Last year the Superbowl was an absolute failure both on the field and off (here is the reminder). This year the creative power was extraordinary. While there were some failures from regular top performers such as Bud Light and Coke, a huge amount of Brands really stepped up in 2015.
The work covered the gamut of emotions, from heart-warming, to tear-jerking, to bone chilling, to slap-stick funny, to belly-holding laughter. There were car ads a-plenty but with new the likes of Fiat, Nissan and BMW taking over the creative reigns from Volkswagen and co. and the hijack attempt from Volvo was a daring idea that could have made their investment pay off many times over. There were many great stunts from Always and McDonald’s that made us realise that real-human emotions beat any overly-choreographed story.
As such, I’ve categorised the films in several buckets: Powerful (those that really made an impact in your head and heart), Cute (those that surprised and made you appreciate the Brand), Trying too much but got noticed and appreciated anyway (those that pushed the envelope and came across a bit eager but were liked regardless), Close but not cigar (those that were almost good but lost out on poor control of the details), Broke the bank and failed (those that went all in with elaborate production but bombed)
Always – A much needed challenge to the conventions of language that affect inequality
Carnival Corporation – A magnificent film in its simplicity and power by simply using an excerpt from a JFK speech combined with pleasant and soothing, almost stock, ship imagery
Nissan – A tear-jerking account of the power in father and son, even family, relations. There is so much than anyone who has a child can take away from this ad. Absolutely magnificent.
Budweiser – While the stories of the Clydesdales and their animal friends can be expected to be dull after so many years, they keep on pulling out heart-warming tales that make you love their ads year in year out
McDonald’s – This is a really great program that brings to life the spirit of what their Brand stands for and includes their consumers in that the spirit. Its like their are reigniting brand love one consumer at a time. I’m Lovin’ it!
No More – A chilling way of making ever person not just understand domestic abuse but actually live it for a gripping moment. Really well done.
BMWi3 – A great way of making great tech become more relatable to the broader population
Fiat 500x – Hilarious and unexpected use of sexuality for a car ad to show power & passion
NBC Sports – Continuing the heritage of highly amusing long-form film (remember Coach Ted Lasso?) to celebrate the return of Nascar to NBC Sports. This could easily have gone over-kill but they were able to hold it back just enough to make the film funny and incredibly entertaining
Trying a bit too much, but got noticed & appreciated anyway
Newcastle – Band of Brands: an attempt to rally a handful of Brands to unite and fund a Superbowl ad together. This is clearly a PR play and its silliness achieved its objective (awfully similar to the idea in the movie “Big Shot’s Funeral” wouldn’t you say)
Avocados from Mexico – The “First Draft Ever” takes slapstick to new heights. If it weren’t for a few choice scenes like the Polar bear wearing a sombrero praying to get picked, the film would be a miss, but silly jock humour does play an important role at this annual event!
Volvo – Taking the high ground and saying that “we’re not going to follow the crowd by advertising in the Superbowl” is a bit lame, especially when you are. However, the fact that they are doing so to hijack every other car ad in the Superbowl is pretty smart. If it works that 1 time investment may be worth quadruple or more.
Close but no cigar
Coke – Brilliant idea but the execution was too Disney and thus missed the mark
Broke the Bank and failed
Bud Light – This is clearly a staged stunt and the extravagance of it all just makes it feel like the Brand is being way too self-indulgent
Mophie – The production quality of this film is exceptional and the twist at the end is charming, but the fact that it is so over-the-top for a “who is that?” Brand creates a poor impression from the get-go. Mophie should know that times have changed – you can’t impress people with a big show and tell