Apparently Lady Gaga slayed it during the half time show (Time gives a great review), as did the advertising, which included two totally live commercial spots from brands Hyundai and Snickers.
And to put the game into context, Tom Brady, who is married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen, plays quarterback for the winning team, the New England Patriots. The losing team were the Atlanta Falcons. The score was 34-28 in the Patriots favour and this is Brady’s fifth Super Bowl win. The subtext was that the owner of the Patriots is a Trump supporter and the owner of the Falcons, a Hillary Clinton supporter. Some pundits called it a “political grudge match”.
But enough about the football. The Super Bowl is without a doubt a creative showcase of note, as brands spend millions, bringing in superstar movie directors like the Coen Brothers, leading actors and celebrities, comedians and social media swat teams to troll competitors.
Political issues raised weren’t just about the tangerine toddler in the White House and his insane litany of executive orders since becoming President, but also about social issues such as gender pay parity and the environment.
The Audi Super Bowl ad, by Venables Bell & Partners, questioned the hypocrisy of loving our daughters, but paying them less in the workplace. The payoff line was “Audi of America is committed to equal pay and equal work”.
The Budweiser ad, by Anomaly New York, which also generated a lot of chatter, documents the immigrant founder’s journey from Germany to the US, which has more context in the light of Trump’s #Muslimban and anti-immigration stance. According to The Atlantic, Budweiser denied it was making a political statement.
The most controversial ad was by a relatively unknown brand, a construction supplies firm, 84 Lumber, that made such a strong statement about immigration and refugees and Trump’s intended wall between the States and Mexico, that Fox channels banned it, accepting a version without the wall. According to reports, 84 Lumber’s site then crashed Sunday, as people tried to see the end of the ad, part 2, at Journey84.com. “The will to succeed is always welcome here” is the stark message. Here’s part 1:
84 Lumber Part 2 from Journey84.com:
Going strong with an acknowledged political statement was Airbnb, a fierce critic of Trump’s immigration policies, which portrayed diversity with different faces in its #weaccept commercial, with the strong message: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.
According to the New York Times, Airbnb used its Super Bowl ad to “highlight its commitment to provide short-term housing for 100,000 people in need over the next five years, including for refugees, victims of natural disasters and aid workers. The company has also committed to donate $4 million over the next four years to the International Rescue Committee, a group that helps displaced people around the world.”
Coca-Cola simply showed the diversity and multiculturalism of America in its ‘It’s beautiful’ ad, with the soundtrack ‘America the beautiful’ sung in many different languages and a payoff line that said “Together we are beautiful”. It was first aired at the 2014 Super Bowl and at the 2016 Olympics. But of course, is even more relevant in Trump’s America. Mic drop.
The weirdest Super Bowl ad award must go to the Avocados from Mexico, who were back this year with a secret society extolling the good fat virtues of the fruit. The #AvoSecrets ad was made by GSD&M.
The Coen Brothers direct the Mercedes spot by Merkley + Partners and German agency Antoni, and it is gritty, raw, funny and nostalgic, playing off the Easy Rider legend and Route 66. The payoff line is “Born to be wild. Built to be wild”. There’s a great cameo in it from a legendary actor too.
Actor Adam Driver (Star Wars) starred in the live Snickers Super Bowl commercial in which everything intentionally went wrong, the premise being if you are hungry, things can go wrong. According to Superbowlcommercials.co, 150 ad executives from Mars, ad agency BBDO, and production company O Positive, worked together to shoot the 30-second, western-themed spot during the actual football game.
These are Time magazine’s 10 Best Super Bowl commercials for 2017 and the most talked about: