Work / Advertising

Super Bowl 52: we round up the best ads from this year

The Super Bowl draws an audience of around 111 million viewers, so it’s little surprise brands are willing to pay $5 million for a 30-second spot. Still, over the years this has caused the competition for best ad to get to incredulous levels of grandeur, with huge budgets, big stars and outlandish ideas a given.

Last night’s game saw the Philadelphia Eagles triumph over defending champions New England Patriots for their first ever Super Bowl victory, with Justin Timberlake providing the half-time entertainment, peppered with a plethora of new ads vying for viewers’ attention. We’ve picked out some of the best.

Doritos and Mountain Dew created its own version of A Song of Ice and Fire with Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman. Peter and Morgan rapped along to iconic Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot numbers in their, respectively, hot and frosty worlds. The rappers each make a brilliant cameo too, as painted portraits come to life.

A Giant Story from Intuit tells a charming animated tale of a struggling flower shop owner whose money woes are inhibiting his focus on bettering his business. His hero is an inventor, who creates a giant robot (personifying the software company Intuit’s programmes) to take care of the books so he can make his shop flourish again – and take her on a date. The ad was directed by Againstallodds from Passion Animation Studios, with agency Phenomenon.

Skittles “teased” four different 15-second spots starring David Schwimmer, with the premise that only one person – a teenager called Marcos Menendez – would see the actual final 60-second advert. Those curious enough could then watch Marcos watch the ad on Facebook. Each of the teasers is equally bizarre in its own way, with Schwimmer taking on multiple guises: talking to a sandwich, floating in a virtual world, possessed and shooting light beams from his mouth, and becoming a ventriloquist dummy for a ventriloquist dummy.

Amazon’s ad saw its voice activation software Alexa “lose her voice”, to be replaced by a host of celebrity stand-ins. Gordon Ramsey shouts at a would-be chef, Rebel Wilson makes inappropriate jokes about being in the bush, Cardi B ignores requests for country music and Anthony Hopkins spooks one user as he channels Hannibal Lecter.

Tourism Australia called upon some of its most famous exports, including Russell Crow, Margot Robbie, Isla Fisher, Chris and Liam Hemsworth and Hugh Jackman, to create a spoof trailer for Dundee, a supposed sequel to Crocodile Dundee. The ruse has gone so far as to have its own IMDB page and website.

Saatchi & Saatchi also went down the spoof route for Tide, satirising recognisable advert stereotypes for cars, beer, insurance, jewellery, cleaning products soft drinks, razors, and even voice-activated gadgets. “What makes it a Tide ad,” a mechanic asks mid-way, with Stranger Things star David Harbour providing the simple explanation. “No stains, look at those clean clothes.” The ad was directed by filmmaking collective Traktor, with Rattling Stick.

The red M&M has a Pinocchio moment as he becomes human for a day, taking on the form of Danny DeVito. He’s ecstatic until he’s inexplicably hit by a truck, but emerges unscathed. The punchline sees DeVito commenting on his newfound physique: “Man I look good,” he says, his M&M friend retorting: “You’re still short and bald.”

Internet company Sprint enlists a cast of robots for its ad, which mock a human co-worker for not switching from its competitor Verizon. It starts off referencing Ex Machina in style, the premise being that Evelyn – the star bot – has the most advanced AI in world, and chooses Sprint. It’s a great example of the Hollywood production value of the ads being made for the coveted Super Bowl slot.