The New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Al Bello/Getty Images
The New England Patriots may have ultimately prevailed in this year’s Super Bowl, but both the game and the ads were a bit of a snoozefest.Still, there were some surprises, like HBO taking over Bud Light’s ad to make it all about “Game of Thrones.”Here are the best and worst Super Bowl commercials of 2019.
Winners: Bud Light and HBO
HBO’s unexpected takeover of Bud Light’s “Jousting Match” ad to promote the upcoming season of “Game of Thrones” had everyone talking. The ad, which cost an estimated $9.4 million, according to iSpot.tv, amassed more than 183 million social impressions. The ad (and its dragons) may have set social media ablaze, but it didn’t do much for Bud Light as a brand, according to the ad agency Oxford Road. The ad scored a low 29.65% in Audiolytics, the agency’s proprietary data-driven process that grades ads based on 71 weighted components. The Bud Light campaign was also popular among advertising professionals on the work-chat app Fishbowl, representing 23% of all Super Bowl campaign discussions on the platform. The campaign with HBO also ranked first in a poll on the app, capturing 30% of the votes. But Bud Light had three other commercials touting that it doesn’t use corn syrup, disappointing corn farmers across the country, according to Brandwatch.
The ad for its flagship product that featured Lil Jon, Steve Carell, and Cardi B managed to push Pepsi into the conversation, with nearly 18,000 mentions on Twitter, according to Salesforce. Pepsi’s #PepsiMoreThanOK hashtag registered more than 65.2 million impressions, according to Brandwatch. Pepsi’s ad for its new sparkling-water brand, Bubly, also did well, with Oxford Road giving it an Audiolytics score of 61%. Starring the Canadian singer Michael Bublé, the Bubly ad was also the best use of celebrity and the best new-to-market brand, per Oxford Road.
Skittles ditched the $5.25 million Super Bowl ad price tag and went all out with a one-day musical in New York City featuring the actor Michael C. Hall. While only about 1,500 people watched the musical, the quality was top-notch. Plus, the proceeds went to charity.
Microsoft Xbox’s inclusive ad called “We All Win” was one of the few ads this year that championed diversity and won over hearts and Twitter feeds everywhere. It scored a 7.07 on USA Today’s Ad Meter, ranking third. It was also ranked as the most inspiring ad by Oxford Road.
Kia may have had good intentions by honoring the workers building its cars at its plant in West Point, Georgia, but its “Give It Everything” commercial came across as preachy. Kia also had the score from Oxford Road: a mere 19.51%. “For once, just once, could an auto manufacturer please stop just talking in generic platitudes and substantiate one claim?” said Oxford Road’s founder and CEO, Dan Granger. “It sounds like this poor young man was asked to read a script saying the car is made of, for, and by hopeless people.”
Hyundai took people up an elevator highlighting unpleasant experiences on each floor, like a root canal and the middle seat on a plane. The ultimate pitch: a guaranteed better car-shopping experience with its Shoppers Assurance. But the car brand faced the wrath of vegans when it poked fun at a vegan dinner party.
Loser: Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
The Anheuser Busch-owned brand ran a 45-second ad that tried to take advantage of a sensation called autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, that has become a big trend on YouTube. But according to data from Brandwatch, 54.21% of the tweets about the ad were negative.
T-Mobile had an ad in every quarter, and they were not all bad — one called “Dad” that poked fun at parents getting confused by technology had the highest score from Oxford Road, with 94%. But the brand was criticized for being sexist in some of its other ads. It also had the most mentions with a negative sentiment on Fishbowl. T-Mobile seemed popular among the creative community for its low-budget yet effective ad campaign, until people began noticing its creative was directly inspired by popular memes on the internet. “Damn it, thought it was good but now I’m feeling like I just got FuckJerry’ed again,” a strategy director said. Another senior vice president said: “T-Mobile is the FuckJerry of the Super Bowl. Stealing from bad text memes.”
Super Bowl 2019
Here’s the full list of all the Super Bowl commercials that ran this year
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