A recap of this year’s top Super Bowl ads

While many people were disheartened with the conclusion of Super Bowl 49, you might say it aligned perfectly with the sad nature of this year’s Super Bowl ads.

The general reaction to the $4 million-plus ad efforts commitments pitched this year was indifference or disappointment. However, this sentiment may have more to do with a shift in emotional appeal from the traditional humor approach to commercials depicting more sadness, anxiety and fear-inducing message strategies.

Rather than try to create a list of the top 5 best Super Bowl ads, here is a list of three ads that I found compelling or interesting from an analytical perspective:

1. FIAT 500X Super Bowl Commercial (The FIAT Blue Pill)

This FIAT ad was one of the few Super Bowl commercials that did draw laughs. As an Advertising instructor, I appreciate the tremendous use of metaphorical strategy. We had just finished discussing the use of metaphors and their powerful impact on advertising audiences, so it provided a great example in Monday-morning classes.

2. BMW electric car ad with Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric

This ad may not appear to be much on the surface, but it is one of my favorite 2015 Super Bowl commercials due to irony. I have been showing the roughly 90-second original “Today Show” Internet conversation between Couric and Gumbel in my advertising class for years. I use it as an introduction to our discussion of Digital/Interactive advertising to point out to our younger students that the Internet hasn’t been around forever.

3. Budweiser “Lost Dog”

Budweiser declares itself the “King of Beers,” but one could also argue it is the king of Super Bowl ads. This year’s iteration of the long-running clydesdale commercials tells the emotional story of a man, a horse and their lost dog. This ad experienced tremendous social media play as well under the hashtag #BestBuds.

2015 Super Bowl Commercials Recap

Much of the post-Super Bowl ad conversation centered on the disturbing and sad Nationwide commercial and the phenomenon that is “Dadvertisement.” What was certainly clear to me is a stark shift in the overall emotional scheme from all humor to more diverse emotional appeals. Of course, this year’s collection also had its share of sensual or risqué advertisements.

What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial this year? Post a comment and share your thoughts!

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Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller has been a Professor of Marketing at Des Moines Area Community College since 2004. Prior to teaching, he worked as a marketing specialist and retail manager. He holds an MBA from Iowa State University

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