Our round-up of last night’s Super Bowl 50 ads

8 February 2016

So it was the big game last night which also saw the Super Bowl celebrate it’s 50th year. Whether you stayed up to watch the game or couldn’t give a hoot that the Broncos beat the Panthers, everyone knows the real excitement is in the deluge of ads that erupts before and during the game.

With a hefty price tag of £3.5 million for just a 30-second spot, making an advert for the Super Bowl is a pricey move but done right it can mean future mega bucks. Some of the world’s biggest brands come together each year to lay their ads onto the pitch and this year’s commercials feature a mix of big celebrity cameos and outright bizarreness. This is our rundown of just some of the ads that nabbed a precious spot during the game, so do as the Americans do and high five your buddy while you chow down on these adverts with glee.

BBDO New York: Snickers, Marilyn

Capturing its You’re Not You When You’re Hungry campaign, Snickers has gone all out on its ad by getting actor Willem Defoe to star. Created by BBDO New York, the spot sees Defoe gussied up as Marilyn Monroe mirroring the classic scene from The Seven Year Itch where the starlet is poised over a subway gate. Playing hungry Monroe, Defoe is stroppy and diva-like until he’s given a Snickers and miraculously turns into the angelic Monroe with some clever CGI.

BBDO New York: Mountain Dew, Puppymonkeybaby

So creepy it’s almost unwatchable, this spot for Mountain Dew sees the laws of biology completely re-written with a disgusting hybrid of a baby, monkey and puppy, which is apparently a mashup of the three things people love to see in Super Bowl commercials. Another ad made by BBDO, it sees the weird animal dance hypnotically with cans of Mountain Dew, while repeatedly saying “Puppymonkeybaby,” like it’s perfectly natural.

David&Goliath: Kia, Walken Closet

Another brand bringing out the big guns in the celebrity stakes is Kia, which enlists the storytelling skills of Christopher Walken for its big game ad. It’s a good move from the brand and sees them working with California-based agency David&Goliath again, which has previously created work for the car company. Walken brings a touch of class to the proceedings as he encourages a man continually dressed in beige to add a bit of pizzazz to his life with the new Kia Optima.

DreamWorks Animation and Wix.com: Wix.com, Kung Fu Pand Discovers the Power of Wix

No agency was involved in the creative process of this next ad, which sees Wix.com team up with DreamWorks Animation. Featuring the cast of Kung Fu Panda 3, the ad celebrates 50 years of the Super Bowl by looking back fondly at previous iconic ads like Budweiser’s frogs, while unsubtly reminding us that the first step to a successful business is a great website.

Anomaly: Budweiser, Simply Put

Employing the chastising tones of Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren is Budweiser’s Super Bowl PSA, as part of Anheuser-Busch’s (the makers of Budweiser and Bud Light) sponsorship of the game. After receiving her bottle of Bud and burger, Mirren lays into the drunk drivers that spoil it for everyone else. From classic phrases like, “utterly useless, oxygen-wasting human form of pollution” to “If your brain was donated to science, science would return it,” this rip-roaring tear down created by Anomaly certainly puts drivers who drink in their places as well as turning them off of the risks involved.

DAVID Miami: Heinz, Weiner Stampede

Playing on our love for dachshunds, Heinz has opted for a colourful tribute to its array of ketchups and mustards by getting an army of sausage dogs dressed up in hotdog costumes to gallop towards a line of people in sauce bottle outfits. Poetically titled as Weiner Stampede, the ad marks a new campaign for Heinz by agency DAVID Miami, called Meet the Ketchups.

RPA: Honda, A New Truck to Love

Similar to Mountain Dew, Honda’s 60-second spot sees the car brand anthropomorphise a field of sheep as they sing along to Queen classic Somebody to Love. Full of harmonies and choral texture, their performance is anything but woolly as they roam free on the farm. Created by RPA, the ad highlights the unique audio system for Honda’s new 2017 Ridgeline truck. Trying to tick all the boxes, the spot ends with a talking dog.

Innocean: Hyundai, Ryanville

A fantasy world where every man looks like Ryan Reynolds is the order of the day for Honda’s Super Bowl spot. Swooning over the actor’s devilish good looks, two ladies drive around in the Hyundai Elantra. Distracted and disregarding all notions of safety, the driver narrowly avoids running over one the many Reyonolds – but lucky for everyone the car’s auto-braking with pedestrian detection stops any carnage. We wonder how OK it would all be if it was a couple of guys leering from their car at an equally gorgeous female celeb instead, but perhaps Hyundai is hoping we’ll also be too bewildered by Reynolds’ charm to notice.

GSD&M: Avocados from Mexico, Bounty of Earth

You’d think with their prowess on Instagram, the humble avocado wouldn’t need a million dollar ad campaign to get people to buy them, but according to the brand Avocados from Mexico they do, which explains its 60-second spot at this year’s game. The brand made its Super Bowl ad debut last year and this time a tour guide leads a group of aliens through a museum full of human wares, among the Rubik’s cube and emojis are the Avocados from Mexico, available all year round. The best part is when an alien gets vaporised for double dipping in the guacamole.

DDB Chicago: Skittles, The Portrait

Another celebrity-endorsed advert, this time for Skittles. Taking full advantage of Steven Tyler’s vocal gymnastics, the rockstar inspects his portrait made out of Skittles and calls it, “e to the z, ooh twiddly disgusting.” Then, because it can talk (obviously), Tyler challenges the picture to sing as high as possible before breaking into rainbow-like cascades. It might not make much sense, but you’ll certainly want to chug a packet of Skittles are seeing the ad.

Venables Bell & Partners: Audi, Commander

Whether it’s coincidence or a sneaky PR move, Audi’s use of the late David Bowie’s 1972 song Starman for it’s Super Bowl commercial is certainly well-timed. Telling the story of a retired astronaut thinking about his younger years spent in space his son helps him recapture the thrill and glory by letting him drive his Audi R8. Going for poignancy rather than laughs, Bowie’s melodious voice keep the whole thing nostalgic as opposed to cheesy.

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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.

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