The Super Bowl super review

We watched in anticipation yesterday as the Super Bowl, arguably advertising’s biggest night of nights brought us 104 intriguing and comedic paid spots.

The advertising stats surrounding Sunday’s game are pretty impressive, and given the game was the most watched show in U.S. TV ratings history, you'd expect some pretty active chatter across the media. This year the standard 30 second spot cost marketers an average of $4.5 million to create. The investment was clear, with movie-like epics, movement generating sentiments, and celebrity endorsement.

2015 saw 13.9 million tweets generated during game time, a 1.4% decrease in tweets on last year. The five most mentioned brands on social media were Budweiser (22% share of voice), Nationwide (17%), Skittles (7%), Doritos (5%) and McDonalds (5%).

Reactions to this year’s Super Bowl ads were predominantly positive, with the exception of Nationwide whose ‘Make Safe Happen’ ad drew criticism for its shock tactics, but achieved wide publicity. Twitter was the most used platform, accounting for 90% of mentions, followed by 9% on Facebook.

Interestingly, only 49% of the ads featured a call-to-action, focusing only on messaging and not on engagement.

This week’s Super Bowl advertising line-up had some very clear themes: Dodge and Coca Cola were seeking to convince us to lead more meaningful, happier lives; while Toyota, Nissan and Dove were all about Dads this year, celebrating what it means to be a powerful and caring father figure.

There was a fair share of emotive ads that appealed to the human desire of self-improvement rather than focusing on products and features. Reeboks ‘freak show’, Always’ ‘like a girl’ and Jeep’s ‘Beautiful Lands’ all took this approach.

As we have come to expect, there were some convincing strategic brand and endorser matches, rather than just standard celebrity cameos. T-Mobile harnessed Kim Kardashian’s immense Internet presence to promote their DataStash plan, and Clash of Clans leveraged Liam Neeson’s epic action hero associations to promote their ‘Revenge’ game.

Here are some of our favourites


Budweiser built on its campaign from last year featuring the friendship between an adorable, curious puppy, a pack of protective Clydesdales and a loving, denim-clad farmer. The ad sticks to Budweiser’s traditional approach of an emotive, and all-American style, which tugs on the heartstrings of viewers; it was also the most-mentioned brand on social media claiming 22% of mentions. The popularity of Budweiser’s commercial is clear, with Domain company GoDaddy posting a contentious parody shortly after airing.


Snickers brought us a new installment of their “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign, originally conceived in 2010 starring Betty White playing American Football. This time, we are transported to the sepia toned world of The Brady Bunch.One of the few comic ads this year, it featured Sons of Anarchy actor Danny Trejo as Marcia Brady.


Always, a feminine products brand, aired a new edit of their 2014 viral online sensation #LikeAGirl which proudly contrasted a message of female empowerment against some of the more sexist, testosterone driven advertising we have grown to expect at sporting events, such as this years shameless Carl Jr. commercial.

#LikeAGirl highlights confidence and self-worth dives in young girls as they enter puberty, pointing to the social acceptance of diminution of girls with phrases such as ‘run like a girl’. This ad reminding us that girls (and boys) can do amazing things, and makes no mention of the brand it is ultimately selling.

What does it mean to run #LikeAGirl? “It means run as fast as you can”.

And some that missed the boat


Nationwide shocked Super Bowl viewers with their public-service announcement “Make Safe Happen”, in which a young boy lists the wonderful things that he won’t get to do – travelling the world, getting cooties, going to the prom – because he drowned in a bathtub. Nationwide achieved it’s aim of garnering shock, however there was a very negative backlash (77.3% of the online social buzz surrounding the advert was negative) as it left viewers confused, depressed, with little call to action and no tips on how to actually prevent disasters.


The turtle and the hare is a familiar fable to most, and thus it’s inclusion in an advert for the new 2016 AMG GT S Mercedes fell flat due to a lack of surprise. The spot was boring; with the message appearing to be that a turtle driving a sports car can beat a rabbit at a race. The target market was unclear, and messaging was questionable at times.

Considering the caliber of other car advertisements on offer this year, with Dodge, Nissan, Toyota all providing positive messaging that reinforce the qualities and values of their products, Mercedes certainly fell short.

Article posted by Camille Whitehead