2016 Super Bowl Ads: A Commentary

By: Calli Roberts  | 02/09/2016

Super Bowl ads are coveted 30- to 60-second commercials that all brands dream of producing. But, how can you be sure you can capture and engage your target audience in that short amount of time?  Is your messaging clear?  Do you pull at consumers’ emotions? Are you funny?  With millions of viewers tuning in, not to mention the dollars at stake, the pressure is on.

Every year, the Cleveland American Marketing Association (AMA) hosts a Super Bowl ad review the Monday after the Super Bowl. And, last night, we were lucky enough to attend the festivities!  The rules are simple: 

  • The top 16 ads are decided and put into a bracket, a la March Madness
  • We, the attendees, watch two ads competing against each other
  • The audience and panelists comment and vote
  • We continue until we get down to the final ad

The banter is fun and lively, and the event is extremely interactive. This year, the bracket was: 

The ”Final Four” consisted of:

  1. Heinz: I loved this commercial. The music, the wiener dogs running in a field dressed up as hot dogs, the ketchup bottles. This commercial ranked #2 overall on the ad meter*.

  2. Honda: I think Honda could have done a better job highlighting the brand earlier in the commercial, but I think the product features resonate with truck owners.

  3. Jeep: I liked the black and white treatment and thought the gallery of images was different. The music and the messaging of “We don’t make Jeep. You do.” was powerful. However, I feel Jeep does the same commercial every year.

  4. Norton Furniture:  I believe I was the only person at the event who didn’t think this commercial was hilarious. Maybe it is because I’ve never seen a Norton Furniture commercial before, but I just didn’t get it…plus, the low production quality doesn’t belong in the Super Bowl.

After fierce debate, the top two commencials came down to Honda and Heinz. And the best commercial overall was…Heinz!

The commercials that I felt were missing from the bracket:

Michelob Ultra Commercial: It got rated #54 on the ad meter, but I felt this ad did a great job highlighting their product feature (a low-calorie beer) by targeting athletes and health conscious consumers.

Subaru: A golden retriever driving a car and the puppy in the back. This ad didn’t necessarily show any features of the car, but it kept my attention…puppies are always a safe bet.

Mountain Dew: #puppymonkeybaby might have been strange, but it gave people something to talk about. During the Super Bowl, the twitter hashtag ratings were: (1) #superbowl, (2) #coldplay, (3) #coldplaysucks, (4) #puppymonkeybaby. This highly caffeinated energy drink is targeting teens, who are notorious users of social media, so this worked.

Make sure to check out the Cleveland AMA’s website next year to register for this great event!  You won't be sorry!

What did you think of the Super Bowl ads this year?  Sound off in the comments below!

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