Last night marked the 50-year anniversary of the most watched television event in history—the Super Bowl. Millions of people around the world gathered in front of their television screens to watch the Denver Broncos defeat the Carolina Panthers 24 to 10. However, that’s not all people tuned in for. Aside from the halftime show (shoutout to the amazing performance by Coldplay, Bruno and Bey), the Super Bowl allows advertisers to roll out some of their best, most innovative campaigns to an insane amount of people.
This year, marketing and advertising agencies stepped up their game to create stunning advertisements, which thankfully distracted viewers from the uneventfulness of the game. Listed below are a few of our favorite, badass ads from Super (Ad) Bowl 50.
As one of the official sponsors of the Super Bowl this year, Hyundai definitely set the advertising bar pretty high. Their First Date spot, appearing in one of the very first commercial breaks, featured actor and comedian Kevin Hart as an overly involved father on his daughter’s first date. As Hart’s daughter’s date arrives, Hart hands him the keys to his new Hyundai Genesis. The unknowing date willingly takes Hart’s keys only to realize that the car has a brilliant hidden feature: car finder. Hart tracks his daughter and her date’s rendezvous around town, appearing at every location of their date. This is a badass ad as it not only resonates with one of the Super Bowl’s most dominate audiences (30- to 40-something-year-old fathers) but it also incorporates humor to highlight a unique feature of the vehicle.
Another brand that scored touchdown after touchdown in this year’s Ad Bowl was T-Mobile. Their two most popular spots featuring Steve Harvey and Drake had us in stitches with their genius marketing tactics. Both commercials used well-known cultural references (Harvey’s Miss Universe blunder and Drake’s “Hotline Bling” music video) to reach a contemporary audience. Both spots call out other cellphone carriers on their false depictions of T-Mobile and inform the public of their impressive service numbers. We predict that these badass ads, combined with T-Mobile’s non-commitment, pay-as-you-go policies, will continue to win over the millennial audience.
Perhaps the most talked about advertisement of Super Bowl 50 was AXE’s Find Your Magic spot. AXE is known for pushing gender roles on men by airing racy, sexual commercials. However, this year the brand turned it around. Instead of pressuring men to fit a certain masculine stereotype, AXE demonstrated that their products are designed to help men embrace their unique qualities. Essentially, the brand encouraged men to take pride in and flaunt the swagger of their individuality, as this is what really makes a man truly a man. This badass ad ultimately worked to change the paradigm for “masculine” brands and reached several, untapped audiences while still maintaining the brand’s laid-back, sophisticated delivery. Bravo, AXE.
Another advertisement that commanded (no pun intended… you’ll see) the attention of its viewers was Audi’s R8 V-10 Plus commercial. Unlike most Super Bowl 50 car ads that used humor to grab audience attention, this ad told a powerful story. The beginning of the ad takes viewers through the trophy case of a retired astronaut. Evoking a spirit of nostalgia, the commercial shows to our retired, couch-ridden hero as a man too depressed to eat because he’s reminiscing about his glory days on the moon. The commercial then switches gears when the former astronaut’s son comes home and says, “Come with me Captain.” As they walk out to the driveway, the retired man is immediately captivated by his son’s new Audi. This ad is not only a beautiful tribute to American patriotism and father-son bonds, but also speaks to the very real concept of aging and fear of death and regret. Moreover, this ad creatively draws the comparison between a spacecraft and Audio R8, insinuating that both vehicles are visionary, innovative and incredibly memorable and that no other machine can measure up. Our only question—why is a German automobile company championing American history?
The last commercial to appear on our badass Top 5 ad list is Honda’s A New Truck to Love. This ad had us singing along and laughing out loud, featuring a herd of sheep belting out Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” As a farmer returns to his herd in his new Honda Ridgeline truck, the sheep stop singing. The commercial subtly drops the truck’s newest feature: audio speakers in the truck bed. As if designed specifically for the sheep, the herd continues to sing together in excitement as the truck pulls away. This ad is memorable not only in the way it creatively presents the truck’s newest feature, but in its ability to bring out the kid in everyone. Many Super Bowl ads target adult humor rather than humor the whole family can enjoy. So, it was pretty refreshing for Honda to change it up. And, if nothing else, this commercial confirmed the universal love for fuzzy, talking animals.
Overall our team was impressed by the quality of advertisements this year, not only in their funny, colloquial qualities but that they also completed advertising’s ultimate goal: to push for a better world. Our favorite aspect of this year’s Super Bowl? Almost none of the advertisements worked to exploit, sexualize or put down any specific group of people. Instead, they told us to defy stereotypes, embrace our quirks and differentialities, and run with it. Our hats are off to the advertisers of Ad Bowl 50. Until next year…