Another year, another Super Bowl filled with the year’s biggest and best ads from America’s most prominent companies. While the action on the field was almost a complete shutdown by the Seattle Seahawks, the staff of PSFK had a more rousing match over which ads rose above the rest.
For the Best Use of Furry Friends, the competition was as fierce as the Chobani bear, who ended up winning the Weirdest Ad award. However, that ad that made the best use of our societal love for cute critters didn’t make it to the screen during the game. Instead, CarMax’s puppy version of the slow clap commercial aired during Animal Planet’s puppy bowl.
Cuddly creatures weren’t the only ones causing a ton of buzz. Celebrity Cameos were a dime a dozen this year, highlighting a company’s profile by their ability to pull top talent. Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley, and Mark Strong proved why British villains dominate in Jaguars, David Beckman bared all for H&M, and the men of Full House had a small reunion to ruin John Stamos’s chance at love and Dannon Oikos greek yogurt. The cameo that impressed the PSFK crowd the most however, was Bud Light’s massive array of stars, including the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The ads this year were not afraid to be self-referential or point out the typical flaws of a classic Super Bowl’s ad. Two companies chose to go with Non-Ads, talking about the commercial they would have made for the game but didn’t. While SodaStream made a valiant effort with a censored ad featuring Scarlett Johansson, it was Newcastle’s ad featuring Anna Kendrick that mastered the art of the non-ad, winning the unanimous support of the staff.
Many of the ads relied on the power of Music to make their statement. While the Ellen Degeneres-backed Beats Music showed off a variety of great tracks and Toyota has an original song played by the Muppets, neither could make it to the end zone. It was Sonos and their house full of music that challenged viewers to feel the sound and scored for the night.
While Film Trailers are less traditional in the Super Bowl commercial line-up, that didn’t mean the studios didn’t pull out all the stops to make football fans excited for their upcoming releases. While giant robots leveled cities in Transformers: Age of Extinction and Marvel’s Captain America 2 attempted to save the planet, it was The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that swung it’s way into victory by demonstrating its impressive array of villains and special effects.
No one saw Wonderful Pistachios coming, but the ad — featuring the quick wit of Stephen Colbert and a silent, dapper eagle — snagged the Best Ad From An Underdog, but lost to the meme-filled commercial for Squarespace for Best Ad From A Newcomer. Radioshack broke away from the pack with the hilarious tribute to the 1980s, earning the title of Funniest Ad while Coca Cola’s America the Beautiful won in the Pulling on the Heartstrings category.
Everyone waited with baited breath to see who would grab the Best Oreo moment Award, referring to an ad or company that stole the show in the most expected way on social media. It was a battle to the bitter end until Esurance came in and promised $1.5 million to one lucky Twitter user who used the #EsuranceSave30 to attract thousands of participants.
Overall, the PSFK staff couldn’t settle on which ad was the Best of the Night. Team picks included commercials for TurboMax, Wonderful Pistachios, Toyota, and the Jerry Seinfeld webshow, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. With such an expansive variety of ads to choose from, there’s no clear top choice, and unlike football, there’s no way to take the game into overtime.
Image: Coca Cola