StrategyAcquisitionSuper Bowl ad preview… superlatives edition!

Super Bowl ad preview... superlatives edition!

The Super Bowl is one of the year’s most competitive events, so why not make the ad preview into a competition, too? Here are ClickZ‘s 10 awards, yearbook-style.

With just under a week to the Super Bowl, it’s time for ClickZ‘s annual ad preview. Looking back at last year’s, we’re realizing how it was… well, pretty boring.

Super Bowl 50 advertisers include a lot of the old standbys – Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Toyota – and the largest number of newcomers since 2000. Rather than just list them all, we decided to make it competitive, in the spirit of the upcoming competition between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

Of all the first-time Super Bowl advertisers, which one seems to be the one doing the best job? Lots of ads have celebrities; who secured the creepiest star? Keep reading and let us know what you think of our selections in the comments!

Most exciting newcomer: Amazon

Amazon has proven itself unstoppable in all other aspects of digital marketing, so why not try to dominate Super Bowl advertising, too? Its first Big Game ad will be promoting the Echo, the smart speaker powered by voice assistant Alexa.

In the teasers, Alec Baldwin demonstrates how Alexa basically can do everything, like know how to make a snack stadium and order 60 wheels of pecorino cheese. Brie is too soft to make into a cheese football and there won’t be any soft footballs on Baldwin’s watch. Burn, New England Patriots.

Most meaningful: Colgate

Super Bowl ads are a carnival of consumerism, but advertisers sometimes add a philanthropic twist to their sales pitches. Colgate, another new advertiser, fits into that category, repurposing a 2014 South American campaign to highlight how much water we waste during every toothbrushing.

It’s about four gallons, which is more than many people around the world have in a week. This point is illustrated by hands appearing under the consistently-running faucet to wash a dirty piece of fruit, fill a bowl, take a drink. The call-to-action is an easy one: turn off the faucet while you’re brushing.

Most likely to drive immediate ROI: Taco Bell


Taco Bell returns to the Super Bowl for the first time in three years to announce a new menu item. Rather than release teasers like everyone else, Taco Bell put out a hilarious press release full of blacked-out words.

The fast food chain has yet to offer any clues about this menu item, except that it’s “the biggest food creation yet.” Whatever it is, a lot of people will see that announcement and probably order it ASAP from the Taco Bell app. I’ll bet a lot already have; the mystery item is available for pre-order.


Most likely to cause nightmares: Kia

Kia’s ad is going to be all about standing out and not blending into the background. When a man in a beige suit is looking for his beige socks, his wife suggests checking their walk-in closet.

Except it’s actually a “Walken Closet,” filled with an endless supply of beige suits and also, Christopher Walken sitting in an armchair. It’s unclear where the Korean automaker is going with this, but I can think of few things more terrifying than Christopher Walken hiding in my closet.

Most likely to offend people: Snickers

Snickers is known for incorporating offbeat celebrities into its Super Bowl ads, such as last year’s with Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi, my personal favorite from Super Bowl XLIX. This year, Snickers is celebrating the Super Bowl’s 50th birthday with Willem Dafoe.

In the teaser, a ballgown-clad Dafoe sings “Happy birthday” to the Big Game a la Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps this is part of the “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” campaign, and when Marilyn is hungry, she becomes a 60-year-old man who sings like a bullfrog. There’s a gender-related thinkpiece in there somewhere, and all the writers at Salon have probably already drawn straws to see who gets to write it.

Most bizarre angle: Quicken Loans

Super Bowl ads have become increasingly popular among financial brands, and Quicken Loans is jumping in for the first time this year. The Detroit-based lender aims its ad at millennials, promoting Rocket Mortgage, a new website designed to make the home-buying process much easier and more user-friendly.

Quicken Loans poses a question: “If you could get a mortgage on your phone and if it can be that easy, wouldn’t more people buy homes?” Not really, actually. Unless…Rocket Mortgage is also giving out lots of money?

Most bizarre, in general: Avocados From Mexico

In this spot, which may be my favorite this year, an alien gives a tour of the Museum of Earthly Wonders. Highlights include the alphabet (an emoji chart), a 21st Century torture device (an airplane) and Scott Baio (sure, why not?)

The tour concludes as all tours should: with a table full of chips and guac. Mexican avocados are always in season, so you can enjoy them during any time of the year, in any galaxy. It’s a clever, witty ad, if a little totally weird.

Most likely to win the Doritos contest: “Ultrasound”

For the last 10 years, Doritos has allowed the general public to create its Super Bowl ads. The final “Crash the Super Bowl” contest is down to three finalists: one about swiping right for the woman who has a bag of Doritos, one about dogs sneaking into a grocery store to buy Doritos, and the one I voted for twice.

A man eats Doritos at an ultrasound appointment while his wife is like, “…really? Here?” As he puts a chip closer to her stomach, you can see the baby on the sonogram trying to grab it. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the baby decides it’s time to be born. I’m not alone in thinking this is the funniest, most clever submission: it’s leading the others in YouTube views by more than double.

Most timely: TurboTax

TurboTax is another financial service in the mix, but its message makes far more sense than Quicken’s. Rather than use the Super Bowl to encourage homeownership, which is a bit of a stretch, TurboTax enlists renowned physicist Dr. Michio Kaku to let everyone know that filing your taxes is free.

It’s a good takeaway, especially when combined with TurboTax’s previous “Any idiot can do their own taxes” branding and given the time of year. This is when we’re all doing our taxes. Or, rather, this is when we would be doing our taxes if we got our W2 yet, ClickZ.

Most meta: Adobe

In a new Adobe ad, a CMO tells his new drinking buddy that he’s got a lot riding on the Super Bowl – namely, $4 million of his employer’s money. The cream cheese commercial doesn’t go over well, though it may have been more of a success had he used Adobe Marketing Cloud?

“The Gambler” isn’t actually running during the Super Bowl, but it certainly speaks to all the brands who are. Well done, Adobe.


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