Monday Morning Ad Quarterback: The Best Ads of Super Bowl XLIX

February 1, 2015

super bowl ads 2015

The Super Bowl gives us a chance to see the season’s two best teams go head to head as we enjoy the company of friends and family while indulging in some of our favorite eats (buffalo wings and Leinies are the tradition at our house). However, many fans flock to the game to watch the other spectacle — the Super Bowl ads. With a price tag of $4.5 million, the “big game” takes on new meaning as it also provides an opportunity to see many of our biggest brands face off in a competition for the hearts and minds of the viewing public. 2015 was no exception.

The Best Super Bowl Ads of 2015

It’s been a long standing tradition here to do a Monday Morning Ad Quarterback post, recapping the winners and losers in marketing’s main event. As two of the central topics on this blog are branding and social media, we’ve selected our favorite ads around this criteria. This year we’ll have selections from our team as well as our extended community of bloggers. I’ll be joined by Dean Westergaard, Macy Koch, Meghann Foster, Angie Cottrell, Sarah MoyJordan Rose, Kary Delaria, and Sara O’Brien.

Those are the rules and players. Now let’s get started. Ready? BREAK!

Nick Westergaard: Loctite Glue – Positive Feelings

nick_headshot_2014-01“While marveling at the latest advertising feats from big brands like Coke, Budweiser, and Microsoft, it’s easy to forget that the other advantage of playing in the big game is gaining exposure to one of the largest captive audiences that traditional media still draws. If you’re a quirky brand looking to breakout this can be an attractive (and expensive) proposition. That’s why Loctite chose to put their adhesive glue on our radar. And they did so with a clever 30-second ad.

“Loctite’s ad wasn’t clever because of explosions, CGI, or star power. It was a good ad in the old-fashioned sense. It was set to a catchy jingle featuring repetitions of the product name (which I couldn’t stop singing) and a crowd of ‘unique’ dancers shaking their hips armed with fanny packs emblazoned with the logo. In addition to signing and dancing, these characters acted out vignettes of product use — fixing glasses, a brooch, etc. Again, nothing fancy. But I remember the product (thanks to the name and logo repetitions) and what it does. This memorable play puts the 52-year old company on a bigger stage. And that’s what advertising in the big game is all about.”

Macy Koch: Fiat – Blue Pill


“My selection for the winning Super Bowl commercial is the Fiat blue pill ad. Of all the commercials, this one stopped our viewing party with guesses of ‘whose commercial is this?’ drawing the most attention and laughs of the game. The online conversation also had viewers laughing as parents shared funny quotes from kids not knowing the magic of the little blue pill. When the game is full of auto ads, it’s a success to see a brand stand out among the vehicle crowd.”

Dean Westergaard: No More

color-dean“Overall, I thought it was an above average year.  It was a big year for cars — The Nissan ‘Dad’ commercial with The Cat’s In The Cradle background was very good, as was The Toyota Camry spot with Amy Purdy. However, the Fiat, ‘Viagra For Cars’ may have stolen the category.  Carnival hit the mark with the JFK narrative and ‘Come Back To The Sea.’  Skittles ‘One Lemon Left’ was entertaining.  But the spot of the night that made everyone pay attention was the Domestic Violence PSA and the 911 call.  It stayed with you long after the spot was over, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Kary Delaria: Avocados from Mexico – #FirstDraftEver

kary delaria big“This series of ads brought some humor to the mix of tearjerker puppy and daddy ads and the thing that impressed me most was the unsuspecting product. Avocados. And not just ANY avocados – Avocados From Mexico. They used one of the largest television audiences of the year to give brand recognition to an otherwise ordinary piece of produce.

“Keeping with the sprit of the game, #FirstDraftEver appealed to the common interest of the audience, combining the television spots with a contest on Twitter and Facebook – with each spot, a new prize (as well as some pretty clever posts throughout). It was a strategy that aimed to keep the audience engaged even if the game fell short.

“I’ll be looking forward to post-game results on this one. One thing’s for sure – I’ll think of this campaign and the ‘Avocados From Mexico’ jingle when eyeing avocados in the grocery store for years to come.”

Sarah Moy: Newcastle – Band of Brands

sarah moy.001“Newcastle’s Band of Brands ad stood out from the standard fare this year. Funny and ironic, it starts out innocently enough, but rapidly escalates to a frantic rush to mention all 37 brands before time runs out. Combined with Aubrey Plaza’s sarcastic spot and even last year’s ‘non-Super Bowl’ ad with Anna Kendrick, Newcastle elevates a 60-second spot to a year-long campaign while keeping it fresh and on brand.”

Meghann Foster: Always – Like a Girl

color-meghann“Beyond one specific ad, I was pleased to see fewer spots this year catering to the male gaze. Many of the ads this evening contained well-rounded narratives featuring women. While there is still much work to do on this front, it’s nice to see that advertisers are maybe getting the message that women watch football too and are an important demographic to target beyond serving pizza rolls.

“I think the standout spot that best highlights this point would be the Always ad. In an evening that glorifies and celebrates male athletes, it was wonderful to see this narrative knocking down stereotypes of female athleticism.”

Sara O’Brien: Weight Watchers – All You Can Eat

sara o brien big“While not necessarily giving us a laugh, it gave us a reality check. As we stuffed our Super Bowl feasts in and have started to leave our New Year’s Resolutions behind, Weight Watchers reminded us of what other ads and coupons are pushing us to buy more and larger. I sure put down my piece of pizza for a bit, but the ad was still in my mind at the end of the game, which means it made an impact and the message was there whether or not you are seeking Weight Watchers or not.”

Jordan Rose: Budweiser – Brewed the Hard Way

color-jordan“Props this year go to Budweiser’s ‘Brewed the Hard Way.’ With all of the hype surrounding craft and micro brews, I enjoyed the way Budweiser owned their brand – and even poked a little fun at the pumpkin peach ale lovers. Budweiser focused on the brand’s longevity and what they do offer for their golden sud-loving customers. No excuses. Definitely entertaining and a fresh take on the macro brew.”

Angie Cottrell: The Tearjearkers! All of Them!

color-angie“The tears won it for me. The snowstorm kept us from our usual Super Bowl party and I watched it for the first time in my PJs snuggling with my family so all of the heart-tugging commercials had even more of an impact. I think someone in my family was tearing up the entire first half — Nissan, Toyota, Dove Men, Budweiser, Always, and McDonalds. While there was great brand awareness, in the end I wanted to get a dog, call my mom and tell her I love her, and be thankful I had a dad who was always around. But next time I’m at Target I’ll be buying Dove Men for the Daddy in my household.”

What Do You Think?

Those are our picks. What’s your ruling on this year’s ads? What insights have you heard around the water cooler? What’s the social buzz? Remember, you can view all of this year’s Super Bowl ads on the official AdBlitz YouTube channel.

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.