The winners and losers of the Super Bowl 2019

Gemma Parry, Head of Content at Pead PR

February 2019

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It’s that time of year again where, for many of us, the ads are the highlight of the Super Bowl. If you’re anything like me, you don’t even know who is playing and you’re not ashamed to say you don’t really care.

With Super Bowl ads being the phenomenon that they are, it’s a ripe opportunity for brands to go all out and steal the show. And while some did exactly that, others left us wondering why they even bothered.

THE WINNERS

Best All-Star Cast

Pepsi, ‘More Than OK'

Steve Carrell, Cardi B and Lil Jon. What more could you want from a Super Bowl ad? Goodby Silverstein & Partners took Pepsi’s awkward, ‘not-quite-coke’ positioning and made it something glorious. Playing to its strengths as a challenger brand, this ad left us laughing and wanting more.

 

Best Female Lead

Bumble ‘The Ball is in Her Court’

After Nike released two powerful Serena Williams ads last year, this one could have fallen a bit flat. But it didn’t. The messaging is strong and the ad is captivating the whole way through. A perfect alignment for the brand with a light touch at the end.

 

Best Surprise

Olay ‘Killer Skin’

Gone are the beautiful women smiling to the camera and talking about their perfect skin. Saatchi & Saatchi went down the nostalgia route, modernised it and weaved in some key product messaging to give us a fun and unique skincare ad that we just weren’t expecting. This is a great example of tapping into the fond memories that many of Olay’s customers will have for Sarah Michelle Gellar’s slayer blockbusters of the late 1990s.

 

Best in Class

Game of Thrones x Bud Light

This ad is pure genius and a partnership most of us could only dream of. And when you think about it, this collaboration is a no-brainer. Bud Light and Wieden + Kennedy New York have been using Bud Knight and his Game of Thrones inspired Kingdom since 2017. And with the long-awaited and much-anticipated final season airing in April, it’s a match made in King’s Landing.

From the witty and quirky intro (that is uniquely Bud Light) to the moment we hear the music switch to the iconic Game of Thrones theme song; this ad delivers all the humour and excitement you could ask for in a minute and a half.

 

LOSERS

Least Memorable Ad

Norwegian Cruise Line ‘Feel Free’

With so much hype around the Super Bowl ads, the worst thing you can do is repurpose your boring TVC that has no emotion, humour or storyline. And it seems that’s exactly what Norwegian Cruise Lines did. This one blends into the background among the many engaging ads played during America’s biggest night in Television. Does anyone remember this ad? Probably not.

 

Most Boring Use of Stereotypes

T-Mobile ‘We’ll Keep This Brief’

Perhaps it’s the feminist in me but these two T-Mobile ads just do not resonate. It may not be as bad as Sprite’s brutally sexist ad campaign, but playing on the boring stereotypes of women being indecisive and overly emotional is a bit naff for 2019. Not to mention lazy. There is a certain level of humour we have come to expect from Super Bowl ads, and this just doesn’t hit the mark.

 

Biggest Waste of Money

Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer ‘The Pitch’

What did I just watch? There was no storyline, no humour and no sense. Enough said.

 

Failed attempt at relatability

Yellow Tail ‘Tastes Like Happy’

This could have been a good ad, but the execution just isn’t there. I can see what they are trying to do, but with so much product placement, I don’t think they have quite got the idea of subtlety. The combination of ‘real life’ content with commercial brand footage just makes it feel a bit too contrived.