CR’s pick of the 2016 Super Bowl ads

Here’s our pick of the best ads from the Super Bowl 50 (with some observations on this year’s trends thrown in too).

The US Super Bowl is event TV of the highest order, with over 100 million viewers tuning in to watch the big game. As such, ad spaces during the game are pricey, drawing in $3.5 million for a 30-second spot. So which advertisers spent well this year? Here’s our take on the best commercials of the 2016 game…

Mountain Dew: Puppymonkeybaby, BBDO New York

Super Bowl ads are famed for using cutesy-ness to sell. This ad for Mountain Dew provides a perfect spoof of this, creating the ‘puppymonkeybaby’, which brings together three of the most popular cute things in one. Funny.

Heinz: Weiner Stampede, DAVID

Heinz joined Marmot, Honda and Doritos by going down the charming-but-funny animal ad route. For me, the condiments brand came out on top – after all, who can beat Weiner/Sausage dogs dressed up as hot dogs?

Audi: The Commander, Venables Bell & Partners

The Super Bowl is usually littered with earnest, epic spots but the grandiose approach was oddly thin on the ground this year, making this spot for Audi stand out more than it might normally. Plus: Bowie.

Kia: Walken Closet, David & Goliath

Appearances by much-loved older actors/singers/celebrities were all over the Super Bowl commercials this year. Sadly, most of them (Steven Tyler, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Liam Neeson, the list goes on and on) were disappointing, making this Christopher Walken vehicle appear better than it perhaps really is. It’s fun for the first 45 seconds, but goes rapidly downhill when the real selling starts. Not bad though.

Toyota: The Longest Chase, Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles

There was a certain self-effacement appearing from a number of brands this year, but this spot for the Toyota Prius does it best, with the car brand sending itself up nicely in this car chase-themed ad. Its clever treatment of perceived flaws reminded me a bit of Skoda ads from back in the day.

Avocados From Mexico, #AvosInSpace, GSD&M

Silly but fun, and good use of Scott Baio.

Bud Light: Bud Light Party, Wieden + Kennedy

This star vehicle, featuring Amy Schumer, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Michael Peña, feels quite traditional and safe but still raises some smiles.

Hyundai: Ryanville, Innocean Worldwide

It’s hard to ignore the fact that if the genders were reversed in this Ryan Reynolds spot we would be crying sexism, but it’s just about funny enough to get away with it. Just about.

No More: Text Talk, Grey New York

This is the second year in a row that NoMore.org, the domestic violence and sexual assault activism group, has had a spot at the Super Bowl, courtesy of the NFL. It’s hard for ads like this to get attention in the noise of the game, but hopefully this spot’s subtle approach will have done the job.

Doritos: Ultrasound, created by Peter Carstairs through the Doritos ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ competition

We finish with this spot for Doritos, which rapidly went viral and has already proved very, very divisive. In a year where there is little else to cause controversy though, perhaps this is no bad thing.

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