The competition on the field during Super Bowl XLVIII wasn’t much to write home about, but the battle for the game’s best commercial was fierce from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
As the Seattle Seahawks romped the Denver Broncos, 43-8, major brands like Coca-Cola and Budweiser turned in stellar work on advertising’s biggest stage.
Here are our five favourite ads of the game, with input from the people we watched with:
5. Chrysler — “America’s Import”
The Detroit automaker has made a habit of making people feel good about America during its Super Bowl advertising, even as the U.S. auto industry continues to struggle against foreign competitors. Following on the heels of 2011’s “Imported From Detroit” and 2012’s “Halftime in America,” Chrysler introduced another memorable, distinctly American ad, this time with an assist from Bob Dylan:
4. Audi — “Doberhuahua”
Audi came up with an extremely creative way to get across a fairly complex advertising message — that its new A3 is still a top-shelf luxury vehicle despite its more affordable price point. Though the Doberman/Chihuahua hybrid in the ad terrorizes everything in sight (including singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan), Audi wanted its customers to know they can have their cake and eat it, too. Whether the ad sells cars or not, this was a lot of fun to watch.
Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
3. T-Mobile — “#nocontract”
Self-deprecation is often the fastest way to a consumer’s heart, and nobody did it better at this year’s game than former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. In a play on how T-Mobile doesn’t have its customers sign a contract for its wireless services, Tebow made light of how he became a free agent by being cut from the New England Patriots earlier this season. Though Tebow is famous for being a straight-laced, devout Christian, fans got a chance to see his comedic chops Sunday night.
Agency: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners
2. Budweiser — “Puppy Love”
From the moment Budweiser released details that it would have a Super Bowl ad focused on a friendship between a puppy and one of its Clydesdale horses, it was clear that the brand could have a viral hit on its hands. At least one person at the Super Bowl party I attended teared up at the end of this one, and we certainly don’t blame them. So far, “Puppy Love” has almost 35 million views on YouTube.
1. Coca-Cola: “America the Beautiful”
Where Chrysler’s ad celebrated the success of America’s past, Coca-Cola chose to celebrate the nation’s future. Over a montage of Americans of a variety of ethnicities, Coke celebrated the country’s diversity with a lovely rendition of “America the Beautiful” sung in several different languages. After crashing and burning at last year’s game with its desert chase ad, Coca-Cola came back strong with the best Super Bowl ad of 2014.
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