Tide, Super Bowl Campaign; NFL, “Dirty Dancing”

“It’s hard to ignore the effort put forth by Saatchi & Saatchi New York in promoting Tide. It began with a 45-second establishing spot in the first quarter that suggested all Super Bowl commercials could be about the product – then followed up with 15-second ads in each subsequent quarter that made us think perhaps the claim was true. Very fresh, indeed.

“Despite my admiration for the Tide-a-thon, my top accolades go to the NFL parody of ‘Dirty Dancing,’ featuring Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. It was the only spot that make me literally LOL. In an era when pro football is being politicized and criticized, I doubt that the commercial will generate any change in attitude about the sport. But it’s a relief to take a break from all of the heavy issues for a moment just to laugh, eat nachos and yell for a new Super Bowl champ.”
Barb Ruser
Senior Vice President, Creative Services

Febreze, “Bleep Don’t Stink”

“I usually hate scatological humor, but this concept highlights and communicates the product benefit so well, and the acting is so terrific (I love the proud mom in pearls and the forlorn school janitor), that it’s easily my favorite this year.”
Mark Carpenter
Executive Vice President, Creative Strategy

Sprint, “Evelyn”

“While I think most of the Super Bowl spots could’ve used a shot of Febreze, a few had redeeming qualities that passed my critical assessment. The Sprint artificial intelligence commercial was unique, attention-getting and humorous and got the point across. When a robot tells you that ‘you have a dumb face’ and the other robots all start laughing, you can’t help but join in. And the human’s reason for switching – because his co-workers made fun of him – tied it together nicely.”
Greg Ahrens
Executive Vice President, Co-Creative Director

Amazon, “Alexa Loses Her Voice”

“It was hilarious, but still displayed the different functionalities Alexa can do (look up recipes or information, adjust lights, play music). Incorporating popular talent that appealed to several generations and audiences was smart. The same people may not know who Cardi B, Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Hopkins and Rebel Wilson are – even though they should – but everyone probably recognized at least one person. Having so many big talents like that made Alexa seem like the must-have thing, so it was a great step toward Amazon’s positioning of the product as an integral part of life. Also, Jeff Bezos’ cameo was cool; I’m glad he made the time for it.”
Sara Wilson
Vice President, Account Services and Public Relations

“Alexa. Loved it from start to ‘Jessica.'”
Joleen David

PepsiCo, “Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice”

“You had me at Peter Dinklage lip-syncing Busta Rhymes … but then out of left field comes the great voice-over king himself, Morgan Freeman, lip-syncing a rap instead of using that iconic voice to fuel yet another commercial.

“When it comes to judging what makes a great Super Bowl commercial, I tend to throw out conventional advertising wisdom – because let’s face it, these ads are created mainly for a single run and it’s all about the entertainment factor and resulting ‘buzz’ generated from that one ad (see the widely talked about and criticized Puppy-Monkey-Baby commercial from a couple years ago that generated great sales results). So while I used to fall into the trap of being highly critical on whether it was on brand, strategy or displayed product benefits, I’ve succumbed to focusing on a different set of criteria for the Big Game ads: Is it clever, unique and fun? Does it make you want to talk about it the next day? In other words, is it entertaining?

“Admittedly, I am biased, being a hip-hop fan for years, and while I’m sure it didn’t resonate with some hip-hop haters, my gut tells me it caught the attention and praise of their core audience, which I’d put in the 18-35 demographic (fans of ‘Game of Thrones,’ hip-hop and lip-sync battle shows). It’s also not often you see two major brands teaming up in a Super Bowl spot and have those products feel like such a natural fit. While they’re both owned by PepsiCo, in the age of spending millions on TV production and media buys for a spot, getting two products featured for the price of one is an added bonus. Well played, PepsiCo.”
Sean Campbell
Vice President, Business Development and Research

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