5 Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials, Picked by Philly Ad Agency

That puppy-monkey-baby is still haunting our dreams.

Which Super Bowl commercials were a hit and which ones were just lame and bizarre?

Which Super Bowl commercials were a hit and which ones were just lame and bizarre?

The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers weren’t the only ones fighting for supremacy on Super Bowl Sunday. Advertisers were battling for the top spot, too. With a $5 million price tag on a 30-second commercial, the stakes were high. Did advertisers take advantage of the 115 million people watching, or did they waste their money? Here are the spots that scored, and the ones that dropped the ball.

THE WINNERS

Doritos “Ultrasound”

The biggest laugh of the night.

Doritos has been crowd-sourcing its Super Bowl spots for over a decade with great success. Usually the winning idea is a great concept, but often lacks the production value of other commercials because they’re written, directed and shot by ordinary people. But not this one. Not only was the idea great, but it was also executed perfectly.

Hyundai “The Chase”

These animals spoke to me.

There were talking dogs, singing sheep and some sort of dancing puppy-monkey-thing in Super Bowl 50. But no one used animals better than Hyundai. Not only did the bears highlight the product feature — the remote start — but the dialog between the bears had the room laughing.

The NFL “Super Bowl Babies”

Watch Denver’s population spike.

No matter what you think about the NFL as a company, it’s impact on America is undeniable. This spot showed its strength, in a lighthearted and fun way. The only thing I didn’t like about the spot was Philadelphia’s utter lack of championship babies. 

Audi’s “Commander”

Five stars for the four rings.

Maybe it was the timely use of the David Bowie track. Maybe it was because the car looks like a $115,000 piece of art. Or maybe it was the flawless production that went into executing this spot. But if you wanted to convey that driving a car can feel like flying a rocket ship, the Germans nailed it.

Jeep “Portraits”

Tops down. Thumbs up.

Clearly the car brands were the big winners last night. Subaru has done a great job lately capturing what it “feels” like to own a Subaru. Jeep is following Subaru’s road map. The black and white portraits and perfectly delivered voice over told people where the brand has been, and what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a national treasure.

THE LOSERS

Mountain Dew “Puppymonkeybaby”

Part puppy. Part monkey. Part baby. All bizarre.

Mountain Dew has a long history of running weird Super Bowl commercials. Some don’t always work for the masses, but do appeal to a younger, lets-drink-200mg-of-caffeine-for-breakfast demographic. This one, however, wasn’t just strange. It was downright disturbing.

Opioid Induced Constipation “Envy”

This ad left me with a funny feeling.

There can’t possibly be enough people with opioid-induced constipation to warrant a 60-second commercial during the Super Bowl. Can we all agree to leave the pharmaceutical ads where they belong — during the nightly news?

Skittles Steven Tyler

Left a bad taste in my mouth.

I love the Skittles campaign, so maybe ranking them in the bottom five is more about where their commercials used to be. But this spot really fell short. Having someone like Steven Tyler — who even though he now resembles a character from the Muppets — isn’t the guy to be pitching the chewy candies. Dream on, Steven.

T-Mobile “Steve Harvey”

If it felt familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it before.

Super Bowl commercials should feel special. Not like you’re watching TV at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday. This spot was little more than a recut of the same colored-ball campaign that’s been running for a month. I’ll give them credit for adding a Steve Harvey pop culture reference, but it felt desperate.

Persil “America’s #1 Rated”

Nothing can clean up this mess.

Do you remember that commercial for the detergent brand you’ve never heard of that totally cut through the clutter? Yeah, me neither.

Steve Merino is the executive creative director at ab+c Creative Intelligence, one of the region’s largest independent advertising agencies, ranked by Ad Age as one of the nation’s “Top Shops.” Follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

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