A somewhat belated Top Ten Super Bowl ads list

blue pill

I mentioned earlier in the week that I was working, off-and-on, on an item for the ADCO blog about best Super Bowl ads of 2015.

Well, it took me until Friday, because not only did I have a lot of much-higher-priority client work to do, but just to do this one thing meant finding time to track down and watch 54 TV adverts.

Yes, 54 of them. And I’m still not sure that I saw them all.

Anyway, here’s what I posted. Wherever it says “we,” substitute “I,” because these are all actually my opinions. As you can probably tell. Of course, I have extensive experience with the royal, I mean editorial, “we”…

After extensive research, we are ready to release our list of favorite ads from Super Bowl XLIX. (That is to say, the one that was played on Feb. 1, 2015, for those of you who don’t want to have to interpret Roman numerals and then add the number onto 1966 to figure out which one we’re talking about.)

This of course is an entirely subjective list, and you’ll have your own favorites, but hey — a list like this is just meant to be a conversation-starter, not a Final Judgment From On High.

Here are our top 10 — out of the 54 we saw:

  1. Esurance “Say My Name” — For a brief, shining moment, Walter White was back among us. And he hadn’t changed a bit. “You’ll thank me later.”
  2. Fiat “Blue Pill” — OK, so it’s a bit off-color. But it was funny, and we liked it. There weren’t enough this year that fit that description.
  3. Dove “Men+Care” — We forced ourselves to choose just one of the three ads that promoted positive images of fathers. We picked this one because all those kids calling “Daddy” really got to us.
  4. Turbo Tax “Boston Tea Party” — Surely there was a more peaceful way to settle this dispute over taxes. Or maybe not. All right, then…
  5. Carnival “Return to the Sea” — So, it’s kind of cheating to play on our emotions with an inspiring voiceover from JFK. But it worked. Especially with that reverb.
  6. Snickers “The Brady Bunch” — Because Steve Buscemi, that’s why!
  7. Supercell “Clash of Clans” — Just Liam Neeson doing what he does, but he does it so well.
  8. BMW “Newfangled Idea” — We expect a sequel in which Katie shows us that she can twerk, too.
  9. Bud Light “Real Life PacMan” — OK, so we’re prejudiced on this one, but we really did think it was good.
  10. Budweiser “Lost Dog” — Yes, this was the annual obligatory cute-puppy ad, which really doesn’t have a lot to do with making beer, but we were torn between this and the other fairly-good Bud ad, and chose this one. We also liked the slow cover version of the Proclaimers song.

4 thoughts on “A somewhat belated Top Ten Super Bowl ads list

  1. Norm Ivey

    Our household was ill, and we did not watch the Super Bowl. I did make time to watch the ads afterwards.

    I’m in agreement on your top 3 ads. They were effective. Someone on another post described the Fiat ad as unexpected. Good way of describing it. All three were solid.

    Phooey on #5. While I’d like to know the context of the JFK speech, the product is far to frivolous to make me care that it was JFK. Ineffective.

    Clash of Clans was good, but again–it was the surprise that made it work. Almost enough to make me play the game. Almost.

    Both Budweiser ads left me empty. They’ve done the puppy and horse thing enough that I just don’t care. The anti-craft beer ad was enough to ensure I never buy another AB product again. The real kicker in that ad is that Bud just purchase Elysian, a craft brewery in Washington which brews a Pumpkin Peach Ale which the ad mocked. Screw ’em.

  2. Mark Stewart

    Budweiser absolutely proved it does not get craft beer. In one ad their agency snuffed hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. Epic fail in 30 secs. Real fail; who approved the ad?

  3. Brad Warthen

    Now, now — Bud’s “proudly macro” add did make me smile… at myself.

    After years of trying to be a beer sophisticate, I finally had to admit to myself that I’d just as soon drink a Bud as anything. Not a Bud Light, mind you — that’s horrible. But a Bud pretty much always hits the spot. I like that, and Yuengling, and Newcastle, and Guinness. Not a micro in the bunch.

    More often than not, when I try an unfamiliar micro, I end up finishing it not with relish, but mostly out of fear of appearing to be a total philistine. I don’t have that problem with Budweiser. I enjoy the whole thing…

    1. Norm Ivey

      I agree there’s a time and place for any beer–including a Bud Light. The problem with the ad is that it was tone deaf to the market. The sum total of craft beer sales exceeded that of Budweiser in 2013, and that trend is continuing. And mocking Pumpkin Peach Ale (which they themselves now own and produce) just shows how deep their misunderstanding of craft beer is.

      Bud (the beer) apparently thinks the craft scene is all about being fussy about beer. Not so. It’s about flavor. You rightly identified Bud as having more flavor than Bud Light. Now line up a Boston Lager next to your Budweiser and do a taste test. And then try a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale next to the Boston Lager. It’s as if you’ve been eating vanilla ice cream all your life and suddenly discovered butter pecan or rocky road. I’m not so big on fruit beers (like Pumpkin Peach), but Quest (Greenville) makes a smoked porter that I really like. As for not finishing beers, there are plenty I’ve dumped. Westbrook’s (Mt. Pleasant) Gose is a good example. I’ve tried it twice, but I just can’t enjoy it. That’s why breweries offer flights–so you can find what you like.

      Bud is proud to be a macro beer. Good for them. What they don’t get is that many craft beer brewers and drinkers are all about supporting the local economy. The dollars I spend at Conquest, River Rat, Swamp Cabbage or Hunter-Gatherer go to local businesses. I don’t know the philosophy of any of those brewers about sourcing local, but many (Coast in North Charleston, for example) are dedicated to using local resources to whatever extent they can. Would you prefer your hamburger from McDonald’s or Rush’s?

      AB uses large amounts of rice and corn in their beverages, which serves no purpose but to reduce taste and increase alcohol so it’s not “brewed the hard way.” Using conveyors to move hoppers full of hops and grains isn’t hard. Hauling bags of hops and grains and stirring wort with oversized boat paddles is.

      Or maybe they do get craft a little. They own significant shares of Goose Island, Red Hook, Widmer Brothers, and now Elysian. Their ad was a direct response to their loss of market share–a desperate response. Why else would you spend 9 million on an ad that alienates a significant portion of your potential market?

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