With the big game now over for another year, it’s time to honor the night’s big winners. Of course the Seattle Seahawks deserve every bit of recognition for their momentous win over the Denver Broncos, but we’re talking about the companies who beat out all the others to claim the best Super Bowl ad of the night. With advertising real estate estimated at $4 million per 30-second spot on the night, it’s no surprise brands are bringing all they’ve got in the hope of being the most memorable. A Super Bowl win might go down in the history books, but a Super Bowl ad win will earn you a big profit in the coming year. If there’s a theme to the biggest and best ads of this year it’s that bigger is better, and a bigger name is even better. Evidently a leaked campaign or early teasers also help to make a lasting impression, meaning that a successful Super Bowl ad is as much about viral marketing than it is about a great ad. So without further adieu, here is our list of the top ads for Super Bowl XLVIII.
SodaStream’s controversial campaign featuring Scarlett Johansson made them one of the big contenders long before game night even arrived. Having released a viral video with the slogan “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi,” they later had to drop the line for the official version of the ad. In the end the controversy did nothing but hype the ad even more, giving them one of the most memorable spots of the night.
Film themed ads were big this year, with Kia’s Matrix-inspired “The Truth” spot bringing some of the best production value in this years lineup. Laurence Fishbourne reprised his role as Morpheus in this epic yet humorous take on the film, including a brilliant lip-synch to Pavarotti’s “Puccini: Nessun Dorma.”
Budweiser had a few ads screening on the night but they brought out the big guns with their Bud Light “Up for Whatever” campaign with non-actor Ian Rappaport. Taking the unsuspecting regular Joe on a wild night out that ranges from being styled by Minka Kelly, to a sudden death ping pong match with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and ending with a concert by One Republic. Teasers helped create anticipation and the extended featurette online sealed the deal.
Ford also brought out the movie stars and flashy effects with their “Nearly Double” commercial starring Rob Riggle and James Franco. Once again putting the emphasis on the ad rather than the product, the campaign succeeds in getting the attention of viewers.
For their first TV advertising efforts, T-Mobile enlisted free agent Tim Tebow to head their “#nocontract” campaign. The ad has the NFL player acting out various activities which are possible because he isn’t signed to a contract, making for a tongue in cheek and entertaining spot that is in some way relevant to the brand’s product.
Another film-themed ad for another car brand, Jaguar’s “British Villains” spot features three of Britain’s top actors – Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong, and Tom Hiddleston, in a spoof on typical film bad guys. Going all out, the commercial was directed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, and featured epic helicopter and car chase scenes worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster.
Toyota also brings a star-studded lineup for their Highlander commercial enlisting the help of Terry Crews and The Muppets. The short spot doesn’t involve a strong storyline, focusing instead on the popularity of its main stars.
Props go to Newcastle Brown Ale for making the best non-Super Bowl commercial that wasn’t aired during the game. Playing on the fact that they couldn’t afford to show during the big game, they enlisted movie star Anna Kendrick to create a Behind-the-scenes featurette on how they didn’t end up making an ad. Great outside the box thinking.