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Feb 05, 2018

Who Won the 2018 Super Bowl

Yay sport, do the thing, get the points!

Okay, so maybe we might not all be sports enthusiast but we are definitely ad enthusiast, so this is who we think won the Super Bowl (you know, besides the Eagles).

Adrian Jean CGD, Partner, Executive Creative Director

Well, I have to admit, I am not a football fan. But I do love good advertising. And while overall, Super Bowl LII ads felt a little on the safer side than years past, there were still a few standouts. So here is a rapid-fire review of some of the more prolific ads and ad categories, in no particular order:

BEER

Beer companies Budweiser & Stella Artois seem to want us to know that they also offer water (...although we already knew that Budweiser). Bud "Night" didn't even bother with the social responsibility and instead went for the jugular of their core bro-audience.

AMAZON

Ok so it sucked that they glazed over Ottawa for their next HQ, but Amazon's ad was star studded and vibrant, and I really enjoyed it from an entertainment perspective. From an advertising point of view though, it was a little flat. Props to Bezos for doing it.

GROUPON

Groupon played it safe this year (as we all knew they would). They even went for the golden oldie of a ball to the crotch — the advertising equivalent of a chocolate bar instead of a healthy meal.

SOFT DRINKS

I've been a Pepsi fan for years — despite it having been years since I bought the stuff. This year's Pepsi ad pulled all their punches and instead reminded us just how long it's been since we bought a Pepsi. Coke on the other hand aimed a little higher and produced a beautiful delivery of the essence of today's social equality issues in only the way Coke can. Well done Coke.

POLITICAL MIC-DROP

Weathertech (manufacturer of car floor mats) used visuals of a building being erected, but in a way that one could draw parallels with Trumps "Build the Wall" mantra. The political mic drop came at the end with an emphatic statement of affirmation that the company is American through and through. Ironically, it's the one we might all be talking about longer after the glitz and glamour fades.

CARS

Car advertising has to be some of the most challenging (depending on the model). But this year only one car ad really stood out for me and that was Toyota's. They really rocked the message of human determination in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds and left us with the notion that there is hope, where there is the will to persevere. Really proud of Toyota for this one. A distant runner up in the heart-strings department was Hyundai's "Hope Detector".

KIA managed to transport Steven Tyler back in time (as well as reverse the process of aging)… I think they were selling a car too.

While Lexus, not to be out done by time travel, managed to mashup of scenes from the upcoming movie Black Panther... and mixed it with original footage to make it seem like it wasn't a mashup (…we weren’t fooled Lexus).

MOVIES

Of course, the Star Wars: Solo ad was fun, but it was the Dundee mock-movie trailers that piqued my sense of nostalgia. They reminded me how many beautiful (and talented) people come from the land down under. I wonder though if Australia Tourism left some money on the table by trying to make the final outing spot look too much like the trailers leading up to Super Bowl. Only Quantas will know for sure.

THE WINNER: TIDE

Luckily no detergent was intentionally ingested in this brilliant series from Procter & Gamble. David Harbour (from Netflix’s Stranger Things) stars in a series of ads in which Tide pokes fun at Super Bowl ad genres. The main spot ends with him (and Tide) essentially co-opting all Super Bowl ads by asking the audience if every Super Bowl ad was actually a Tide ad because everyone's clothes are clean in them. Brilliant! As TIME reports, Procter & Gamble also owns both Tide and Old Spice, so just imagine what that lovechild would be like... wait we don't have to:

Add to that, both brands engaged in some (albeit likely artificial) social media sword play, which gives the campaign a little more life after launch:

Perry Tsergas, Partner, President & CEO

While the Tide series were my favourite ads of the night, I have to cast my vote — pun intended — for Shri Thandedar’s 30s spot. Shri is running for Governor of Michigan. Obviously his buy was only regional, but it was served up to those watching in Ottawa, which is why I saw it.

He’s a scientist, who clearly has a sense of humour, and is not accepting any corporate donations. It was a refreshing political ad that didn’t attack anyone, didn’t take itself too seriously, and did a good job of introducing voters to Thandedar. In an era of partisanship and polarization this political ad put a smile on my face.

Megan Buttle, Senior Advisor and Account Director

One of my favourite ads this year during the Super Bowl was the Wendy’s ad. This was really to piggy back on the organic sharing attention they received on Twitter earlier this year. They were praised and loved for their witty responses and speaking directly to people’s interests and concerns.

I can say with certainty - I love the honestly and matter-of-fact approach they use in this ad. It also has the added benefit of being cheeky. In my mind, authenticity always wins and the added humour really brings it over the finish line for me.

There is a bit of an appreciation for capitalizing on the power of Twitter and using a concept that is based off the success of organic social media, as many know, paid media works even better when supported by strong organic sharing, and that works both ways.

Morgan Dunbar, Graphic Designer

One of my favourite Ads from the Super Bowl this year was Tourism Australia. They released weeks earlier what looked like a teaser trailer for a sequel to Crocodile Dundee. Short, high budget, trailer. Big named actors. Looked legit. But everyone was confused? Was this a sequel, did we NEED a remake? Is Chris Hemsworth only doing movies he can film while living at home now? People were talking.

Finally on Super Bowl Sunday they gave us the pay off. The full length version of the “trailer” reveals halfway through that it’s actual an ad for tourism Australia, and Australia is great - you should totally come check it out. I thought this was both brilliant and hilarious.

My only negative thought is there are definitely people who will miss the final commercial and still be confused with what happened to that Crocodile Dundee sequel that never was.

Kayla FitzPatrick, Digital Marketing Specialist

My favourite ad to come out of Sunday's game (besides Tide which AJ quickly snatched up) was the Doritos/ Mountain Dew ad. What's not to like (besides Mountain Dew)? Star power in the form of Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman with Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott pulling on my 90's heart strings. I also loved the contrast of fire and ice which worked visually and in relation to the flavours of the products.

Kevin Deagle, Account Manager

As the last to the party, I’ve discovered all the good ads have been taken by my brilliant and punctual colleagues. So, I’ll write about the ad I didn’t like. Plus, I’m in a less than jolly mood after the Pats loss.

You’ve most likely heard the uproar over the Dodge superbowl ad. For me, this takes the cake for either terrible decision making, or even worse research. For those blissfully unaware, Dodge used a passage from Martin Luther King’s final speech before his death. It is as follows:

If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Amen) That’s a new definition of greatness.

And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, (Everybody) because everybody can serve. (Amen) You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. (All right) You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. (Amen) You only need a heart full of grace, (Yes, sir, Amen) a soul generated by love.

However, what Dodge didn’t see—or wilfully ignored—was the passage that followed a few minutes later in MLK’s speech. This passage decries the influence of ‘advertising’ on society. I have included it below:

And so we see it everywhere, this quest for recognition. And we join things, over-join really, that we think that we will find that recognition in.

Now the presence of this instinct explains why we are so often taken by advertisers. You know, those gentlemen of massive verbal persuasion. And they have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. (Make it plain) In order to be lovely to love you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you're just buying that stuff. (Yes) That's the way the advertisers do it.

If Dodge was unaware of this later passage from one of MLK’s most famous speech, that represents a major failure. If they thought they could sneak one past millions of viewers, that represents a high degree of cynicism and shortsightedness.

Either way, the Dodge ad proves Martin Luther King’s very point. But advertising can be about so much more than this type of car or that kind of perfume. Advertising can promote new ideas, inspire action, plant dreams, or build community. Dodge didn’t do that.

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