This weekend over 103 million people watched the New England Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl LII. For football fans, this event is the epitome of the entire season. While many are glued to their tv screens during this event, for some, the reason to watch is not the game itself, but the infamous commercials. Each year, commercials strive to make us laugh, send a message, make us think, but most of all sell their product in an appealing way. With companies spending an average of $5 million per 30-second ad, expectations are high. While each year some commercials generate scrutiny, those that are successful can be incredibly effective. We can still remember the iconic GoDaddy.com ads that put the company on the map, and the Budweiser dog and horse ad that warmed our hearts. Though last year many companies had underlying political tones to their ads, this year’s trend played more towards the classic humor associated with the Super Bowl ads.
Here are my picks for the best of 2018:
- Fake Dundee Trailer for Tourism Australia
A few ad campaigns have preceding ads before the super bowl meant to give context and create suspense, as exemplified by the series of Bud Light Ads. The Super Bowl Ad is then supposed to be the big reveal. This Ad campaign was well crafted. The precursor Ads to Tourism Australia’s pitch featured Liam Hemsworth and Danny McBride in what seemed like an ad for a reboot of the famous film Crocodile Dundee. After a multiple step ad campaign with lengthy and ominous set up that set the viral world a buzz, the 30 second Super Bowl spot revealed that Crocodile Dundee would not, in fact, be getting rebooted, but instead was an ad encouraging tourism to Australia. This star-studded campaign was a unique and truly surprising play by Tourism Australia and should be commended.
- Bleep Don’t Stink
Though somewhat confusing, this Febreeze Ad was both out-of-the-box and hilarious. The last line was particularly interesting. Ironically, the aspect that was most compelling in the ad was also the reason that it was somewhat ineffective. Despite the intriguing idea, it was entirely forgettable which company had produced the commercial.
- Perfect Society with Avocados
Mexico Avocado went as all out as possible with this advertisement. Though avocados hardly seem to need marketing among millennials, the ad attempted to dispel the stereotypes among other generations that avocados could only be eaten with chips. It was funny, chaotic, attention-grabbing, star-studded, and smart. https://youtu.be/ijVLdH5dt-c
- Old People Still Working For E-Trade
Competed against their own prior hilarity in the quintessential ETRADE talking baby ads of previous years, ETRADE shifted the content of their campaign in the entirely opposite direction, opting to use the comical idea of the elderly continuing to work after retirement age due to insufficient retirement funds. The most permeable line, “This is getting old” was witty while getting the point across. I’d say that it lived up to expectations based on previous examples very nicely.
- Amazon Alexa Loses Her Voice
Like the Fake Dundee Trailer or Bud Light commercial, this commercial was contextualized by prior commercials shown weeks before the Superbowl. The suspense of the preceding ads created great expectations for this campaign, which I’d argue was fulfilled. The premise is that Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant, loses her voice and the people of Amazon use real celebrities to fill in for her while they solve the problem. The commercial is full of stars like Cardi B, Leslie Jones, and Gordon Ramsay, even Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, makes an appearance.
- Eli Ad
Copying a scene from the iconic classic Dirty Dancing, this unlikely pair captivates their audience with their awkward, but genuine attempts to complete the dance. Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. were seen stumbling through the scene at what seemed to be a football practice. The Ad was prefaced with some early clips of Eli preparing for his big moment. From Eli’s hip swivel to the famous lift at the end, the commercial was absolutely hilarious. The timing of the ad was also interesting considering that prior to Super Bowl LII, Manning and the Giants were the only team that had managed to stop the Patriots from earning the Lombardi Trophy. The NFL really struck gold with this ad!
- Tide Ad
Possibly to combat all the bad press created by the Tide Pod challenge, tide invested millions into their Super Bowl Ad campaign. Starring Stranger Things’ actor David Harbour, this ad campaign was the funniest and most clever of the lot. Playing off conventional ads for items such as beer, cars, razors, insurance, and deodorant, Tide argued that a stainless shirt was the only ingredient needed for it to be a Tide ad. The perfect balance of subtle and penetrable, this ad campaign was incredibly effective in spreading Tide’s clothes cleaning message.