Super Bowl

Super Bowl Live blog: A dull game is over, Tide was AWOL and we still can't not see Adam Levine's nipples

Track the brand wins, losses and surprises in real time

Published on .

Credit: Illustration by Tam Nguyen/Ad Age

Welcome to Ad Age's Super Bowl live blog, where we're tracking the ad game within the game from kick-off to the final whistle. Get insights from our editorial team on the brand wins and losses as they occur.

In addition to Ad Age staffers, we have also lined up a panel of outside experts to weigh in. They include Dan Lucey, executive creative director at Joan Creative; Jason DeLand, founding partner at Anomaly; Liz Taylor, chief creative officer at FCB Chicago; Chris Beresford-Hill, chief creative officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York; Ahmad Islam, managing partner and CEO at Ten35; Yadira Harrison, co-founder at Verb; and Gerry Graf, chief creative officer at Barton F. Graf.

Keep coming back for instant reviews, insights from industry pros, reportage from our newsroom and quick takes on any surprises. If you're here for searing football insight, though, you're probably in the wrong place.

10:30 p.m. ET

No, it never was a Tide ad

People may have wished on Twitter that one of the night's ads--any of the night's ads--was in fact an ad for Tide, but it was not to be. The brand wouldn't cop to it until the game was over, but for the first time in three years it stayed clear of the Big Game. Imagine the disappointment of those on Twitter who wished that the whole tedious game, including its commercials and halftime show, had been an elaborate spoof setting up some kind of ad for the detergent. --Jack Neff

10:23 p.m. ET

Unpacking the Post ad

The Washington Post took advantage of the Super Bowl to continue its campaign supporting reporters and freedom of the press. The last time we saw such a big publishing move was when The New York Times debuted its first brand campaign in a decade during the Oscars.

While an important message, I wish it had come up with a more powerful story, one that went beyond some reportorial highlights and Tom Hanks' V.O. Granted, the Post said it had the "lesser part of a week" to get the spot together. Other publications such as The New York Times and CNN have addressed attacks on journalism with powerful creative. The Washington Post's slogan "Democracy dies in darkness" deserved more drama--especially in this forum. --Ann-Christine Diaz

10:10 p.m. ET

The final word

Tony Romo is a national treasure.

Bud Light and Google were my favs, across multiple spots.

Microsoft was so simple, and stayed with me.

I wish I didn't see Maroon 5's nipples.

We can do better next year. -- Chris Beresford Hill

10 p.m. ET

Mercedes reverses tweet

Mercedes got cold feet during the Super Bowl with its too-hot tweet, and deleted what could have been the best real-time marketing moment in the game. In the fourth quarter, with the game stuck at 3-3 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the carmaker's social media team tweeted: "If this game weren't in my stadium, I would have driven away by now."

As far as Super Bowl Twitter goes, it was an A-class post, maybe even on par with Oreo's "dunk in the dark" tweet from the blackout Super Bowl in 2013, when the cookie brand basically defined real-time marketing during the Super Bowl. Mercedes, though, deleted the tweet before it could blow up. It must have gotten worried about offending their NFL masters. --Garret Sloane

9:41 p.m. ET

Um, what, Warhol?

No one at a Super Bowl party in L.A. seemed to get what was going on in Burger King's Andy Warhol ad. "That was weird," said one guest. Another, who works in Hollywood post-production said, "Oh, they got a VFX company to add logos into that." He also added, "Am I so out of it that I don't think that's cool?" --Ann-Christine Diaz

#EatLikeAndy? Take the bun off the put ketchup on the wrapper? Confused… -- Ahmad Islam

9:37 p.m. ET

Looking backwards

It's definitely a night of nostalgia
Dylan, Tommy, Warhol, Backstreet Boys, Carrie Bradshaw, The Dude... --Liz Taylor

9:34 p.m. ET

Paging the dragon

Still waiting for the GOT dragon to swoop in and save some of these second-half ads.--Gerry Graf

9:26 p.m. ET

What we needed

Love the Microsoft content. Just the simple story of the product and how it made those kids happy. That's all we needed. --Chris Beresford--Hill

9:10 p.m. ET

Downy Wrinkle in, Tide out

Finally, a certain Cincinnati-based brand of laundry products has an ad in the game. Not the one you think. Nehemiah Manufacturing, which markets Procter & Gamble Co. spinoffs like Downy Wrinkle Releaser, the Downy Ball, Dreft and Kandoo baby wipes, ran an ad between the third and fourth quarters only in the Cincinnati market, produced by Sinclair Broadcast Group's CBS affiliate WKRC (not WKRP). It focused on Nehemiah's mission of hiring ex-convicts to help them rebuild their lives. More on how that works here:

But nothing yet from Tide. -- Jack Neff

9:12 p.m. ET

Better than real life

Overheard at Super Bowl party: "This is better than the actual game." --about the NFL ad. --Ann-Christine Diaz

NFL 100 spot best of the night so far! More exciting than the game for sure. --Ahmad Islam

9:02 p.m. ET

Praise for Google

The Google ad about military codes was perfect. Instead of giving members of the military a "tribute", they help get them jobs.--Gerry Graf

8:50 p.m. ET

No triclosan

Bud Light made a point about not having corn syrup, but Colgate stayed away from mentioning an ingredient it isn't using: triclosan. That's the missing-in-action ingredient at the heart of Colgate's Super Bowl ad backing the relaunch of Total toothpaste--without triclosan. The 22-year-old active ingredient, originally a pesticide approved by the APE, was banned in 2017 by the FDA for hand soaps and household cleaners, but still officially deemed safe for toothpaste. Colgate still believes that triclosan is fine, by the way. But the ad, steering clear of the controversy, instead had "close talker" Luke Wilson doing his thing--definitely more entertaining than hearing about Colgate's two decades of selling toothpaste with an ingredient linked in some studies to endocrine and immune system disruption. --Jack Neff

8:44 p.m. ET

Two very different takes on Kia

I'm a fan of the quiet ads. The ones that stand out among the celeb bedazzled spots that make up 90 percent of Super Bowl advertising. Nicely done Kia. -Dan Lucey

Kia: foreign-owned companies doing American blue collar? Is that for real? --Jason DeLand

8:28 p.m. ET

At least it's over

This halftime show was just as random as I knew it was going to be complete with lots of fire, drones and Adam stripping down. Ugh, wish Christina Aguilera could have come and saved us all at the end. Well, that's that. *Shrug* --Yadira Harrison

8:20 p.m. ET

First-half winners

These two win so far IMHO:

It's morning in America. Intense. Ominous. Haunting. We can all relate. Nice one, "Handmaid's Tale" trailer.

Hyundai + Bateman: The hell of car buying. Funny premise but longed for a little more of that Batemen snark we all love. "Not so fast, Captain Colon"--nice writing. --Liz Taylor

8:15 p.m. ET

Teen approval

Well done Toyota. First spot that grabbed and kept my 13-year-old daughter's attention. --Ahmad Islam

7:56 PM ET

Don't mess with America's corn

Bud Light's early ad tonight, calling out its competitors for their use of corn syrup, might have made some casual observers rethink their drink. Or, more likely, they forgot about it as soon as they saw that Bud Light/"Game of Thrones" mashup. But the corn industry, from farmers to the lobbyists that protect their interests in Washington, won't take this corn syrup-bashing lightly.

And here's what the lobbyists had to say (let's ignore the brand misspellings, shall we?)

Later Sunday night, the brewer responded: "Anheuser-Busch fully supports corn growers and will continue to invest in the corn industry. Bud Light's Super Bowl commercials are only meant to point out a key difference in Bud Light from some other light beers. This effort is to provide consumers transparency and elevate the beer category."

-Jessica Wohl

8 p.m. ET

Got (chunky) milk?

Chunky milk? No thank you, Mint. But to my cousin's point, it did get my attention and isn't that the point? I guess. --Yadira Harrison

7:50 p.m. ET

What is Hobbs & Shaw?

Quick proof mid-quarter ads get noticed: people at this party thought the "Hobbs & Shaw" commercial was some kind of spoof and kept watching to figure out what the ad was actually for.

"Is that a real movie?" "I thought it was a joke." "Is Idris Elba the bad guy?" -Jessica Wohl

7:34 p.m. ET

Ladies, amirite?

T-Mobile is now 2 for 2 with spots making fun of the way a woman communicates. 2019, folks. -I-Hsien Sherwood

7:47 p.m. ET

No 'offense,' but…

There's an awful lot of football yet to played, but if you buy into the theory that an offense explosion was largely responsible for the NFL's big ratings turnaround, this defensive stalemate may prove to be box-office poison for CBS and its advertisers. -Anthony Crupi

7:26 p.m. ET

Listen to the kids

First quarter commercial observations with Gen Alpha (the young kids)

On Walmart's pre-game ad: "That's cute how [the time-traveling DeLorean] calls everyone Michael."

On Bon and Viv's spiked seltzer. "So cool to use mermaids."

On the M&Ms revealed to be tormenting Christina Applegate from the backseat of her car: "Haha, that's so funny."

On the game coming back on: "Umm, we don't care about this, we care about Toy Story 4."

On WeatherTech: "Aww, look how cute that dog is. Maybe he is the boss. Now that's a good ad."

On all the other spots: no interest.

—Adrianne Pasquarelli

7:22 p.m. ET

Bud Light, Game of Thrones instant reaction

Game of Thrones/Bud Light was neither nice or pleasant. It was awesome. -- Gerry Graf

Liked the GOT Bud Light colab. I didn't see that coming. -- Dan Lucey

The Bud Light corn syrup ad was one of the best "set up" ads in history. At first I was like, OK, whatever, no corn syrup. They've done better. And then the next Bud Light commercial comes on and you're like, OK, more "no corn syrup". But nope, thats not where it went. It went to "Game of Thrones." Spending all that money on no corn syrup just to set up another ad. Genius. -- Gerry Graf

7:17 p.m. ET

Devour misses mark

The Devour ad is so incredibly sophomoric it is hard to comment on it other than there are some ideas that should've been ripped up and thrown away. It's not that funny and pokes fun of the fact that people are addicted to the thing they're making fun of. In bad taste. --Jason DeLand

7:12 p.m. ET

Missed Opportunity?

I just wasted 10 minutes looking for a streaming link or download to the "I Want it That Way" remix with Chance the Rapper. Ugh, close the loop Doritos. #missedopportunities --Yadira Harrison

7:10 p.m. ET

More praise for Malkovich vs. Manning

The best Super Bowl ads are liked by both industry nerds participating in live blogs like myself and the average football fan. The party I'm at, which has both types of critics, so far agrees with Chris, Malkovich ragging on Peyton Manning is so far is the best. --Dan Lucey

7:05 p.m. ET

Bud Light attacks

Bud Light x Corn Syrup...Shots fired! Taking the Beer Wars beyond calories and carbs and going deep into the ingredient story. Will consumers care? Will Miller Lite or Coors Light respond? This could be fun! --Ahmad Islam

The people at my Super Bowl party really dug that Bud Light spot. One guy in the corner: "OH YEAH, SHOTS FIRED!" —Megan Graham

7 p.m. ET

Doritos is fun, Hyundai solid

Glad Doritos got outta the trap of bad humor into something relevant and fun. -- Jason DeLand

Hyundai was solid. A set up that allows for lots of jokes, and you can feel they worked each vignette really hard. -- Chris Bresford-Hill

6:50 p.m. ET

Serena + Bumble = mixed reviews

Bumble partnering up with Serena is a crazy smart move. With her evolution from powerhouse athlete and businesswoman to a mom who does it all, and their evolution from dating to connecting, it only makes sense for Bumble to align with her. --Yadira Harrison

Sitting at a party with a bunch of non-ad folks. People awed over Serena Williams but in the end said, "What is that?" to the Bumble dating app ad. --Ann-Christine Diaz

6:45 p.m. ET

Be like Nike

Love the Serena Williams Bumble spot, but even when its not feels like Nike. --Ahmad Islam

6:30 p.m. ET

Reviews already in

Is it too early to call the Manning v. Malcovich pregame film the best of the night? --Chris Beresford-Hill

6:25 p.m. ET

The Kaepernick factor

Given the current social environment in the country, including the ongoing swirl around the NFL and Colin Kaepernick, etc., it will be interesting to see if any brands choose to use the Super Bowl as a platform to make a statement about hot topics, or if everyone chooses to "keep it light." --Ahmad Islam

6:15 p.m. ET

All brands want a piece

Bras and underwear might not be top of mind when Super Bowl Sunday comes around, but brands were working double-time on Sunday to use the game as an excuse to spend. Bare Necessities, the lingerie retailer acquired by Walmart last year, sent out multiple email missives to consumers on Sunday, touting "Game Day goals" and "Countdown to Kick-off." Similarly, other apparel seller, including Brooks Brothers, J. Crew and the Gap tried to get in on the action by using football-related jargon in their Sunday promotions. Of course, Williams Sonoma, which promoted "fan-favorite recipes" for the game, might have better luck than marketers selling sweaters and undergarments. --Adrianne Pasquarelli

6 p.m. ET

Too many cooks in the creative kitchen

Because of all the millions spent and the high visibility, everyone gets involved with Super Bowl ads on both the agency and client sides. The CDs, GCDs, ECDs, CCO, agency president, brand managers, CMO, legal department, CEO, the CEO's husband and the CEO's husband's mother all have a say. I am not exaggerating. That gauntlet is a recipe for mediocrity and explains most Super Bowl ads. Every once in a while there's that rare idea that makes it through the process relatively unscathed and does something original. That's what I look for every year. The rest is just stuff you'll forget next week. --Gerry Graf

5:45 p.m. ET

Nothing serious

Super Bowl ads are more humorous and light-hearted this year, as marketers seemingly want to stay away from politics and issues that could be viewed as controversial. While there are a few ads that have not been pre-released that will touch on more serious topics or cause a tear or two, of the 30 ads released thus far just four have a more serious tone or promote a social or cultural issue. -Jeanine Poggi

5:30 p.m. ET

Going first

The game won't start for another hour. But we already know what the first ad will be: Anheuser-Busch InBev's "Shark Tank"-themed spot for its Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer brand, which was released online Jan. 24. The brewer, which has a whopping five-minutes, 45 second of air time in the game, has been the game's exclusive alcohol advertiser for years and has often used that privilege to secure the so-called "A1" position. Bon & Viv is a relatively new brand, so it's likely the brewer put it it in the first ad slot to raise awareness and catch Super Bowl viewers while they're, you know, still lucid (i.e. sober). --E.J. Schultz

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