By some estimates, something like $97 million in marketing dollars went into last night’s Super Bowl — mostly for ads that were flat, uninspired and about as dull as the game itself. That said, the day was not completely devoid of fresh creative. Here are five spots that actually embraced what Super Bowl advertising should be about–Grade A entertainment–but also broke the mold in a year when most simply decided to play it safe.
5. Burger King: ‘Eat Like Andy,’ David Miami
Burger King scored big points for ingenuity with its spot starring the late Andy Warhol–eating a Whopper and dipping his fries in Heinz ketchup. Conceived out of David Miami, the ad wasn’t a feat of postproduction magic. Rather it was a clip from “66 Scenes from America,” a documentary by Danish filmmaker Jorgen Leth.
4. Google: ‘Job Search for Veterans,’ Google Creative Lab
At number four, instead of pandering to the masses, Google spoke quietly and directly to veterans in one of its big game ads that depicted what seems like a cryptic series of letters and numbers. These were all actually military codes representing military members’ various roles, and the ad shows vets how they can easily plug those into the Google search bar to find jobs related to the skills the developed when they served.
3. NFL: ‘The 100-Year Game,’ 72andSunny
The NFL marked its 100th anniversary in this fun-filled two-minute spot from 72andSunny and directed by Peter Berg. Starring NFL great of past and present, it was the kind of entertainment well worth its time in the big game.
2. Skittles: ‘Skittles Commercial, The Broadway Musical’
A Super Bowl ad that didn’t actually run during the Super Bowl, Skittles’ Broadway production, “Skittles Commercial, The Broadway Musical,” was a one-time show that ran hours before the game on Sunday–and deftly walked the line of commercial anti-commercialism. Created out of DDB Worldwide and produced out of Smuggler, the live play starred Michael C. Hall and was arguably this year’s best use of celebrity talent. The soundtrack, available on Spotify, is worth a listen and includes four minutes of Hall munching on the candies. We’re hoping Skittles takes this one on the road.
1. HBO/Bud Light: ‘Game of Thrones X Bud Light,’ Droga 5/Wieden & Kennedy
HBO pulled the biggest surprise of the game when it hijacked Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” campaign to promote the final season of “Game of Thrones.” The spot begins with a shocker in which the famed “Bud Knight” dies during a joust, but then things get even worse for the Medieval villagers when a dragon swoops in to torch them all. The idea was conceived out of Droga5, along with Wieden & Kennedy and it’s just the first installment in HBO’s #ForTheThrone campaign.