2015 Super Bowl Commercials: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

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Football fans and their uninterested family and friends unite for the Super Bowl each year, why? Well, besides chicken wings and lots of beer, even those who couldn’t care less about the game will get together to watch the commercials.

I personally fall into the second category. While I understand the love for football, it’s just not my thing. However, I LOVE the commercials and I look forward to the event every year for that very reason. Each year companies spend millions of dollars for their chance to give the public a reason to talk about their brand. Some go for humor, some go for sentiment and some even produce some serious (and often controversial) content.

This year was no different.

I took to Twitter to participate in live Tweeting related to the Super Bowl – specifically the ads (and a little other commentary). Each year the online marketing community gets involved and uses hashtags like: #BrandBowl #AdBowl and a new one (at least it’s the first time I’ve seen it) #HashtagBowl. Between the Tweets in my feed and the group I was with, I got a pretty clear picture of what commercials went over well and which ones flopped.

Here is the breakdown:

Let’s start with the bad: The Worst Super Bowl Ad of 2015

It’s pretty obvious who made the worst ad this year. The online census is clear. Sorry Nationwide but come on, do you really think that freaking out parents with childhood death was appropriate for the Super Bowl? I understand this is an important topic… but most people feel like it was in bad taste for this particular event.

Nationwide Insurance: Make Safe Happen

http://youtu.be/dKUy-tfrIHY

The comments were pretty harsh:

Other Losers:  

Although the response to most ads was somewhat mixed, it’s pretty safe to say that there were some other losers, including:

    • Victoria’s Secret: Despite the beautiful models in their underwear, this ad was a big yawn fest.
      • T-Mobile: Kim Kardashian for DataStash: Supposed to be funny, but ended up mainly as a big, ehhhhhh.
        • Mercedes-Benz: Fable: Beautiful car, but the tortoise and hare idea is a bit overplayed already, dontcha think?
          • Esurance: Say My Name: We love you Heisenberg, but most of us were left wondering “WTF?”.
            • Skittles: Settle It: Skittles has done such a great job with their ads in the past – we were all expecting something a lot better than this.
              • FIAT 500X: The Blue Pill: This one had me at first, but once that blue pill slipped into the FIAT gas tank we were all a little grossed out.

              And, finally for the good: The Best Super Bowl Ads of 2015

              The Tearjerkers:

              Every year there is at least one ad that hits our heart strings, but this year there was an overwhelmingly large amount of ads that were intended to bring on the tears. Admittedly, I am a crier. I cry when the underdog wins, when Oprah causes a celebrity to have an “ah-ha” moment and when my kids give me a homemade card that says “I love you”… so it’s no wonder that more than one commercial made ME cry. But here is what the group had to say:

              Budweiser: Lost Dog: Awwww, a cute puppy, beautiful horses and an old favorite song all in one commercial? *tear*

              Some of our kids really loved the commercial, but it’s for beer so… But, overall it got a pretty good response on the web:

              Coca-Cola: Make it Happy: I liked this ad because it A) raises a good point: there is WAY too much hate on the web and B) acts as a reminder we should all try harder to be kind to each other.

              However, others found it “cheesy” and a lot of the comments online were regarding the brand and the product itself, specifically about Coke causing obesity or something similar:

              What a stupid commercial. Keep poisoning everyone with your toxic high fructose corn syrup.”

              McDonald’s: Pay With Lovin’: The runner up for the best tearjerker of the night.

              Great message (yes, I cried) but unfortunately people still hate McDonald’s:

              “Why not show some love for the animals you confine and kill by the billions each year?  Stop pretending to be “good guys”.

              Still, fans seem to be pretty excited about the idea of free food:

              And, some of us see it for its marketing brilliance:

              “Beautiful, smart and unique concept. A table and I were even talking about it before the super bowl even aired on Saturday because we had heard about it on the radio and paper. Love that they’re continuing to do it Feb 1st – Feb 14th – Ongoing love and PR!”

              Always #LikeAGirl: The clear winner of the tearjerkers this year. If you don’t like this commercial, there’s something wrong with you. The Always marketing people did a fantastic job with a tricky product – particularly for the Super Bowl. A lot of thought went into this one:

              And, yes, as a mother of a teenage girl, I cried… in fact, this one had the biggest impact on my emotions overall. I wanted to run to my daughter and tell her how awesome it is to be a girl and that she can do ANYTHING she wants to in this world.

              Other responses:

              “I loved the #LikeAGirl one because I have 2 daughters (one of which is excelling in martial arts) and a strong woman who don’t do things in the put down way of ‘like a girl’.”

              “The minute they showed the ten year old girls unaffected by gender stereotypes, I started to cry. I started to cry because I was taught that running and throwing like a girl was a bad thing. Stopped running in marathons when I was twelve. Stopped playing softball when I was fifteen. I just thought…I don’t know what I thought. Just know this made me cry! I do remember what it was like. I don’t know why I ever listened!”

              The Funny:

              A note to big product brands: when it doubt, go funny. I get it, funny doesn’t work for everything. However, this IS the Super Bowl and it’s a family event. So, family friendly humor goes over well and doesn’t isolate.

              Bud Light: Real Life PacMan: The group at my house thought this ad was rad. It left us all wanting to play a real life PacMan game.

              I personally was a little disappointed there wasn’t more to the ad after last years EPIC ad with the same premises #UpForWhatever:

              But I still want to play Real Life PacMan.

              Snickers: The Brady Bunch: The runner up for the best funny ad this year. Keeping in line with their other “hangry” commercials, this one spoke to the Brady Bunch lover in us all:

              Many thought the ad was nothing short of perfection: “I doubt we’ll see a #SuperBowl ad that tops Snickers’ with Danny Trejo in The Brady Bunch”

              And, for THE WINNER:

              Mountain Dew Kickstart: Come Alive: The full version came on before kickoff and helped get the party started. Tell me this isn’t funny:

              I don’t know what’s funnier, the guy getting low, the fluffy dog or that deer on the wall… Either way, it was nice to actually laugh out loud (and not be embarrassed to share the moment with my kids). Some comments from on-line: “Best commercial I’ve seen this year! Go ahead. Touch stuff.”

              A Few Honorable Mentions:

              • Microsoft: Braylon O’Neill: Good job, but unfortunately didn’t make the “best” list.
              • T-Mobile: Sarah Silverman & Chelsea Handler for Wi-Fi Calling: I thought it was funny.
              • mophie: All-Powerless: “When your phone dies, God knows what can happen”… Well played, mophie, well played.
              • Squarespace: Super Bowl 2015: Om: This one got mixed reviews, but one person in the office loved it: “I loved the Dreaming with Jeff Bridges by Squarespace ad…cuz I love the Dude!”
              • Dodge: Wisdom: This one also got some mixed reviews. The overall response was it was good, but most couldn’t see the ad and the brand connection.

              In case you missed the Super Bowl (or, maybe were you busy grilling and eating during some of the commercials) click here for a full list of the YouTube videos.

              So, that is it for this year’s #BrandBowl recap.

              What were your favorite and least favorite ads? Did they make our list? Share in the comments below.

              Avatar for Jenny Stradling

              Jenny Stradling

              Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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This entry was posted in Branding & ORM, Social Media and tagged , .
Avatar for Jenny Stradling

About Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

One thought on “2015 Super Bowl Commercials: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

  1. Avatar for Jenny StradlingRenee Keys

    What an entertaining blog! I didn’t catch the Nationwide ad (thank gosh), but I did not expect that! This year’s #UpForWhatever WAS fun and awesome, but I agree, not as hype as last year’s. Overall, great commercials and I pretty much agree with your analysis 🙂

    Reply

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