Super Bowl Sunday heralds the biggest, most creative adverts from brands looking to stand out in that all important commercial break.
The ads have got such a reputation now that people deliberately watch them and some brands now release the adverts days early to capitalise on the buzz of America’s biggest sporting event.
Even us Brits are staying up late (thanks to the BBC) to get our American football, cough TOM BRADY cough, fix. Let’s not even talk about how cool coach McVay is either – 33 years old and the youngest head coach ever.
Here’s my favourite 10, er 11 sorry, creative adverts from 2019’s Super Bowl LIII that I reckon are worth your eyeball time…
ONE – Budweiser’s “Wind Never Felt Better”
Cute dog – check. Classic American Bob Dylan song – check. Environmental angle – check. Budweiser has got this so right, using a very strong power of three to hammer home its message. It’s trying to align itself with the environmental movement and how that’s the right thing to do in this day and age. Just like Gillette this brand is hijacking a big world issue to align with the values of its audience to sell its product. The ‘no guilt’ environmentally friendly beer – a simple pleasure.
It combines the simplicity of the dog enjoying the ride and being blown in the face by the wind, the song that’s previously been used as a protest song to wars, and to question what we as humans are doing and if it’s the right thing to do, and the introduction of the first beer created totally by wind power. Phew, that’s a lot to get in a sentence and some fantastic layering of themes, this advert is both simple and complex. Hats off you Budweiser.
TWO – Michelob Ultra Pure Gold “The Pure Experience”
ASMR aka autonomous sensory meridian response is that weird feeling you get when you hear a whisper or nails tapping. It’s a sensory phenomenon that big brands are tapping into to give you not just a visual thrill but a full audio and sensory experience too.
In this advert Zoe Kravitz (Yes, the offspring of Lenny known for hit songs ‘American Woman’ and ‘I want to fly away’) whispers and taps her way through a description of the new Michelob Ultra Pure Gold.
It’s fairly understated but it capitalised on my curiosity and made me feel a little odd, in essence the ASMR aspect worked at engaging me with the advert. The launch of the pure Michelob is fairly boring, let’s face it, it’s just another beer but this advert certainly captured my attention. Just proves that in this industry you’ve got to use every trick in your play book (Did you like my American Football reference there? Please tell me you picked up on it?).
Read more about it through Ad Age’s excellent explanation here…
THREE – Stella Artois “Change up the Usual”
Stella’s ad sees Sarah Jessica Parker reprise her role as Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City and Jeff Bridges role in the Big Lebowski. Both are famous for their signature drinks, a cosmopolitan and a White Russian but both cause chaos when the decide to change things up and have a Stella instead. Of course Sarah has hers in a glass and Jeff has his in a bottle and the juxta positioning of two very different films/tv series, character and their choices make for an amusing and playful advert.
This works as it takes two very well known and beloved characters and is just a little bit silly provoking the viewer to change it up and to try something different.
FOUR – Pepsi “More Than OK”
I heard about this advert way before it even got released. It’s hilarious and plays on the fact servers have to ask customers who ask for a Coke, if Pepsi is ok (if that’s all they serve). We have to do this in the UK too, so this works across the pond. I love the fact Pepsi take Lil Wayne and Cardi B’s ‘OK’ catchphrase and Pepsi lets Steve Carrell, famous from films like the 40 Year Old Virgin, take a really playful jab at this Coke saying it’s more than ok.
FIVE – Doritos “Now It’s Hot”
Pepsi, who own Doritos, is bringing the noise with the celebrities they are throwing at this year’s adverts. Chance the Rapper adds a spin to the Backstreet Boys classic ‘I want it that way’. It’s silly, it’s fun and it’s this kind of nonsense that is expected of the Super Bowl adverts.
SIX – Toyota “Toni”
Another advert aligning its values with that of its consumer. It’s female empowerment all the way as Toyota celebrates Antoinette ‘Toni’ Harris’ achievement of being the first female football player to be offered football college scholarships without playing a specialist position. It compares the car to the athlete and explains how they are both breaking barriers. Hmm, sure Toyota but, I have to forgive the blatant comparison because it’s a sweet advert supporting someone really great. She’s amazing and wants to be the first female NFL player and I am so here for this! (And yes, I’m aware that’s where the marketing has got me, playing on my emotions!)
For me, the advert caught my attention because it introduced me to someone and story that is brilliant. The advert isn’t spectacular but the story behind it is.
SEVEN – Olay “Killer Skin”
Everyone’s favourite vampire slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar does a horror reprise for Olay. Yes, Olay the skin product and it’s called Killer Skin, again it’s combining the Super Bowl ‘favourite three concepts’ for adverts – big brand, celebrity and a twist on what you expect!
EIGHT – Amazon Alexa “Not Everything Makes the Cut”
Alexa’s had a few years of strong advert offerings and this year is no different. This time we see the ‘failed’ Alexa inventions. It’s playful and features some really big celebrities – hello Harrison Ford!
NINE – Bumble “The Ball is in Her Court”
Serena Williams promotes the Bumble app and lets ladies know the ball is in their court and that you’ve got to go out there and get it. This is a strong female narrative and very serious. It’s worth viewing to know what people are talking about and it’s another serious play by a company trying to align with its users views and beliefs.
TEN – Microsoft “We All Win”
Xbox create controllers so people of all abilities can play to the same level. It’s emotive, it focuses on people with physical challenges and it’s very powerful. Again it’s another brand aligning its values and products with different sections of its consumers.
Ok, I tried to do a round 10 but, you know, Michael Bublé…
ELEVEN – Bubly “Can I have a bublé?”
Michael Bublé plays on his name to launch a new sparkling drink. It’s funny and again hits the three things that make Super Bowl Adverts work – it’s a formula of celebrity, brand and a twist! I love the Bublé so this had to go in!
I’ve just picked out a few notables adverts, my favourites and the really creative ones but, Ad Age did a fantastic round up of all the pre-released adverts which you can find here.
They also live blogged all the adverts as they were aired – I wish I could have done this, unfortunately the BBC doesn’t show us any of them so I have to hunt them down on YouTube!
Here’s the link to Ad Age’s record of their live blog of the adverts.
That’s my round up done – it’s way past my bedtime so I’m off to get some shut eye. And, don’t forget, if you are not a fan of the ads you can always watch Maroon Five’s half time show by clicking the link below…
Maroon Five’s Super Bowl Half Time Show
HAPPY SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!