Everyone’s got an opinion on what makes a good Super Bowl ad. And, yes, so do we. Now that the dust has settled, the food coma has subsided, and Peyton Manning has finished his Budweiser, it’s Origo’s turn to weigh in on what we saw.
1 ) Social Media Reaction Has Advertisers Playing It Safe
In 2015, Nationwide produced a Super Bowl ad that ended with the death of a young boy. The social media response was swift and severe–resoundingly criticizing the insurance giant for poor taste. That warning seems to have been heeded by the advertisers of 2016. This year’s crop of celebrities, animals, and gags were largely harmless. Apparently, the days of GoDaddy and Groupon are long gone.
Brands seem to be hyper-aware of social media reaction–and with good cause. Rocket Mortgage, a product of Quicken Loans, ran what mostly seemed like an innocent commercial about mobile functionality making it easy to get a mortgage, and how homeownership is generally good for the economy. Even that message was met with friction on Twitter, compelling the company to respond.
Sometimes you just can’t win.
2) A Powerful Message Doesn’t Need A Big Production
Two of the more poignant spots of the night came from NO MORE and Jeep, and both were very low-budget productions. NO MORE ran a PSA titled “Text Talk” that simply featured a series of text messages between two friends. The messages are innocuous to start, but eventually evolve to indicate a potential domestic violence situation. The ad was concise, believable, and had real stopping power.
In “Portraits,” Jeep flipped through a series of still images that, interestingly, hardly featured any vehicles. The spot chronicled Jeep’s 75-year history in American culture—highlighting everything from being on the beaches of Normandy to escaping dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. The images were paired with a poetic voiceover for one of the more genuine spots of Super Bowl 50. It was simple, humble, and probably the best ad of the night.
3) When in doubt–ANIMALS.
Featuring animals is an iron-clad guarantee that people will watch will watch your commercial. Dogs are cute. Cats are cute. Even singing sheep are cute. It never fails. Every year a host of advertisers open the “check-out-these-animals-doing-funny-things” drawer for a sure-fire way to get eyeballs, and Super Bowl 50 was no different. We had dogs buying Doritos, sheep singing a Queen song, a sky diving bull, dogs wearing hot dog costumes, an awkward relationship between a man and a beaver, cats in a man’s beard, Kung Fu Panda, and, of course, PuppyMonkeyBaby (whatever that was).
So what do you think? Was the lineup this year underwhelming? Did someone hit a homerun? Is PuppyBabyMonkey the weirdest spot you’ve ever seen? Post comments below.