In Audi’s spot, a depressed, aging astronaut is reminded of his joy for life by driving an Audi sports car with his son to David Bowie’s “Starman.”
“Every guy in the bar had a smile on their face,” Raj Nijjer, from Scottsdale, Arizona, who watched the game at a New York City bar.
“A surprisingly emotional ad from a German car-maker, Audi tugs at the human spirit, while reinforcing its performance credentials,” said John Gerzema, CEO of BAV Consulting, which tracks consumer perception of brands.
Axe, “Find Your Magic”
Axe left previously juvenile ads behind with a spot that urges teens to “Find Your Magic” and celebrate uniqueness and diversity rather than the traditional tropes of masculinity.
Bud Light, “Bud Light Party”
Capitalizing on election-year buzz, Bud Light enlisted Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan to canvass America to promote “The Bud Light Party.” A cameo by Paul Rudd added to the fun.
Gerzema said the ad was one of the “touchdowns” of the evening as it reconnected the brand to humor.
“This ad brought new energy to a brand that had been stagnant in terms of its cultural relevancy,” he said.
Heinz, “Weiner Stampede”
Budweiser disappointed some viewers by retiring the puppies it featured in ads the past three years. Heinz picked up the slack with an ad that showed dachshunds dressed like hot dogs frolicking in a field to the tune of Harry Nilsson’s “Without You.”
Mountain Dew “Puppymonkeybaby”
Love it or hate it, Mountain Dew’s bizarre ad was one of the most talked about spots of the evening. It shows a creature that was part puppy, part monkey and part baby.
Three pharmaceutical ads struck a jarring tone with viewers. One promoted an anti-diarrhea medication Xifaxan and showed a small-intestines mascot trying to watch a football game. Another sought to raise awareness about “opioid-induced constipation.” A third tackled toe fungus.
“Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong subject,” Kelly O’Keefe, a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said of the constipation ad.
Henkel, “America’s No. 1 Rated”
First-time advertiser Henkel had a tuxedoed spokesman telling viewers that Persil ProClean detergent beat rivals in a test — a generic-feeling ad people have seen many, many times before.
Quicken Loans, “What We Were Thinking”
Quicken Loans, another first-time advertiser, imagined a world where it’s as easy to get a loan on your smartphone as it is to buy music and plane tickets.
“Push button, get mortgage,” the on-screen message reads. Some viewers complained on Twitter that the ad reminded them too much of the 2008 housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis.
Gerzema said the ad was too heavy on economic arguments and light on information about the brand.
“This ad won’t raise awareness of what Quicken does,” he said.
Colonial Williamsburg, “It Started Here”
The tourist destination created an ad that showed historical events going in reverse to illustrate the idea that American history started with Colonial Williamsburg. Some viewers were offended that one of the events was the collapse of the Twin Towers in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.