Ah, yes. Sports. They did the thing and then Lady Gaga sang. And for many of us, what has now practically become a national holiday to be celebrated with artery-clogging food, beer, and bets—is also a day to pay attention to a bevy of Super Bowl ads.
Said to cost about $5 million per 30-second spot, Super Bowl ads are highly coveted opportunities to capture the attention of around 100 milllion+ viewers. While not everyone makes good use of the steep cost of their time on air, we’ve gathered up a few which caught our attention.
Our top 5 Superbowl ads of 2017:
One of the most talked about ads was Budweiser’s, showing the founder of Anheuser-Busch and his journey as a German immigrant. As one of America’s most recognizable brands, this ad sparked a lot of ire from conservatives who felt the ad was an unnecessary political statement against Trump’s recent executive order barring non-citizen travel into the U.S. from several predominantly Muslim countries, even sparking a boycott. Ricardo Marques, Budweiser’s vice president of marketing, defended the ad, claiming that while the ad is relevant to current conversations, it was not meant to be political. Marques said that the commercial aimed to evoke “the pursuit, the effort, the passion, the drive, the hard work, the ambition, that’s really what this is about more than anything else.”
With its #DriveProgress tagline, the Audi ad shows a young girl in a downhill cart race. In a voiceover, the young girl’s father ponders whether to tell his daughter that the various males in their family are worth more than their female partners, or whether he’ll be able to tell her something different. The ad cuts to white text on black stating that Audi is committed to progress “for everyone” along with “equal pay for equal work”. While the ad was certainly thought-provoking, it also brought criticism from those who pointed out that the company’s website listed zero female members of the Audi AG board of management and only two for a 14-member Audi USA’s executive team.
The Battle of Evony
This may be a video game ad, but wow, it’s beautiful. Top Games, the company behind The Battle of Evony, produced this commercial on their own. This commercial features leaders like King Arthur, George Washington, and Empress Wu Zetian coming into their power and leading their armies into battle. With Alwin Kuchler‘s beautiful cinematography and engaging storytelling, it’s easy to forget that it’s an ad for a mobile gaming app. The ad stars Aaron Eckhart, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Fan Bingbing.
Lifewtr, a premium water brand, debuted their first-ever commercial during the Super Bowl. As rain falls from the sky, color spreads across the landscape, sparking inspiration everywhere. It’s a simple, touching reminder that beauty can be found all around—leaving the viewer with the impression that inspiration is as essential to life as water. The ad also features music from crooner John Legend.
Hardware chain 84 Lumber came out with a nearly six-minute Superbowl ad that was initially rejected by Fox for being too controversial. The beautiful and moving spot shows a mother and daughter making a hard and long journey to America. It ends with the words “The will to succeed is always welcome here”.
This ad comes at a volatile time in our nation with Trump’s ban on Muslim immigrants and his order to build a wall on the Mexican-American border.
Honorable mentions: Bai, Coca-Cola’s 2014’s “America the Beautiful”, Nintendo Switch, Air B&B, and Honda.