Super Bowl 50: Winners & Losers on the Big Stage

We know who won on the field, but who won the battle of the brands? Here’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50 advertisers.

“If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” -David Ogilvy

Portraits by Jeep for Super Bowl 50

Jeep’s ads, including Portraits, were on point.

Winners

  • Give A Damn, Budweiser: First, the King of Beers spent $5 million on a PSA condemning drinking and driving. 👍 Second, they featured none other than Dame Helen Mirren, who is known for portraying strong, frank women, and she didn’t mince words. Third, for every #GiveADamn mention, Budweiser donated $1 toward safe driving programs. Drinking & driving is a serious problem, and the ad’s timing was perfect.
  • Ultrasound, Doritos: This ad held our attention, featured the product prominently and made us crave Doritos! It makes sense for a snack brand to advertise during the big game, and this year concluded the company’s strong 10-year run of crowdsourced commercials. Doritos crunched its way to being the second most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game.

  • Portraits & 4x4ever, Jeep: The auto manufacturer scored twice this year. Portraits grabbed our attention with black and white images of Jeep owners that looked like they were captured on a (vertical) smartphone. More importantly, the brand spoke to its core audience in both spots, recognizing that Jeep owners crave experiences and live an adventurous, off-road lifestyle. “We don’t make Jeep. You do.”
  • The Longest Chase, Toyota: “Wait. Is this a Prius?”  Toyota wanted to convey that the all-new 2016 Prius isn’t just a comfortable ride. How do you do that in a fun, entertaining way? Have four buddies rob a bank, have their getaway car towed and outrun police on a wild, multistate chase. Speed, handling, gas mileage, spacious interior… #GoPriusGo
  • Storm’s a-Brewin’, Death Wish Coffee: The self-proclaimed maker of the strongest coffee in the world won this year’s Small Business, Big Game contest by Intuit, and its spot didn’t disappoint. Vikings? A raging storm? A day of reckoning? On brand for a company that uses a skull and crossbones in its logo. Two thumbs up for the prominent product and website placement at the end.

Honorable Mention

  • Esurance: You may have noticed that the online auto insurance company only advertised during the pre-game (when price tags are a little lower). So how did it steal the show? By enticing Twitter users to retweet its brand-appropriate tweets to enter to win big $$. Esurance was the most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game (835,101 tweets — 4x that of #2, per Amobee Brand Intelligence) and even trended on Facebook — with a Twitter contest.

Losers

  • #puppymonkeybaby, Mountain Dew: This bizarre ad reinforced that all publicity is not good publicity. Yes, people were talking about it, but most of it wasn’t good. We love puppies, monkeys and babies, but combining them doesn’t excite us — or make us want to drink MTN DEW Kickstart. After this commercial, we’re staying as far away from it as possible.

  • A New Truck to Love, Honda: Don’t get us wrong; we love Queen. But be honest: Did you actually remember which company ran this ad? Or were you just singing along to a great song? So were we, but that’s tough to justify the hefty price tag ($10 mil?).

  • Breathe, Michelob Ultra: Was it just us or were you a little confused by this spot too? We get that Michelob Ultra targets athletic and fit people, not your stereotypical beer drinkers, but there had to be a better way to show that — and drop $5 million.
  • What We Were Thinking, Quicken Loans: We’re all about technology making things easier but should applying for a mortgage be that easy? Maybe the biggest purchase of your life shouldn’t be done while waiting for your food at a restaurant. This commercial seemed to imply that an app could fix our economy overnight, which seems ridiculous. Let’s not #RocketMortgage our way into another recession.
  • Great Loans for Great People, SoFi: We touched on startup SoFi heading to the big game previously. While admirable, we’re not sure that its ad was the best way to spend 20% of its annual marketing budget. The company’s looking for a pretty specific customer, and the Super Bowl might not have been the best way to reach that market. We love fellow small businesses and startups (even ones with deep pockets), so we hope we’re wrong here.

That’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50. Congrats to the Broncos and every advertiser who sees a legit return on its investment. As a wise man once said, “if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.”

Join the Post Game Huddle

Do you agree with our advertising winners and losers?

Would you advertise during the Super Bowl if you had the budget?

Were you on social media during the game? What platform were you on the most?

Still craving Doritos (and Death Wish Coffee),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Super Bowl, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Movin’ on Up: Small Businesses Go to the Big Game

It all started with a groundbreaking company that just wanted to encourage more interest amongst girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Who could predict that Goldieblox would become the first small business to advertise during the Super Bowl?

GoldieBlox has changed the game.

GoldieBlox became the first small business to advertise in the Super Bowl in 2014.
Screenshot courtesy of Goldieblox.com.

In 2014, Intuit ran a contest to award one small business the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to advertise during the big game. GoldieBlox won the contest, won the Super Bowl audience over with a great ad and has been growing rapidly ever since.

Breaking Through Gender Stereotypes: Are We Making Progress?

This year, it’s Death Wish Coffee Company‘s turn. The self-proclaimed Home of the World’s Strongest Coffee has an incredible opportunity to reach millions around the world in 30 seconds. As big fans of good coffee and fellow small businesses, we hope Death Wish Coffee Company becomes a household name after OWN IT airs during Super Bowl 50.

Death Wish Coffee Co is the 2016 winner of Intuit's Small Business, Big Game contest!

Death Wish Coffee Company is hoping to make a big splash in the big game with OWN IT.
Screenshot courtesy of Intuit’s SmallBusinessBigGame.com.

With small businesses starting to make appearances during the big game, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that one is making the trip on its own. Alternative lender Social Finance, also known as SoFi, is dropping some serious cash — 20% of its annual budget — to introduce itself to the world.

Here’s the catch: like most startups, SoFi’s ideal customer is a specific niche market —  qualified millennials who want to refinance student loans as personal loans. The company began to expand its offerings to mortgages and some consumer loans last year and expected these areas to overtake refinanced student loans as its largest areas of business by the end of 2015.

Still, is it worth it? Will SoFi’s 30-second spot reach enough members of its target audience (either directly or indirectly) to achieve its goals? While SoFi has a much larger budget than most startups and small businesses, the company is still taking a huge gamble to introduce itself to the world. Plus, the financial sector hasn’t been a major player in Super Bowl advertising of late. Will SoFi win big or lose it all to one ad?

If you had the budget to advertise in the Super Bowl, would you? Would it be the best use of $5+ million dollars for your company? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know your decision in the comments below!

p.s. What are your Super Bowl 50 predictions — winning team and advertiser?

Super Bowl dreamin’,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about ads, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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