Last Sunday, about 1.35 billion chicken wings, 4 million pizzas and 50 million crates of beer were consumed all over the United States, and it all had to do with one (small or very big) single gathering. I’m talking about the most viewed sports event of all time, I’m talking Super Bowl. The 111 million viewers and sports lovers enjoyed the battle between the New England Patriots & the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Super Bowl was equally exciting for the entertainment lovers amongst them, not only because of the spectacular halftime show, owned (big time!) by the one & only Justin Timberlake, but also because Super Bowl times also equal the battle of the best brands out there, paying about 5 million dollars to broadcast their 30-sec or 1-min commercials, to win over the attention of the massive crowd.
It goes without saying that this year it was all about bringing back humor, nostalgia and celebrities – rather than politics. So, apart from the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles won, who else did in my opinion?
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Budweiser – “Stand by you”
Let’s kick off with an indispensable brand during Super Bowl: Budweiser. As one of the few brands that appealed to emotions this year by highlighting their efforts for a good environment, they managed to catch my attention. The ad focuses on the company’s clean water initiative in the wake of recent natural disasters in California, Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. Over the past three decades, AB InBev has provided more than 79 million cans of drinking water in response to natural disasters – as the ad states: “Whenever you need us, we’ll stand by you”. Using one of my favorite songs, they’re dreaming of a better world, just like the Next Generation does. Nothing but good vibes to start with.
NFL – Touchdown celebrations to come
Going from dreaming of a better world, to already dreaming of the next American football season, there’s NFL’s contribution. This year, they did not use Super Bowl babies in their annual commercial, but their own football players. The spot – starring Eli Manning & Odell Beckmann Jr. of the NY Giants – simply shows how the Super Bowl, for most teams, means the exciting start of the next season. A season that has now officially started with some Dirty Dancing vibes (and the famous lift at the end). All for one purpose: for all the touchdowns to come.
Australia tourism – Crocodile Dundee reboot
And while everyone was excited about the reboot of the 1986 movie Crocodile Dundee starring Chris Hemsworth & Danny McBride, the commercial shown in the second quarter of the Super Bowl of Sunday’s Super Bowl proved otherwise. By adding a short last scene to the so-called movie trailer, all became clear. To say it in Chris & Danny’s words: “This isn’t a movie – it’s a tourism ad for Australia; You’re the best Crocodile Dundee since Crocodile Dundee. And we had the best trip ever, didn’t we?” Daring, yet again well-played. With the commercial that’s playing the nostalgia card big time, Australia’s tourism officials are hoping to attract visitors from the US. Let’s hope they’ve succeeded (and did not just disappoint any Crocodile Dundee or Chris Hemsworth fans ?).
Amazon – Alexa loses her voice
Not calling in any nostalgia or dreaming of a better world or football season, Amazon simply called in some celebrities. Being my second favorite 2018 Super Bowl ad, this 90-second video just works. With a simple yet funny storyline: Alexa loses her voice – but don’t worry, there are plenty of celebrities to fill in for her: who wouldn’t want to get cooking tips from Gordon Ramsey, background music from Cardi B or Rebel Wilson setting the mood? The ad even features Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO. Well played, Amazon, especially in times where commercials and brands are perceived as more authentic and trustworthy when featuring the real people behind the brand. In the end Alexa takes over again, but for now: enjoy your famous personal assistants for 30 seconds ?.
Tide – It’s a Tide ad
Last but not least, Tide is by far my personal favorite of this year’s Super Bowl commercial battle (and not only mine I guess). What did they do? They used typical Super Bowl ads, made fun of them and basically turned all the attention on themselves. Like a boss. With the help of actor David Harbour, Tide just hijacked some classic ads about different products (from Old Spice over diamonds to Budweiser), with 1 constant factor: across all ads, there are no stains on anyone’s clothing. That basically makes every Super Bowl ad a Tide ad – because to use their own words: “If it’s clean, it must be Tide”.
In short, this year’s Super Bowl commercial strategy was all about clever, nostalgic yet funny approaches. Works for me yet again. Already looking forward to next year’s!