This year’s Super Bowl ads featured celebrities galore and light humor, as marketers try their hardest to connect with viewers and entertain without offending.
Advertisers want to steer away from politics after a year of tumult. Many companies released ads online early in hopes of generating extra buzz since ads cost $5 million per 30 seconds. Just who are the 111 million viewers of the Super Bowl? According to Nielsen, the audience last year was almost evenly split between men and women — 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
But advertisers are again turning mostly to male celebrities. Charles R. Taylor, a professor of marketing at Villanova University, said his analysis of Super Bowl ads released in advance last week showed a roughly 2-1 ratio of male-female celebrities in principle roles — in line with past years.
An initial analysis by Amobee, a global marketing technology company, examined which ads were getting the most attention on Twitter. Among the top two were the trailer for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” followed by an attack ad by Wendy’s taking on rival McDonald’s. Also among the most-tweeted were Tide, Ram Trucks, Pepsi and the back-to-back Mountain Dew/Doritos ad featuring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman lip-synching to hip-hop.
Fans of WGN on Facebook also singled out an NFL ad that pays homage to Dirty Dancing, featuring Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr.
Here are some of the commercials that deputed during the Super Bowl:
“Solo” trailer gives first peek at new Star Wars story
Wendy’s calls out McDonald’s
Wendy’s took its ongoing Twitter snark against McDonald’s to the small screen. Its first quarter ad called out its rival for using frozen beef in most of its patties. Wendy got into it before the game started, tweeting at McDonald’s: “Who wants a Bread Mac?” That came minutes after McDonald’s aired an ad before kickoff.
Tide takes credit for all the ads
Tide seems to be getting positive reaction for its attempt to co-opt all other Super Bowl ads. In a spot that harked back to the “Energizer Bunny” of the 90s, the message is that anyone wearing clean clothes must be in a Tide ad.
Part of the fun for Super Bowl ad viewers is guessing which brand is behind the hokey jokes or inspirational messages before a commercial ends. Tide is playing on that game with a series of ads that give one answer: They’re all Tide ads!
First look at Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel provided one of the first extended trailers for the upcoming Infinity War, when the stars from Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the cinematic universe unite to battle the evil Thanos.
Fiat Chrysler invokes MLK
Fiat Chrysler is using the 50th anniversary of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech to sell trucks. King’s voice rings out as the ad for Ram Trucks shows a series of ordinary people in acts of love. In his speech, King called on people to show greatness through kindness and service. The point? Ram’s tagline: “Built To Serve.”
Ram Trucks is getting mixed reactions. Many Twitter users were put off by the use of an MLK speech to sell trucks. Others appreciated the sentiment.
Cindy Crawford reprised her role for Pepsi in a nostalgic spot celebrating pop culture moments of years past.
Dorito’s / Mountain Dew’s lip sync battle
Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman faced off in a hip-hop lip-sync battle using songs from Busta Rimes and Missy Elliott, who also appeared in the back-to-back ads for Dorito’s and Mountain Dew.
NFL players’ Dirty Dancing
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. draw inspiration from the classic film “Dirty Dancing” as they prepare their touchdown celebrations for next season in this tongue-in-cheek ad for the NFL that many fans of WGN said was their favorite of the Super Bowl.
Other commercials included:
- Bud Light’s medieval fighters return
- Bill Hader stacks Pringles
- Lexus gives Black Panther a ride
- Toyota touts Olympic and Paralympic sponsorship with Lauren Woolstencroft