Super Bowl 52 was yet another incredibly exciting game that had viewers biting their nails until the very last second, but did the commercials deliver the same level of entertainment? Here are the thoughts of four people from the MF team on the spots:
Kevin Flynn, Partner
I really liked Amazon’s Alexa ads for their particularly good use of celebrities. Rebel Wilson was very funny, delivering some hilarious lines. I also enjoyed the Olympics promo with Lindsey Vonn. It was a great use of Alicia Keys’ “This Girl is on Fire.” The song built as the spot offered a 60-second view into the life of an extremely interesting woman. Plus, the timeline was great and she is just a total badass!
A few of the car companies that advertised this year missed the mark for me. I thought that Dodge’s use of Martin Luther King quotes was horrible. It totally trivialized the greatness of MLK and turned his quotes into a cheesy ad for pickup trucks. Also, the environmentalist in me hated the Jeep spot in which an SUV drives through a beautiful stream/river. That is likely illegal and you just shouldn’t be driving vehicles into moving water. All in all, not good. That said, the Jeep footage was dramatic and the commercial’s location was scenic.
Craig Henderberg, Post-Production Supervisor
Aside from a few standouts, I think most of the ads this year were just okay. Eli Manning and OBJ’s “Dirty Dancing” got the biggest laughs from me, while Danny DeVito as an M&M was watched several times by my kids as they ate breakfast Monday morning. For overall concept and execution, Tide won hands down, in my opinion. Its series of spots was clever, played on familiar Super Bowl ad tropes, and playfully called back to many popular spots from years past. I also liked the Doritos vs. Mountain Dew rap battle. Popular actors, classic songs, and great production.
I think a few advertisers put concept front and center, without creating a cohesive execution. Rocket Mortgage stood out to me as the worst offender for this. I also think that Bud Light had a good thing going with “Dilly Dilly” as a phrase, but aside from its first appearance in the “Wizard” spot, it has become overused, forced, and not nearly as funny.
Finally, I noticed a growing trend: streaming services promoting their shows and movies with big trailers. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all got in on the action this year as they continue to compete against traditional movie studios and broadcast networks.
Brad Garratt, Creative Supervisor
The big question of the night: would anyone dethrone Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” as Super Bowl LII’s winning catchphrase? Not an easy task given that Budweiser and agency Wieden + Kennedy had been priming the pump since last summer. There were a few contenders: “Do you want to eat me?” (M&Ms); “Get off my horse!” (Tide); “NOBODY ASKED YOU KEVIN!” (Pringles); and “Bleep don’t stink” (Febreze); plus a couple of Rebel Wilson’s lines from the Amazon Alexa spot that I’m not comfortable putting in a public blog post given today’s workplace climate. However, in the end, “Dilly Dilly” managed to reign supreme.
For commercial(s) of the night, I’m going with Tide. The detergent company didn’t just get value out of the commercials it paid for, it gained significant bonus interest during other spots from people continually wondering, “Is this a Tide commercial?” And I’ll admit that Tide fooled even me—a wily ad veteran—when I heard “Hello ladies …” delivered in Isaiah Mustafa’s uniquely dulcet tones.
The performance of the night was, hands down, Odell Beckham Jr. Watching him portray a 17-year-old Jewish girl in the 1963 Catskills and embody the role so entirely was a revelation.
Mary Cappellino, Group Account Director-Healthcare Practice
This year, we saw an increase in anthem ads—advertisers delivering emotional stories in an effort to elevate their brands. Hyundai’s “Hope Detector” ad for childhood cancer research caught me off guard by delivering a very aspirational and emotional product. Would I buy a Hyundai because of it? Probably not, but they took a step forward in my book.
Toyota’s story of Paralympian Lauren Woolstencroft was a 60-second emotional journey through this strong and courageous young woman’s life. The odds “ticker” beginning at 1 in almost 1 billion put her accomplishments in perspective in a big way. I will certainly be looking out for Lauren during the Paralympic Winter Games this year, which, ordinarily, I wouldn’t watch. I give a nod to Anheuser-Busch for its disaster relief ad–it was very well done and a solid strategy following a year with so many natural disasters close to home. Matt Damon’s charity appeal with Stella Artois was odd by comparison.
I found the creative juxtaposition between two ads that focused on the same diversity theme very interesting. In Coca-Cola’s “The Wonder of Us” spot, colorful imagery and stunning cinematography work with a poignant script to illustrate how we are all different. In contrast, T-Mobile’s ad utilized a fixed camera angle and slow pan hovering over babies of varied nationalities, all in white and nestled in gray fabric. While execution was very different, the goal accomplished was the same.
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