AB’s Top Five Ads Of Super Bowl 51


Sunday saw the greatest ever comeback in what was the 51st Super Bowl in American Football history. Or maybe you call it the ‘Superb Owl’, ‘that boring stop start game’ or ‘rugby with more pads’. Maybe you do like it but you just scream ‘TOO MANY ADS’. Well, there were lots of ads last night. That’s why we’re here. To show you the best five so you don’t have to sift through the seemingly immortal PRODUCT + CELEBRITY + BRAND = GOOD or LOOK AT THIS MASSIVE CAR ads that seem to plague the Super Bowl.

With an ad costing around $5 million for 30 seconds, they better be good…

5. Budweiser – Born The Hard Way

Just like pretty much everything this year, political statements were always going to be made in this years Super Bowl. Although perhaps Budweiser, the quintessentially American powerhouse brand would’ve been viewed by many as a sure bet for safe advertising. They weren’t. Their ad revolved around an immigrant’s journey to follow his dream… In this case, his dream is to brew beer. The reaction, perhaps *predictably* at this point was a mixture of approval from some for showing the human, understanding side of a brand, as well as mass hysteria and threats to boycott Budweiser for getting too political.

4. Audi – Daughter

Another politically charged ad, I think this paints a bit of a better picture than Budweiser. It hones in on the issue a hell of a lot more than just attaching yourself to a movement and is a bit braver in how it approaches it. The first line opens it very well:

What do I tell my daughter?

It’s a bit more serious than the Budweiser ad – as it’s the clear message that Audi is committed to gender equality. It’s not hardcore product advertising, more just a statement that will stick in the minds of those who watch the ad. 


3. T-Mobile – #Punished/#NSFWireless with Kristin Schaal

T-Mobile produced a few ads for the Super Bowl. However, the ads with Kristin Schaal really spoke to me with the Fifty Shades spoof. It’s simple, funny and memorable – something a lot of Super Bowl ads weren’t.  

It doubled up as a two parter, too, meaning the message would’ve been remembered even more by those either not asleep by that time or getting a drink. Plus the fact that a comedian is in it actually makes it funny – there’s something to be said for unnecessary celebrity endorsements and how they do more harm than good. Or maybe bringing celebrities back to life like Dirt Devil did with Fred Astaire. It’s a fine art to attack a competitor like T-Mobile have with Verizon and not look petty or desperate, and we should all sit back and admire. 



2. Bai – Bye Bye Bye with Christopher Walken and Justin Timberlake

Sometimes ads just work out perfectly due to the brand name/characteristics and obviously this is one of them. The N-Sync fans among us would’ve only needed a few seconds to realise Christopher Walken was reciting the lyrics to Bye Bye Bye, but for those who are a bit more unfamiliar, Bai got Justin Timberlake in to solidify it. The exact type of humour/pop culture reference that would make millions of people buy a drink. A job well done and certainly much better than, well, whatever this was last year.


And the winner is… 1. Honda – Yearbook

I think this wins best ad for me purely as it’s the most memorable (as well as a Steve Carrell appearance). It’s so much different to the others with the simple concept of showing what various celebrities were like in their yearbook pictures. There is no complicated script or hidden premise – it is just simple, relatable and universal.

The celebrities used also backed up this theme of universality – with someone for everyone. From Viola Davis to Stan Lee, this ad had icons from everywhere and would’ve grabbed your attention no matter what you liked or disliked. A tough feat considering the polarised state of American society right now.


So that’s that until next year. Who knows what next years ads will bring – or whether there will be another overtime in next years game which will mean an extra $20m in ad revenue? Whatever happens, I’m not sure we’ll ever see a Super Bowl with such politically charged ads ever again.



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