From beer and cars to candy bars, Super Bowl 50’s commercials were filled with celebrities, hashtags and special effects. With a captivated audience of 112 million viewers, a wide variety of companies coughed up nearly $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Here are our favorite four takeaways from the big game this year.
Disturbing = Memorable
Mountain Dew’s PuppyMonkeyBaby commercial proved that a creepy and bizarre take on advertising can be a great way to stand out. Probably the most polarizing ad of the 2016 Super Bowl, the commercial for Mountain Dew’s Kickstart energy drink is hard to forget. Hopefully the combination of dew, juice and caffeine is a tad less frightening. Many companies are afraid to get offbeat and weird, but playing it safe may not generate the buzz you are looking for.
Fight Stereotypes with Humor & Self-Awareness
With its bank robber police chase ads, Toyota made the interesting choice of focusing on the Prius’ weaknesses instead of its strengths. While previous Prius ads promoted the car’s great gas mileage and environmental benefits, Toyota’s Super Bowl ads playfully addressed the car’s wimpy and feminine reputation.
Deep down, I think most people know that Priuses are powerful and fast enough for the average driver, but perhaps this ad campaign will embolden a few more manly, wannabe bank robbers to pull the trigger.
Know Your Setting–And Your Audience
As millions of Super Bowl viewers chowed down on nachos, pizza and chicken wings, Xifaxan, Jublia and OIC Is Different jumped at the chance to bring attention to constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and toe fungus. While Xifaxan’s pink intestine sports fan was kind of cute, these three ads seemed out of place. People watch the Super Bowl to enjoy themselves and eat greasy snack food–not to contemplate their nagging health issues.
The Little Guys Can Still Win Big
With most of the Super Bowl ad space taken up by giant corporations with money to burn, the overall strategy was more about brand legacy than introducing new products. A sidesplitting Bud Light or Butterfingers commercial doesn’t affect my buying decisions any more than a painfully unfunny one does.
But for a little known company like Death Wish Coffee, the payoff is huge. The winner of Intuit’s small business contest, Death Wish’s entertaining Viking ad and attention-grabbing product guarantee a massive year for the company. Does our society really need more caffeine? Probably not. Would I like to try “the world’s strongest coffee?” Sign me up!
Although there were many memorable moments, these are our favorite four lasting memories. And of course these are in addition to a little heartburn the next day!