Between Plays: Who Won the Super Bowl in 30 Seconds?

Super Bowl LI was a night of historic firsts in football records – but did the advertisers bring the same excitement to their portion of the program? When a 30-second spot costs $5 million, the stakes are high – and that can make it even harder for a message to break through. Here are some ChangeMakers’ top picks of this year’s Super Bowl ads.

Airbnb – #WeAccept

Hilary: At the end of the night, the advertisers who were trending were those who waded into the political waters to take a stand for equality and inclusion. Airbnb’s #weaccept hashtag is a great fit with a hospitality brand. The only downside for me was that I didn’t recognize their icon – I had to go on Twitter to find out who the sponsor was.

Angela: The message and the visual are so simple and very timely: the world really is more beautiful when we accept our differences and embrace them.

Sean: Three seconds into this spot and queue the wave of chills! This is the kind of messaging that really strikes a chord with consumers that are struggling to find hope during a time of seemingly endless conflict and uncertainty. 2017 may be in its infancy, but there is no shortage of brands seizing the opportunity to stand for what they believe in. For those of us with shared beliefs, a simple and concise message of acceptance is enough to solidify (or in the very least, initiate) a positive relationship with a brand like Airbnb.

Audi – “Daughter”, #DriveProgress

Audi was another advertiser that chose to wade into political waters on Sunday night. The creative concept – a go-kart race – ties in perfectly with both the brand and the message of equality.

Christian Massaroni: Somehow, Audi caught me off guard with this one. A lot of the creative elements in this ad were pretty standard (the pensive strings in the score, wide sun-set-filled shots, middle-aged male narration), and yet by the end of it I went, “huh, I’ve got more respect for Audi.” The message felt less preachy and more like an affirmation of their brand quality instead.

Bai – #BaiBaiBai

Hilary: There were lots of celebrity appearances in Super Bowl ads, but this was one of the most effective of 2017. Both cameos were purposeful and strengthened the creative approach to make for a memorable ad.

Varinder: The Bai commercial was great, new product was memorable and got the product name out there, great use of celebrity.

Angela: This was a favourite for the *NSYNC nostalgia factor, and because it made me chuckle out loud when I put two and two together.

John Wick: Chapter 2 – “Shade” Trailer

There was some debate around the ChangeMakers water cooler about the value of putting a movie trailer in the Super Bowl ad mix. The production values on Super Bowl ads are so high, will a movie trailer stand out? And can 30 seconds do justice to a feature film?

Christian M makes the case for John Wick: Seriously, this is how to use a 30 second ad placement. The playful 50 Shades opening, the ballistic assault of dynamic action-filled cuts and clear understanding of tone all add up perfectly. I actually talked about how much I want to see this movie when I got into work today because of that ad.

Mr. Clean – Cleaner of Your Dreams

Varinder: Mr Clean was amazing!

It’s hard to argue with that enthusiasm. Mr. Clean did an excellent job of crafting a funny ad that highlighted the brand’s core strengths (pun intended).

What were your top ad picks of Super Bowl LI? Or did the excitement on-field overshadow the ad breaks?

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