and thanks to Amazon's Echo he can regulate the lights, music and stabs. Jason Schwartzman wanted to sack Dan Marino "so hard." Amazon.com's first-ever super bowl ad is obviously aimed to increase Echo sales, but did you also know that Missy Elliot dropped a new single?
12. Kia, Walken Closet
I can't resist a good play on words. Walk-in Closet vs. Christopher Walken, get it? It was a funny premise and Walken gave a flawless delivery when he urges the beige protagonist to join "the ones who stand out" by...driving a new midsize sedan. Plus, his sock puppetry is quite amazing. And I had to appreciate the self-depreciating sales pitch, "the world's most amazing pair of socks".
11. Taco Bell, Bigger than Futbol
They used their 30-second spot to announce a brand new item on their menu: the Quesalupa. You could even pre-order it on their website! They released three teasers to get us excited, using NBA star James Harden, "alien expert" Giorgio A. Tsoukalos and the Texas lawman Bryan Wilson.
10. Squarespace, Real Talk with Key and Peele
Knowing the Key & Peele are no more on Comedy Central, I loved that our national treasures re-team for an ad for website builder Squarespace. 30 seconds was nearly enough time to fully create Lee and Morris, a couple of amateur sports commentators who host a webcast called "Real Talk." However, this campaign had a great online component, which is worth checking out!
9. Audi, The Commander
This was a perfect use of David Bowie's "Starman" (RIP!). The ad tells the story of a former astronaut who has lost his will to live--that is, untile he tries the Audi R8 and it transported back to the best moments of his life. Definitely a standout in a crowded field of cars.
8. Snickers, Marilyn
After last year's Brady Bunch spot, Snickers had high expectations to continue highlighting it's tagline, "You're not you when you're hungry." THis year, the ad brought Marilyn Monroe back from the past, granted she looked oddly like Willem Dafoe... This ad could have been made better with more screen time from Eugene Levy!
7. T-Mobile, Restricted Bling
From the dozens of celebrity cameos, Drake's performance for T-Mobile was a true winner! He gleefully and self-depreciatingly submits to ridiculous and comical revisions of "Hotline Bling". Plus, performances from Brian Huskey and Jerry Lambert bring this one the end zone.
6. Apartments.com, Moving Day
Apartments.com when bit with their first 60-second slot dedicated to promoting the benefits of apartment living. Jeff Goldblum is back as the character Brad Bellflower, whom we met in previous advertisements. In this iteration, we're "blessed" with a singing, flying Goldblum, President George Washington and Weezy.
5. Shock Top, Unfiltered Talk
In addition to the usual Budweiser and Bud Light ads, Anheuser-Busch wanted to show off it's unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale: Shock Top. Words sear between T.J. Miller (of HBO's Silicon Valley) and Wedgehead, the whip-smart, talking orange slice mascot for the brand. It's not flashy like the car chases or bear chases of other Super Bowl 50 ads, but it's got some dialogue worth listening to.
4. NFL, Super Bowl Babies Choir
"Data suggests nine months after a Super Bowl victory, winning cities see a rise in births." (I'd like to see this data!) It's stirring, emotional and makes you want your team to win that much more! Cute idea and cute kids. Some though are rightfully questioning where the Patriot babies are in this NFL-sponsored ad? Four victories since 2001...
3. Avocados from Mexico, #AvosInSpace
This is the second Super Bowl ad from this company--and you might recall last year's advertisement that was set in prehistoric times (they were also the first fresh produce brand to make a commercial). In 2016, they blast us far into the future, when Earth is displayed in an alien museum of natural history. A group of extra-terrestrials are introduced to treasures such as: Chia Pets, Scott Baio, airplane travel (presumed to be a form of torture), and of course avocados. It made for one of the funniest commercials in Super Bowl 50 and good use of the ad-staple: a celebrity cameo.
2. Mtn Dew, PuppyMonkeyBaby
This is a "what-the-hell-is-that" spectacle. And after a handful of hypnotic renditions of "PuppyMonkeyBaby" you just can't stop watching. And then you kinda, oddly like it. The idea behind this beast is that it comprises three great things, just as Mountain Dew Kickstart is made from three ingredients: Dew, juice and caffeine. This spot is destined to garner attention and that's half the battle in the ad wars these days!
1. Heinz, Wiener Stampede
Now, I might be a little biased with this one since I have my own cuddly wiener dog at home, but wiener dogs dressed as hot dogs stampeding down a hill and into the arms of Heinz condiments? My household sang a collective "Awww!" It was the simplest, most fun and infectious. Hilarious and adorable, all in one!
Which Super Bowl 40 ad was your favorite?