At Ad Age it’s become a well-worn cliché to say the Super Bowl is our Super Bowl. As with the Big Game, ad world Monday morning quarterbacking begins almost immediately after the final whistle and continues in the days and weeks that follow, as brands and marketers seek broader consensus on what worked and why.
Although there were a handful of ads that received almost universal acclaim, consensus about what makes for a winning Super Bowl ad, judging by USA Today’s Ad Meter, iSpot’s consumer survey of the most liked commercials and Ad Age’s own comprehensive reviews, is hard to come by—especially in an economic climate where measurement may ultimately determine the true winner of the Big Game. Less scientifically, we polled the Ad Age Amp community to see which brands came out on top.
One thing everyone seemed to agree on was that the Big Game’s best ad wasn’t actually an ad at all.
“Rihanna’s halftime performance overshadowed the Super Bowl for many viewers with tweet after tweet referring to the event as the ‘Rihanna concert.’ Her intentional but subtle inclusion of a Fenty compact was the only brand placement needed to get people talking about her cosmetics brand, which had also been running football-themed ads leading up to the event,” said Lani Tuitasi, director of cultural innovation at Cashmere Agency. “Overall, Rihanna successfully turned a completely brand-agnostic music performance into a massive buzz generator for her brand, showcasing the value of unlocking cultural moments for audience engagement.”
Rihanna’s epic halftime-show/pregnancy-announcement aside, there were some clear winners in the traditional ad category. Two frontrunners emerged, with a slew of stellar ads following behind. Even so, the No. 2 ad, Tubi’s “Interface Interaction” didn’t even qualify as an official Super Bowl in-game ad, since technically it was a Fox house ad.
Although the top two ads were runaway winners, consensus was harder to find among the rest of the 30-odd ads that aired in and around the Big Game. After the top five, eight spots tied for sixth place.
Here are the top vote getters, along with Ad Age’s capsule reviews of each.