Forget all the professional athletes, the Super Bowl is the place for the biggest brands to flex their financial muscles and produce the best, most visceral content that still appeals to all of America. Some of our brightest gave their take on what worked and what didn't.

Br Me St
  • Bret Koehler
  • Head of Production

Santy Reviews: Super Bowl 50 Ads

Super Bowl commercials are designed to induce a visceral response (they damn well better, at a cost of $5 million for 30 seconds of air time). So we got Shillie (Junior Media Planner/Buyer), Dennis (Senior Copywriter), and Bret (Creative Director) to put down their reactions to some of the most notable spots of the evening.

Commander” by Audi

Shillie: The true “best of” Super Bowl ads are known for two things — a great story and the ability to tug at your heartstrings. Audi did exactly that with “Commander.” Not only can people relate to both the younger man and the older man, but to the dream of becoming an astronaut as well. Who as a child didn’t dream of going to the moon? As Audi takes us back to that time, we’re graced with the late, great David Bowie singing, “Starman.” There are no other words but bravo, Audi.

Bret: I’m ten seconds in and I already want to hurl at how seriously this ad takes itself. Is his mind gone? Did he have a lobotomy? No, he’s just daydreaming about the glory days. Oh wow…his son, who obviously grew up extremely privileged, is taking him out to show him the new car he bought that only 1% of the population can afford. Thanks, rich dad! Wait, is the old man going 120 on a winding mountain pass in the dark? This will end exactly as it should. Poetic justice. If I see one more sports car commercial that uses a rocket reference, I’ll turn in my driver’s license and start taking the bus. Sappy, derivative and totally unforgettable.

Simply Put” by Budweiser

Shillie: Hands down, this is my favorite ad of the night. The beautiful Helen Mirren put into blunt, charming words what needs to be said anytime someone reaches for their keys after having one too many. Placed perfectly near the end of the Super Bowl, Budweiser used 60-seconds and $10 Million dollars to not even have their bottle turned towards the camera to let the consumer know who was sponsoring this message. Bravo to Budweiser for putting the consumer and their families ahead of the mighty dollar on the biggest stage of the year.

A New Truck to Love” by Honda

Shillie: Who knew singing sheep could be so funny? Personally, I have no plans to buy a truck, but this ad actually made me want those cool speakers hidden in the bed of the truck. I hope a friend buys this truck over the summer; it would be perfect for tailgating next fall!

Bret: That many sheep in the middle of nowhere would get absolutely shredded by a pack of coyotes. But it’s charming as hell and speaks to a unique feature (truck bed speakers) in a very cool way. I suddenly want a truck with truck bed speakers, and I really want to load some Queen into my 8-track player right now. Genius.

The Chase” by Hyundai

Dennis: Loved the first half of the spot showing a couple fleeing on foot from a pair of terrifying bears (bonus points for timing with Revenant getting so much buzz). The couple is saved by their Hyundai’s voice-activated remote start. They jump in the car and safely drive off. The spot could have and should have ended there. Instead, we spend the rest of the spot listening to the bear’s trite banter. It feels like two different commercials. A dumb idea? I think so. But with 22 million YouTube views (so far), what do I know?

First Date” by Hyundai

Shillie: Kevin Hart uses his small stature to his advantage by looking like the non-scary dad, even letting his daughter’s date borrow his brand new car. Thanks to new tracking technology from Hyundai, his daughter enters every girl’s nightmare – dad hiding out as a third wheel on a first date. Great story + clear message = a Super Bowl hit.

Dennis: Ad Meter’s #1 ranked commercial was Hyundai’s First Date starring Kevin Hart. Oh, come on. This commercial couldn’t have been more average. A decent idea, but it’s all very safe, clean and silly. Making America Average Again.

Super Bowl Babies Choir” by NFL

Shillie: Couple of thoughts here: first, these kids are adorable; second, where has Seal gone and how has he not aged; third, thank you NFL for reminding me that my Vikings have never won a Super Bowl. Just when I get frustrated thinking of that, the NFL tagline, “Football is family,” shows on the screen. To those who know me, they understand how true this tagline rings. Football brings my family and friends together via phone or plane from Arizona to Minnesota every week. Thank you NFL and Skol Vikings!

Bret: Wow, am I the only one who finds it ironic that the sport that actually prevents half the population from attending church on Sundays is using people in gospel choir outfits to sell itself? And has Seal ever even watched a game of American football?

This ad screams inauthentic and does nothing for the brand. In fact, it kind of makes me hate football, and I love football.

Ultrasound” by Doritos

Bret: Oh that’s funny. The baby wants the Doritos, even though dad munching on chips during an ultrasound will lead to a lifelong grudge, and eventually, divorce, and the kid will grow up fatherless. Maybe that’s why the kid is reaching for them? Like he’s going to snatch them away and save papa from himself? OMG WTF just happened?!??!!? Did that baby just come flying out?!?!? My eyes! Someone cover my eyes! Someday, someone will win the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest using something other than physical humor. But this isn’t that someday. And food + umbilical cords is just downright nasty.

Wiener Stampede” by Heinz

Shillie: One word: PUPPIES!!! My favorite one is the smallest wiener dog prancing around, oh my goodness! I could watch this ad over and over and it will still make me giggle like a little kid

Bret: I am a card carrying cynic, yet I just said “this is SOOOO CUUUUUTE” out loud, just like I did the first time I saw it. And then I thought, but once all those condiments go on them, they get eaten, right? I never think of mustard while watching football, yet I suddenly have a serious hankering for a stadium dog. Very unique, on brand, smart. One of those ads that makes me think, “Wow I wish I’d thought of that.”

Dennis: Cute as hell. Yep, that creative team has their finger on America’s pulse. And I do have to admit, the kid in the ketchup pack was a nice touch.

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