The Winners and Losers In Super Bowl Ads and Commercials

You go sharks.

You go sharks.

Wow… Super Bowl XLIX was certainly one for the record books! New England defeats Seattle 28-24, thanks to Tom Brady throwing for 328 yards as well as some questionable playcalling/execution from Seattle. The Patriots came back from being 10 points down at the start of the 4th quarter to make for one of the most exciting Super Bowl endings that I can remember.

Let’s not forget the Halftime Show, either. Katy Perry, combined with Lenny Kravitz and surprise guest Missy Elliott, made halftime a fun one from start to finish. Oh, and let’s not forget about these guys either. Seriously, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or stand and applaud.

But amidst all of the glitz and glamour during the game, what separates the Super Bowl from the other major championships is what goes on off the field: the commercials. NBC charges over $4 million to companies looking for a 30-second spot during breaks. Since it costs so much, companies go over the top to gain as much exposure as they can in a clever fashion.

Some were hits. Others, misses. And even some, potential disasters. Here are the winners and the losers of this year’s Super Bowl advertising (in my opinion):

The full list of commercials and when they occurred can be downloaded here



One of the popular industries to make an appearance in Super Bowl advertising is the auto industry. This year was no exception and there were 4 that made a splash in my eyes.

  • Toyota: Using paralympian Amy Purdy working and perfecting her craft, Toyota showed how its Camry can push the limits of a car and do more than what is expected.
  • Jeep: As the song “This Land Is Your Land” played, Jeep not only took a journey through America, but across the world, showing how every country is special for those that live there.
  • Kia: This was a prime example of how to use a celebrity well. Kia takes Pierce on an unexpected journey, one where he assumes he’s fighting off bad guys like in his Bond days but instead takes it to his nice winter cabin. Creative, witty, and clever.
  • Mercedes: Mercedes took a lot of time to promote its ad before the Super Bowl. Using ESPN personalities Mike & Mike as well as Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, “The Big Race” between the tortoise and the hare was predictable but still well done.


The NFL has had its fair share of off-the-field issues this year in terms of domestic violence in the home. So two ads targeting fathers and sharing what makes them special struck a chord.

  • Dove: In its “Real Strength” ad, it shows fathers taking the time to enjoy every second they have with their children, form birth to adulthood. It was a touching piece that makes you smile and shows that “strength” is not always physical.
  • Nissan: Nissan took you on a journey of a father working hard to provide for his family, even if that required traveling and not spending more time with his son.
  • Toyota: Toyota took you through how a father does whatever he can to provide for his daughter, from childhood to adulthood, from the good to the bad.

Clash Of Clans

Mobile gaming was huge this year in advertising, especially leading up to the big game. Clash Of Clans came out the victor in the battle this night. Using the power of Taken superstar Liam Neeson, it provided laughs the moment he stepped on the screen. Another great example of how to use a celebrity in advertising.


Snickers has had a long chain of success with its “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” commercials, starting all the way with Betty White a few years ago. This year, the tradition continues. Action movie star Danny Trejo and actor Steve Buscemi represent Marcia and Jan from The Brady Bunch in a fantastic bit that had me laughing. Easily one of the best ads released.

Avocados From Mexico

This year’s “Wonderful Pistachios” advertiser. A smaller brand able to use big names like Doug Flutie and Jerry Rice to create a comical piece about “the first draft” where animals were picked to go to specific countries. Hilarious!



Where to begin. First off, their second ad this year was probably the biggest buzzkill of the Super Bowl. While the message behind it was great, it was poorly placed and was NOT well-received. Also, when people were tweeting about the ad, Nationwide had an automated post to be sent to everyone. No human behind it at all. Not a good look.


T-Mobile had two ads shown during the Super Bowl, one of which was shown before the game. Both could have had the potential to be big, especially with the second featuring Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler. However, both were bland, especially the one featuring Kim Kardashian. While I give her credit for poking fun at herself, it was not enjoyable to watch.

Game Of War

Where Clash Of Clans succeeded, Game Of War failed. Despite having regular ads on TV with strong celebrity endorsement from Kate Upton, their Super Bowl ad seemed uninspired, dry, and just not exciting. I honestly enjoyed their regular commercials more.


This one may come off as a shock to some, but I was not super impressed with Budweiser. Their first ad, playing off of last year’s “Best Buds” theme with the dog and the horse, was AWESOME. Huge online, well-received, and they used puppies very well. That was a winner. However, their second ad, poking fun at the craft beer scene, came across as them being scared/intimidated and they almost seemed like a bully. Anheuser-Busch, you draw in more revenue than any other brewery in America. Wrong approach to take.


GoDaddy had its original ad for the Super Bowl not shown after receiving HARSH backlash online. The ad they put in its place was uninspired, not engaging, boring, and not something a party of people watching would stop to watch. Better luck next year.


Not all of the entertainment was on screen. Off screen, social media went crazy last night:

-During the game, YouTube had a button pop up alongside all of the advertisements that aired. It allowed you to vote for your favorite ad and then it calculated results.

-During the game, I counted 86 national commercials. Those consisted of ads, trailers, and previews for NBC shows. Out of those 86, 39, or 45.3%, featured a hashtag to tweet during the game.

-Automated tweets were in last night. Big name brands tried their best to get in touch with everyone that talked about their ads.

-The shock value of Nationwide’s commercial helped it to be the top trending topic in the United States, even beating “#SuperBowl”.

-There were some major players that, unlike last year, did not have an ad running in the game. One example that comes to mind is Jaguar. That didn’t keep them from being quiet during the game.

-Personal favorite tweet of the night: Monster.


5. Doritos



4. Dove



3. Budweiser



2. Kia



1. Snickers



What were your favorite commercials from this Super Bowl? Feel free to share in the comments below!


Filed under Sports

2 responses to “The Winners and Losers In Super Bowl Ads and Commercials

  1. mary finly-blosat

    Excellent GTB. one to highlight in a “portfolio” of sorts. well structured and written – bravo!


  2. Terri Parthum

    My personal favorite was The Fiat Blue Pill. I own a Fiat 500 so I may be partial.


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