Monday, February 08, 2016

Super Bowl 50: My Favorite Ads

So once again the good people over at Ad Meter (affiliated with USA Today) asked me to be on their panel and rate the 60+ commercials running on this year's Super Bowl telecast.

You can see which ones were voted the best over at the Ad Meter site. This year the panel and I were in fairly close agreement, though only one of the two I thought earned top marks (as opposed to four last year) ended up in the Top Ten. The other was in the top fifteen, however.

By the way, you can see how I rated last year's commercials in this old post.

Of the 63 ads I rated, two were perfect 10's, knocking the ball out of the park with creativity, pathos, identification, product memory, and just sheer quality. To earn a perfect score, the commercial had to move me in some way - let me clarify, some *positive* way - be creative and be produced with quality, and it had to leave me with a good feeling (and a clear image) of the company that made the product.

Four others received "Honorable Mentions" from me, rating a "9" on my scale and lacking only one detail that kept it from being perfect. Nine other ads I was able to rate an "8" and I'm happy to say that of those 15 commercials I thought were the best of the bunch, 13 of them wound up in the top 20 over at the Ad Meter results page (listed above).

Here, then, are my Top 5:

#5: Budweiser's "Simply Put" featuring Helen Mirren

This was one of those commercials that popped up all over social media several days before the game and the weight of its viral release nearly took it under for me, but I'm a sucker for a good actress with a British dialect and a large vocabulary. Hopefully it will bring the word "pillock" (a stupid person, but don't ask about the etymology) back into common use. And Budweiser has promised to donate $1 toward designated driver programs each time the hashtag #GiveADamn is used in promoting an end to drunk driving.

#4: Hyundai's "First Date" featuring Kevin Hart

Personally, I find Kevin Hart's comic persona a little too abrasive but here he dials it back just enough to connect with me and I love the way the commercial ends. Couldn't give it a perfect score because I couldn't remember the name of the car (or even the manufacturer). The storyline overshadowed the feature it was trying to promote. But it came out as #1 overall so Hyundai did something right.

#3: Honda's "A New Truck to Love" featuring music by Queen

It's got the cute factor, killer music by Queen, and a nice little twist at the end. Ad Age Magazine says the ad agency studied the facial muscles of the sheep to more perfectly form their special effect singing. The little detail that kept me from scoring it perfectly was I couldn't remember the name of the truck. It's Honda's new Ridgeline brand, by the way.

#2: Jeep's "Portraits"

There seems to be that one commercial in every Super Bowl that tugs at your patriotic heartstrings. One that makes you proud you live in America. Jeep holds that title this year, marking their 75th anniversary as both a company and an American icon. It's shot in gorgeous black and white with extreme close ups that immediately engage you and make it impossible to look away. I gave it a Perfect Ten.

#1: Audi's "Commander" featuring music by David Bowie

Maybe it's the fact I have an 83-year old father. Maybe I'm still in mourning over David Bowie's death. Maybe it's the glorious production values and juxtaposition of memories over real time experience. Maybe it's that I'll never drive a $116,000 sports car. I dunno. But this ad hit all the right notes for me. I've given you the extended version here to fully appreciate it.

I can't sign off without confessing I also had a real soft spot for the rewritten lyrics of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" in this Super Bowl Babies NFL promo spot. And the extended version of the Avocado commercial.

And just because someone will want to know, the worst Super Bowl ad was so bad I won't link to it, but let me just say three words: Puppy Monkey Baby. 

I will never be able to unsee that. Woof.


Mark's Musings is published on an occasional basis but that may change without notice. This blog is considered to be a digital periodical publication and is filed as such with the U.S. Library of Congress; ISSN 2154-9761. I also greatly enjoyed "Ryanville" and the "Walken Closet" ads.