We saw some really amazingly clever and emotional Super Bowl LI ads. Too bad most of those ads were for cars (I'm no longer in a job that covers cars) and beer. As for the food and drink ads, most of them were okay. But this wasn't the year for food and drink in Super Bowl ads.
The King's Hawaiian Rolls ad was by far the best of the food ads. The ad built on the existing ad campaign of hiding the rolls because they are so good. The dad has a secret compartment in the kitchen not realizing the kid finds them in the grandfather clock. The ad also mentions the new BBQ sauces that are coming this spring. While mixing more than a message in an ad that costs $5.1 million combined with a future message can cut back on the value, the BBQ sauces mention is growth for the company. Presuming this ad will run for awhile, the BBQ sauces become more relevant in the next few months. Just don't make the Blackberry mistake of promoting a product people couldn't get for awhile.
Snickers has a great campaign and has run memorable Super Bowl ads. This was not one of them. Even if you had sound where you were watching the game, the live ad didn't stand out at all. The Western theme dulled the impact of the candy bar. The dialogue was meant to be jumpy because it was live. The beauty of the ads is that one person is jumpy while everyone else is normal. This ad felt like everyone on the set, including the camera person and the director, was hypoglycemic and needed a candy bar with peanuts.
Avocadoes from Mexico had a decent concept on paper: a secret society that isn't so secret. One of the secrets is that avocadoes have good fat. This ad would have been more relevant if the group had just started the ad campaign. The group has run better ads during the Super Bowl and this was not one of them. The brief Jon Lovitz appearance, which had been teased online, had no purpose yet 30 seconds of Lovitz might have been a better sell.
Super Bowl ad analysis in recent years
Those ads were way better than the attempt for pistachios with an elephant on a treadmill. Did the pistachios make him fall? Promoting the protein advantage for pistachios is a good thing (actual nutrition) though you might have wondered whether the elephant would rather have a Snickers.
The two fast food ads were okay to what the hell. Wendy's used Foreigner's current lead singer Kelly Hansen and the group's updated version of Cold As Ice to pound home the theme that Wendy's fast food burgers are fresh, never frozen. Most millennials (sadly) probably can't tell the difference between that version and the Lou Gramm classic. This would have been a better spot at the beginning of this campaign, but the use of the song drives the point home better than the previous spots.
KFC continues to dilute its brand with the Georgia gold ads. The newest KFC "Colonel" is Billy Zane, who I honestly mistook for Kiefer Sutherland. At least Zane is closer to the Colonel than Rob Riggle, who also appears in the ad. Riggle is the literal opposite of Colonel Sanders' gentile image. As we noted, Jim Gaffigan was the best pick of the actors in the role. But KFC has OCD when it comes to replacing the Colonel, a concept that was funny about the time last year when Gaffigan replaced Norm Macdonald. Meanwhile the signature dishes are ignored for honey mustard barbecue. At least Nashville hot chicken is a thing outside of KFC.
McDonald's had a Super Bowl ad but we only count ads that run from 6:30 pm Eastern to the conclusion of the game. But the campaign has definitely taken the "Big" out of the Big Mac.
The Internet went crazy for the Bai ad with Christopher Walken with Justin Timberlake. I like a subtle Super Bowl ad, and Walken reciting 'N Sync lyrics was pretty hilarious. The ad is much better than the product that doesn't off much of anything. Bai probably isn't bad for you, but there isn't much there there.
I'm not a fan of Lebron James or Sprite, but I loved the non-promotion within a promotion within the ad. James told us he won't say "drink Sprite" even if everything else tells us that message. A beautiful ad that will unfortunately led to more Sprite consumption. I don't drink too many soft drinks but you can do better than Sprite.
Coca-Cola ran an ad that reinforces its tradition, tying food to the soft drink. I love the message in the ad, even if it belongs to a time 40 years ago when the soft drink taste could back that up. The food is modern, but the Coca-Cola to go with it existed 40 years ago in the United States. I'm fascinated by the use of nostalgia to sell a current product that isn't relevant to the current product. The Little Debbie's campaign leaps to mind where the ad wants you to go back in a non-existent time machine. A good ad for a product you can only get if you buy Coca-Cola in almost any country other than the United States or Canada.
"Fiji water is a gift from nature to us to repay our gift of leaving it completely alone. Bottled at the source, untouched by man. It's Earth's finest water."
This is the content of the Fiji water ad in Super Bowl LI. English teachers and philosophers would have a joyous time breaking down the first sentence. Fiji water clearly isn't left alone since you are drinking the water. So nature is giving us a gift that goes against the spirit of the gift. That doesn't sound like something nature would do to us. Untouched by man is skeptical since man is bottling the water. The people who are drinking bottled water probably feel bad about fresh water reserves or how the people of Flint need bottled water because the state of Michigan made deliberate decisions to give Flint residents water that they couldn't use for drinking or bathing.
Or perhaps the people who can afford Fiji water can afford to not think about these questions.
At least that was an ad for water. I almost missed the Life WTR ad that didn't sell any water.
Skittles qualifies as food in that you can eat it. The Skittles ad about the lovelorn boy throwing Skittles into an open window was cute and a little over the top. This was the kind ad Skittles should run in a Super Bowl. Skittles will run this ad into the ground and eventually you will be sick of it. But that won't happen for awhile so enjoy.
videos credit: the companies in the ads