'Not too many great ads' from Super Bowl 50

'Not too many great ads' from Super Bowl 50

This year's Super Bowl commercials were big on kids, animals and celebrities — some thoughtful, some not, and some that were "just forgettable," says Michelle Nelson, a University of Illinois advertising professor who watched with friends Sunday. "Not too many great ads."

One thing missing: the element of surprise, because so many ads were shown online before the big game, she says.

Meanwhile, Oakwood native Shane Diver's ad in which actor Ryan Reynolds appears placed fifth in USA Today's ranking of the commercials.

Here's Nelson's rundown:

Kids' vote

— Puppy-monkey-baby: A creature with the head of a dog, body of a monkey and legs of a baby pitches PepsiCo's new drink "Kickstart," to illustrate "three awesome things combined" (Mountain Dew, juice and caffeine).

Nelson: "Just weird. The creature, the premise, the dance, and the tune make no sense to me! However, the 10- and 11-year-old boys at our party were all over it. Dancing, mimicking and asking about the soda. So although I can't quite figure out the strategy, I am guessing it worked on some level (plus there certainly was a lot of social media buzz about the spot, not all of it good, mind you)."


— NO MORE ad about signs of domestic violence: A woman texts a friend, Jess, trying to get her to come to a Super Bowl party. Her friend explains it's not a good idea because "Jake is in one of his moods." When the woman asks, "Are you OK?" Jess starts to reply but never finishes the message.

Nelson: "Clever and real — the NFL could have gone a step further to underscore their own no tolerance approach/policy to this issue."

— Helen Mirren for Budweiser: The esteemed British actress tells viewers, "If you drive drunk, you, simply put, are a short-sighted, utterly useless, oxygen wasting human form of pollution."

Nelson: "Mirren is a highly respectable actor and the overall message was important. However, several people wondered if she really drank Budweiser."

— Colgate's save water campaign: A man leaves the faucet running while brushing his teeth, wasting almost 4 gallons, as people from less privileged countries try to scoop it up.

Nelson: "A good reminder for all of us from a leading toothpaste brand."

Odd animal ad

Heinz Ketchup: Real wiener-shaped dogs wearing large hot dog buns run across a field toward humans in ketchup and mustard costumes, to "(I Can't Live if Living is) "Without You."

Nelson: "I love the dogs but don't want to think about eating them. Creepy!"

Nice animal ad

Honda truck with singing sheep: The sheep break into Queen's "Somebody to love," which they learned via the truck's rear bed sound system.

Nelson: "A refreshing change from other truck ads ... lovely sentiment (and not creepy)."


Quicken Loans: The company pitches its Rocket Mortgage app as an easy way to get a home mortgage so people can buy more things and stimulate the economy.

Nelson: "Given all of the bank crisis — do we really want getting a mortgage to be that easy? Do we really need to promote consumption and materialism in this way?"


Doritos baby: During a sonogram, parents see their baby reach for the dad's Doritos, then launch itself outside the womb when the mom throws the chip across the room. Twitter responded with both humor and revulsion.

Nelson: "The Twitter feed showed lots of differing interpretations and views. I admit I laughed out loud — but then read the Twitter feeds!"

Celebrity roundup

"We noticed a lot of the celebrities (Jeff Goldblum, Steven Tyler, Dan Marino, Willem Dafoe, etc.) seemed to be targeting 'our age' demographic. Some of these were funny (Snickers-Dafoe), some strange (Tyler-Skittles) and some funny but too-much-happening (Goldblum-Apartments.com)."

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ericbussell wrote on February 08, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Wow, a company gets scolded for claiming to make it easier for qualified people to apply for a loan?   I just don't interpret this as encouraging runaway borrowing like we saw in the run-up to 2008.   I'm no advertising expert, but I like companies like Uber that use technology to simplify life for consumers.    What I noticed on social media is that people seem easily offended by Super Bowl ads.   It's as if people are wound up by the excitement of the game, drink copious amounts of alcohol, and then get emotional about the commercials.   It was certainly fun to watch the reaction to the Super Bowl Babies commercial on twitter!  It seems the commercials that stir the pot generate more buzz and are less forgettable.  

Chambanacitizen wrote on February 10, 2016 at 11:02 am

Problem is ever since the nip slip seem around the world the NFL is scared. The half time shows and commercials have been junk. Too many church groups and parent councils got involved. Gotta love censorship!