When the Super Bowl kicked off Sunday, 40-plus advertisers were hoping to win over the more than 110 million viewers tuning in. After paying $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, advertisers hoped to have the ad everyone will be talking about Monday morning.
Here are some Super Bowl ads that are sure to spark chatter.
PUPPY LOVE … AGAIN – Budweiser’s “Lost Puppy” ad was a winner before it even aired during the Super Bowl. The ad, which shows a puppy running away to find his Clydesdale buddies, already had 18 million views on YouTube ahead of the game.
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MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA! – Snickers scored some laughs early in the first quarter with an ad re-creating a famous “Brady Bunch” scene. Actor Danny Trejo plays an agitated Marcia Brady with a broken nose, continuing the Snickers advertising theme that people aren’t themselves when they’re hungry. The kicker comes when the camera cuts to Steve Buscemi as he stands on the Bradys’ familiar staircase, reciting middle sister Jan’s line of exasperation: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” “This isn’t about you Jan,” says Florence Henderson, the actress who played Carole Brady. This prompts Buscemi to run away, exasperated, while shouting: “It never is!”
“INVISIBLE MINDY KALING” – Insurer Nationwide’s teaser for its Super Bowl ad showed “Mindy Project” star Mindy Kaling believing she is invisible and doing scandalous acts, including sitting naked in Central Park and going through a car wash. The Super Bowl ad itself shows what happens when Kaling realizes she isn’t actually invisible.
TIME TRAVEL WITH BMW – Former “Today” show hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel poked fun at themselves in an ad for BMW’s new all-electric car. The ad features a clip from 1994, when Couric and Gumbel express puzzlement over the concept of the Internet and the @ symbol in e-mail addresses. Fast-forward to present day, and they’re expressing similar confusion about BMW’s i3 car.
NATIONWIDE TURNS CREEPY – Another ad by the insurer shows a young boy riding a school bus and lamenting he’ll never learn to fly or travel the world with his best friend or even grow up, because he died in an accident. The ad was aimed at stopping preventable childhood accidents. “At Nationwide, we believe in protecting what matters most, your kids. Together we can make safe happen,” a voiceover says.
PRE-GAME SCORES – Two ads immediately preceding the game grabbed viewers’ attention. Chevrolet’s ad “Blackout” appeared to be a live game feed that turned into static and a blank screen. But Chevrolet used the trick to show that its Colorado truck has 4G LTE Wi-Fi, so you could stream the game live in the truck.
Then an Esurance ad showed celebrity Lindsay Lohan trying to pick up a boy from school. When he protests that she’s not his mother she says she’s “sorta” his mom because they’re the same age range and have seen a lot of miles. “When it comes to the big things (like your mom or your car insurance) sorta just doesn’t cut it,” a voiceover states.
TOYOTA’S KICKOFF – Toyota kicked off the ad games with a spot for its Camry featuring Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy snowboarding and dancing, set to a speech by Muhammad Ali that ends with: “I’ll show you how great I am.”
COKE FIGHTS INTERNET TROLLS – Coca-Cola says its 60-second ad during the first quarter tackles “the pervasive negativity polluting social media feeds.” The idea is in line with the company’s long-running marketing strategy of associating its soft drinks with happiness.
MCDONALD’S “PAY WITH LOVIN’ ” – In its 60-second spot, the fast-food chain announces that it will let random customers pay for their food with acts of goodwill, such as calling their moms and telling them they love them. It’s part of a Valentine’s Day promotion that starts Monday.
NFL’S “NO MORE” – The NFL aired a public service announcement from No More, a coalition of anti-domestic abuse organizations. The 60-second ad depicts a chilling 911 call from a battered woman to demonstrate the terror of domestic abuse.
DORITOS WINNERS – It was the ninth year Doritos ran its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest that gives fans a chance to create an ad for the big game. One of the two finalists aired during the game was “When Pigs Fly,” which shows a boy designing a contraption to make a pig fly to get a man to give him a bag of Doritos. The other finalist, “Middle Seat,” features a man scaring away potential seatmates on an airplane, then whipping out a bag of Doritos when he sees an attractive woman. As she gets closer, he notices she’s carrying a baby. The winner – who will be determined by fan votes and will be announced Monday morning – gets $1 million and a chance to work onsite at Universal Pictures for a year. The runner-up gets $50,000.
FAVRE AND CARVE – First-time advertiser Wix.com showed retired NFL players starting fictional businesses after their NFL careers. Terrell Owens, for instance, starts a pie company called Humble Pie, and Brett Favre starts charcuterie business Favre and Carve. Wix.com lets people create their own websites.
NISSAN’S TEARJERKER – Nissan returned to the Super Bowl after 18 years with an ad featuring the story line of an up-and-coming race car driver and his wife struggling to balance work and raising their son. In a jarring detail, the ad was set to “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, who was killed in a car crash.
ALWAYS’ “LIKE A GIRL” – Procter & Gamble’s Always feminine protection brand’s 60-second Super Bowl spot is a version of a viral video it aired in June. The ad shows adults and a boy running and throwing rather weakly when they’re asked to depict what it means to do those actions “like a girl.” But then they ask young girls, who run and throw with much more energy. Copy says “Let’s make #likeagirl mean amazing things.”
T-Mobile “#KIMSDATASTASH” – To promote a service that lets users keep their unused data for a year, wireless provider T-Mobile hired Kim Kardashian for a 30-second spoof on public service announcements. In the ad, she makes a plea to save people’s unused data taken back by wireless carriers. She laments that the data could have been used to see her makeup, vacations and outfits.