3 takeaways from the best and worst commercials

Super Bowl 50: 3 takeaways from the best and worst commercials

Rob Pasquinucci

Senior PR and Content Strategist

Monday, February 8, 2016

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As you clean up the empty beer cans (Budweiser, if you’re Peyton Manning) and grab some coffee in the aftermath of Super Bowl 50, today’s conversation turns to who won the game that was played via 30-second commercials during the TV timeouts. Here are three thoughts:

Humor and celebrities were big

So many brands turned to big-name celebrities or a funny concept to carry their spots this year. Humor ranged from the sublime (Hyundai’s first date, which won the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter) to the creepy (PuppyMonkeyBaby). Celeb sightings included Helen Mirren (who did her Budweiser spot in one take!) to Christopher Walken. In a year offering plenty of “play it safe” ads, turning to celebrities was a common approach.

Winning the second screen

Savvy brands have figured out that their commercials are most effective when they spark conversations on social media. After offering people a chance to win money for retweeting, it isn’t surprising that Esurance garnered lots of social media traffic.

Perhaps an even better gauge of second screen victories is the spike in traffic to car shopping site Edmonds.com from brands that had spots in the game. Jeep’s emotive brand anthem won this battle, but all car ads drove traffic to Edmonds.

Best, worst and beyond

Every Super Bowl commercial must clear three hurdles in today’s media saturated world: One, the spot has to be an event, an idea that can live up to the stage that is a game that most people are watching in big groups. Second, the spot simply has to be fun – remember this event is about the party. And, finally, a proper Super Bowl spot has to generate participation in some way – most likely social media.

With these three criteria in mind, the best and the worst was actually the same commercial: “PuppyMonkeyBaby.” Creepy, unappetizing and just plain weird, juxtaposed against memorable - in a can’t-get it-out-of your-head way – and engaging – it lit up the Twitter-verse. Good and bad all rolled up into one.

What were your favorite ads? Share in the comments section below!

Want more discussion? This year, Cincinnati’s advertising pros, including our own Dave Townsend, shared their thoughts on the best and worst Super Bowl 50 commercials.

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