Creating commercials for the Super Bowl is always tough. The need to stand out, make a splash and be remembered naturally conflicts with the high-stakes nature of the event.
This explains the yearly default to a short list of themes that always test well with consumers and clients alike: babies, animals, slapstick and iconic music, especially ’70s classic rock.
The lineup for Super Bowl XLVII was no different, but like every year, some brands found new and compelling ways to tell their stories and innovative ways to deliver them.
Here are the top five of this years ads – commercials that lived up to their presence on the world’s biggest advertising stage.
(See also: The 5 Worst Commericals Of Super Bowl 2013)
5. Pizza Hut: “Hut Hut Hut”
It’s never easy to incorporate the name of the brand into the fabric of an ad; it’s even tougher to tie the name to the programming. On the chain’s biggest sales day of the year, this gem from Pizza Hut evokes an authentic love of football even as it delivers name repetition at astounding levels. Brilliantly executed, this spot is entertaining, rewarding and unlike many so-called “big ideas,” the branding is such a large part of the execution that it works only as a Pizza Hut commercial.
4. Volkswagen: Get in. Get Happy.
If you’re not going to tell me about the product, you had better make me feel good about the company. Volkswagen has mastered this over the last few Super Bowls. This year’s offering eschews the sentimentality of past efforts and goes for the smile – and a great big Rastafarian smile it is. Set against the dreary backdrop of a featureless office, you have to love the office drone from Minnesota who spreads the happiness he gets from his VW in a pitch-perfect Jamaican accent. More than any other spot this year, the accent is most likely to become part of the vernacular, with millions of people potentially doing their best Bob Marley in the coming days. “Whassup” anyone?
3. Dodge Ram: “Farmer”
Chrysler has done it again. After last year’s quasi-political tribute to America and the previous – and wonderful – “Imported from Detroit,” the Dodge Ram gets a two-minute spot whose simplicity and sheer emotional impact prove that less can indeed be more. Using a monologue from mid-20th-Century radio icon Paul Harvey and stark rural images, this tribute to America’s farmers works on every level. Emotionally charged, inspirational, tinged with sadness, this spot commands your complete attention and holds it for a full two minutes. Harvey’s simple words hit home and the simple images images resonate deeply. This will be the king of the water cooler.
2. Taco Bell: ‘Viva Young”
Basically a mash-up of the hundreds of lifestyle spots Taco Bell has done in the past, with a simple and delightful twist – the cast is all in their 70s and 80s. The ‘kids” bust out of their nursing home for a night of partying – tattoos, wild driving, beady stares from the cops… and tacos. Kudos as well for the Spanish-language music. If you can make a 75-year-old look good eating fast-food, you’re doing everything right.
1. Tide: Miracle Stain
Hats off to Procter & Gamble’s Tide for a spot that shows even packaged goods can be relevant. This smart spot had the audience involved for weeks before the game, and made great use of second-screen via social media during the blackout and immediately after the spot ran. The fact that the Miracle Stain was a likeness of 49er great Joe Montana made it even sweeter as the spot ran durng the ‘Niners comeback. Kudos as well for producing two versions of the spot so the correct teams would be represented.
Which spots did you like the most? Let us know in the comments.