Advertisers shelled out at least $US5 million for 30 seconds of screen time during this year’s Super Bowl.
But official sponsors weren’t the only ones that won – one of the biggest brand winners was Crock-Pot, which didn’t even have its own commercial.
Here are our picks for winners and losers of this year’s Super Bowl.
After a disastrous 2017 – remember the tone-deaf Kendall Jenner ad? – Pepsi made a strong comeback with a joint ad for Mountain Dew and Doritos and another one for Pepsi.
Its 30-second commercial brought together stars from across generations, including Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson, taking viewers on a nostalgia trip.
On the other hand, Peter Dinklage and Busta Rhymes teamed up to take on Morgan Freeman and Missy Elliot in this epic showdown between Doritos Blaze and Mountain Dew Ice.
The ads clearly touched a chord, as Pepsi had over 36,000 tweets engaging with the brand during the first half. The combo ad had over 68 million social impressions, according to iSpot.
Budweiser followed its powerful “Born the Hard Way” spot from last year with a philanthropic bet this year.
In this year’s Super Bowl ad, the brand highlighted its charitable side, including that it has donated 79 million cans of water to disaster-relief efforts since 1988.
The effort seems to have paid off – the brand scored over 4.1 million impressions, according to iSpot.
The company’s “attention index” determines how well an ad captured people’s attention compared with all the other ads during the program, with an “average ad” scoring a 100. Bud Light’s “Bud Knight” ad scored a 130.8.
Crock-Pot went on the defensive after a revealing “This is Us” episode two weeks ago.
But then it got support from the NBC show itself, with a hilarious new ad for the show featuring Milo Ventimiglia eating some chilli made in – you guessed it – a Crock-Pot.
This way, Crock-Pot won the Super Bowl without spending a single dollar. Digital content engagement around Crock-Pot increased by 84% after the release of the ad, according to data crunched by Amobee.
Amazon’s star-studded 90-second spot had people buzzing days before the big game and was an instant recipe for success.
It features a host of celebrities, including Rebel Wilson, Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Hopkins, and even Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos. The ad has already been viewed a whopping 23 million times on YouTube.
Winner: the NFL
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.’s rendition of “Dirty Dancing” was hands down the best Super Bowl ad this year.
Manning went from being just a football player to winning the internet’s hearts in a single swoop. And it got people talking as well – 99% of the sentiment around it was positive, according to iSpot.
The ad was also mentioned in tweets nearly 26,000 times between 6:30 and 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, with the sentiment being 67% positive.
Winner: Quicken Loans
Keegan Michael-Key made a range of complex scenarios simple with his trademark sense of humour in this smart and punchy ad for Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage service, making the brand the underdog winner this year.
The audience seemed to dig it too, particularly on social media, where the brand ran custom videos explaining technical football terms – cleverly extending its $US10 million TV ad buy.
Loser: Dodge Ram
Dodge Ram’s Super Bowl ad featuring part of a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. did not fare well, sparking widespread criticism online almost instantly.
Many criticised the ad, which showed workers and shots of Ram trucks set against a 1968 speech by King, for its use of an iconic civil-rights speech and Black History Month to sell cars.
Dodge Ram was mentioned about 24,700 times from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., according to Brandwatch, which tracks mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Half of them were negative.
Loser: Michelob Ultra
Chris Pratt spends all his time prepping for an audition, but it turns out he’s under consideration to be an extra.
Disappointing – just like this ad.
Loser: Diet Coke
Diet Coke’s commercial this year was supposed to be a quick social-media video, but the brand liked it so much that it made it its Super Bowl ad.
It looks like it.
The spot, made by Anomaly Los Angeles, shows Hayley Magnus, an actress, doing a little dance. However cute, it didn’t quite have an impact.
Coke, on the other hand, earned some praise on Twitter for using a nonbinary pronoun in its diversity-fuelled ad.
Loser: Thirsty brands jumping on “dunk in the dark” part two
Doritos, Wendy’s, and Tide sought to recreate Oreo’s infamous real-time “dunk in the dark” moment from 2013 during a short blackout in a commercial break in the second quarter.
But they fizzled out without a trace.