If you went to bed with the score 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons, you missed a fair bit. While the New England Patriots earned a historic 34-28 comeback victory, there were also some commercials broadcast during this year’s Super Bowl. Just how we like it!
This year’s gridiron showpiece came as welcome relief from recent events. While the focus was on entertainment, certain ads made subtle and not-so-subtle nods to issues such as immigration, equality, and race.
Here are a handful of the commercials that advertisers are hoping will offer a return on their astronomical costs.
Directed by Somesuch’s Aoife McArdle, Audi’s Super Bowl ad depicts a soapbox racer enduring a bruising race to the finish line as her father ponders what kind of world he wants her to live in - one where her triumphs gain just rewards.
Covering gender equality and fair pay is bound to provoke a reaction. Just check out the ad's YouTube comments. It’s a timely communication from the car manufacturer, however, and McArdle’s impressive treatment drives home Audi’s message.
This offers a neat twist on celebrity-heavy Super Bowl ads. Various stars including Amy Steve Carell, Robert Redford, and Viola Davis make the brave choice to let their yearbook photos be used. Just a friendly warning: you can’t unsee Carell’s high school moustache. Each contribution reminds us we’ve all got to start somewhere, and the brand suggests their success stems from humble beginnings.
Deflategate and a “friendship” with Donald Trump hasn’t done Tom Brady too much harm. After all, he’s now a five-time Super Bowl winner. The computing giant even makes the little moments in Brady’s life seems epic with an eye-catching demonstration of their 360-degree replay technology. It seems to have limited use for everyday computer users, but at least we know Brady never lets a pancake go to waste.
Even Humpty Dumpty has to make sure his tax affairs are in order. The scrambled egg seeks tax advice from his hospital bed. There’s a lovely/grim moment when Humpty starts bleeding yolk. We never got that detail in the nursery rhyme. It’s a fantastical way of promoting convenient tax returns, albeit with an enjoyably droll edge.
The chocolate bar’s third consecutive Super Bowl ad is a disaster in the best possible way. Adam Driver’s efforts to create a Western are foiled by dodgy squibs and the entire set collapsing around him. It’s a textbook calamity, and it chimes well with the brand’s long-running belief that things go Pete Tong on an empty stomach.
Christopher Walken delivers a quintessentially Walken take on NSYNC’s ‘Bye Bye Bye’. The actor turns the boy band’s hit track into something even more intense. Justin Timberlake’s equally deadpan reaction either suggests Walken has butchered his song, or elevated it to new levels. Should provide a potent nostalgia hit.
7. 84 Lumber
This ad hit a brick wall, if you will. The broadcast version of this mother and daughter saga suffered a late edit, asking viewers to visit the lumber brand’s website for the conclusion. Why the drama? Well, the ending involves a giant wall between Mexico and the United States. This reflects the difficulties faced by advertisers in this testing political climate.