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Six ads that scored in the 2016 Super Bowl

Six ads that scored in the 2016 Super Bowl
Having paid nearly $5m for each 30-second spot in the 2016 US Super Bowl, advertisers made a relentless grab for viewers' attentions. The result was often ads heavily dependent for their impact on celebrities, anthropomorphic animals, bizarre humour and frenetic editing.

Some of these approaches undoubtedly hit home, though there was also evidence of more thoughtful creativity and innovation.

1. Hyundai drives away with the trophy

No-one could accuse Hyundai of half-hearted participation in this year's Super Bowl. The car-maker aired no less than three big budget spots and was widely acclaimed as the most successful advertiser of this year's crop.

First Date, a spot in which comedian Kevin Hart uses the car finder device on a Hyundai Genesis to track his daughter on a date, topped the annual USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter which gauges viewers' instant reactions to spots. Another Hyundai offering, which praises the brand's safety features in a world ('Ryanville') populated by clones of the distractingly handsome Ryan Reynolds, came in fifth in the same poll.

However, other viewers might prefer the tighter, less predictable script of "The Chase", the brand's third spot of the night.

2.  Animal magic

From Budweiser's majestic Clydesdales "Brotherhood" film to the manic Dorito's "Screaming Goat" commercial, animals have often had starring roles in the Super Bowl's most talked about spots of recent years.

For 2016, Dorito's again trotted out pets in the form of Dogs. The spot was one of two ads which were developed as part of the brand's 'Crash the Super Bowl' contest, which invited suggestions for storylines to air during the game and then asked the public to vote on them. (The other Crash the Super Bowl winner that Dorito's aired was 'Ultrasound' - your reaction to which will probably largely depend on how funny you find childbirth). 

Elsewhere, Honda featured singing sheep as a way of demonstrating its new truck audio system.

But to this viewer at least, #MeettheKetchups from Heinz Ketchup (shown above) took the 'Best in Show' for combining animal antics, tongue in cheek music and a salient brand message.

3. Social media impact

Most of the Super Bowl ads were released on the internet before Sunday's game, enabling some analysis of which spots generated most social sharing and commentary. According to some commentators, the early winners on social media included #AvosInSpace  by Avocados from Mexico, and Pokemon's epic,"Train On". 

The bizarre 'Puppymonkeybaby' (below) ad for Mountain Dew also sparked considerable social media reaction. Indeed, it seems almost designed for social sharing and disagreement. Is it freakish? Is it cute? Will it take off?

4.  Simple and straighforward

Amid the clamour of competing celebrities in this year's Super Bowl ads(Budweiser had Helen Mirren, Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer; Drake appeared for T-Mobile; and Amazon signed up Missy Elliott and Alec Baldwin, to name but a few), the anti domestic violence charity, No More, offered a simple, straightforward and memorable execution incorporating a text conversation between an abused woman and her friend.

Watch it below.

Another strikingly under-stated film - this time from the commercial sector - came from Jeep.  Its "Portraits" stitched together curated photographs of individuals - some of whom were celebrities and some not - with a link to the Jeep brand throughout its history.

5.  These guys can

It may not quite have the power of the Always "Like a Girl" campaign, but Pantene's "Dad-Do" spot in which football stars are shown spending quality time with their daughters by helping them fix their hair, puts a message about empowering young girls into the testosterone-fuelled highlight of the American Football year.     

6.  Defying expectations

The 2016 Super Bowl included several ads with an upbeat storyline in which individuals were encouraged to ignore or overcome traditional boundaries.

In one context, Pokemon's "Train On" featured a series of youngsters inspired to excel beyond expectations with the mantra, "I can do that".  In another, more direct approach, Mini's "Defying Labels",urged viewers to reject the stereotypes attached to Mini drivers, bringing in supportive comments from Serena Williams and a host of non-celebrities.

A more surprising take on the idea of challenging expectations came from Axe The grooming brand's commercials have not always avoided the obvious in its attempts at bonding with its target audience of young men. However, its "Find Your Magic" spot provided both the entertainment production values that you might expect from this brand and a more diverse interpretation of masculinity than you might predict.  

In a year when many of the Super Bowl advertisers seemed to go for either the safe or the slightly bizarre, this spot stood out for innovating the brand in a more sustainable new long-term direction. 

Last updated 08/02/2016

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