NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 — and there were clear winners and losers off the field, too.
Advertisers pulled out all the stops to woo the 114 million-plus viewers during the Big Game. With 30-second ads costing up $5 million, it’s a huge gamble to advertise during the game. Here are the winners whose gamble paid off, and losers who dropped the ball.
In Audi’s spot, a depressed aging astronaut is reminded of his joy for life by driving an Audi sports car with his son to David Bowie’s “Starman.” Super Bowl watcher Raj Nijjer, from Scottsdale, Ariz., said the ad went over well at the bar where he was watching the game. “Every guy in the bar had a smile on their face,” he said.
Axe “Find Your Magic”
Axe left previously juvenile ads behind with a spot that urged teens to “Find Your Magic” and celebrate uniqueness and diversity rather than the traditional tropes of masculinity.
Bud Light “Bud Light Party”
Capitalizing on election year buzz, Bud Light enlisted Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan to canvass America to promote “The Bud Light Party.” A cameo by Paul Rudd added to the fun.
Heinz “Weiner Stampede”
Budweiser disappointed some by retiring the puppies it featured in ads the past three years, but Heinz picked up the slack. Its ad showed dachshunds dressed like hot dogs frolicking in a field to the tune of Harry Nilsson’s “Without You.”
Mountain Dew “Puppymonkeybaby”
Love it or hate it, Mountain Dew’s bizarre ad showing a creature that was part puppy, part monkey and part baby was one of the most talked about spots of the evening.
Three pharmaceutical ads struck a jarring tone with viewers. One promoted an anti-diarrhea medication Xifaxan and showed a small-intestines mascot trying to watch a football game. Another sought to raise awareness about “opioid-induced constipation.” A third tackled toe fungus.
“Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong subject,” Kelly O’Keefe, a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said of the constipation ad.
In first time advertiser Henkel’s commercial for its Persil ProClean detergent, a tuxedoed spokesman told us that Persil ProClean beat rival detergents in a test — a generic-feeling ad people have seen many, many times before.
First time advertiser Quicken Loans imagined a world where it’s as easy to get a loan on your smartphone as it is to buy music and plane tickets. “Push button, get mortgage,” copy reads. Some viewers took to Twitter to complain the ad reminded them a little too much of the 2008 financial housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis.
The tourist destination created an ad that showed historical events going in reverse to illustrate the idea that American history started with Colonial Williamsburg. Some viewers were offended that one of the events going in reverse was the collapse of the twin towers on September 11.