The Greatest Show on Earth (And that’s just the ads…)

The Greatest Show on Earth (And that’s just the ads…)

Earlier this week, we saw the annual clamour for what has been commonly dubbed the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ – a phenomenon thats interest has steadily grown year on year to now epic proportions, driving global conversation and monumental commercial activity. The most expensive ticket to Super Bowl 50 – contested by the Carolina Panthers and eventual winners, Denver Broncos – was a cool $14,773, giving a little insight to the kind of money this sporting colossus commands.

There’s so much more to the occasion than just sport, however – the eagerly anticipated half-time show and annual battle of the ‘Super Bowl Ads’ have become as central to the showpiece, if not more so, than the ‘Football’.

So, for our team blog week, we thought we’d delve into the archives and select our all-time favourite Super Bowl Ads or campaigns from down the years – from the brilliantly innovative, to the weird and wonderful, it was quite a journey….Enjoy x

Ally’s said:

It was a tough choice trying to select a favourite Super Bowl Ad of all time. In researching the various ‘best of’ selections found online, and the countless commentaries on why one ad should be considered superior to another, I was actually taken aback by the sheer variety of what was out there. There was the usual plethora of global beer brands, car brands, snack brands etc that have became mainstays of the Super Bowl circus – but there were other notable inclusions (some of which are detailed for your viewing pleasure at the bottom of the blog), from commercials for cat food and lingerie, to hard-hitting ads highlighting the issue of domestic abuse. All have their place in some regard (even the bad ones) and I was torn between a number of great ads.

In the end, I decided to plump for a campaign, rather than a one-off ad , as my all time favourite. It stuck out for me on a number of levels – not least the fact that it was for UK beer brand Newcastle Brown, which unbeknown to me is a big success in the US (it was voted America’s 4th favourite beer in a 2012 poll – who knew….)

It also had a fantastically simple but brilliantly creative premise at its centre. Rather than make a brilliant Super Bowl Ad, they simply talked about making one.

With a media budget for the whole year equal to about half the $4 million price tag for 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast, actually making an ad wasn’t even an option for them. Instead, they created a whole platform – – dedicated to the premise that if the brewer had made a Super Bowl ad, it would have been an epic, show-stealing blockbuster.

The campaign comprised a series of online videos ‘teasing’ the ad that would never be. The biggest masterstroke being the recruitment of Hollywood actress Anna Kendrick to play the shunned ‘beer ad girl’ who’d been dropped at the last minute. Kendrick’s self-deprecating monologue became the centre piece of the campaign and delivered over half of the campaigns 10 million online views.

The campaign had a brilliantly self-deprecating tone of voice through out, not least in respect to the brand itself, something that’s become a mainstay of their ads and content since.

Anyway, I’ll shut up now and leave you to enjoy just a few of the 15 pieces of content that were produced for the campaign.

Kes said:

I have been a die-hard, regular, loyal fan of American football since all of October of last year. Much like American Football, adverts can be a little tedious at times.  Though I enjoy both, I have to say the majority of what is out there is what you would technically call guff.

So, having been asked to look for my favourite Super bowl advert, I went in search of some advertising gold. Something you think might be easy; the average cost of a 30 second advert during the Super Bowl this year was a staggering $4.5 million. That’s $150,000 a second. Blink, and you’ve missed $52,500 worth of ad! This should attract some pretty impressive campaigns right…wrong.

There have been a fair few howlers, and the one I have chosen probably fits in to that bracket for many. Even I am not a huge fan, but it shows the power of advertising, and the huge creative envelope in which we are all involved. And the truth is, I do kind of like it, but hate it too. Though I don’t love to hate it…I ain’t no hater.

Just saying the word Budweiser and I’m sure some of you will have already guessed my pick.


BUD     WEIS      ERRR……how about now?

Still no? Then just watch this:

I was quite shocked when I found that this advert first aired during the Super Bowl in 1995. Shocked because I remember the ad. I was 9 years old…on a farm…in Wales with 4 channels on my telly, one of which was welsh. Now I know it came to the UK later, and the campaign ran for several years. But I still think that’s pretty impressive.

This longevity has nothing to do with the product, but the memories of the ad and the association are still there. In fact the advert itself had no real relation to the beer whatsoever, other that the sporadic unsystematic utterings of the affable amphibians. As the characters developed throughout the series, the product actually became less and less prominent.

I guess the reason I have chosen this ad is to do with what I mentioned previously about the creative envelope in which we work. We are lucky to work with an incredibly creative, artistic and imaginative collection of people. We are also fortunate to be challenged in our abilities to produce innovative campaigns and strategies for our clients.

We are often told to push the boundaries in our thought processes, and I think this advert defines a part of that. It couldn’t have been an easy initial pitch for this campaign, but the inspired minds behind it took it all the way.

So I say take a bow Anheuser-Busch, Goodby, Silverstein & Partnersand, and you too Gore Vabinski, for delivering an annoyingly unforgettable advert.

Anyone for a beer? Not bud though, I don’t really like it.

Claire B said:

Although I did love Volkswagon’s “The Force” in 2011 my award for best Super Bowl commercial of all time has to go to Apple for their 1984 ad, directed by Ridley Scott, introducing the first Macintosh Computer at Super Bowl XVIII…

Hailed by many as the ‘gamechanger’ in Suber Bowl advertising and by others – namely TV Guide and Advertising Age magazines – as the greatest commercial of all time, Apple enlisted the help of Oscar nominee Ridley Scott, who had just directed Bladrunner at the time, to create this masterpiece of advertising.  Commercially the ad was a HUGE success, leading Apple to more than $150 million in sales in the first 100 days of the Mac’s debut, but beyond that and the reason I have chosen it as my favourite is, this ad that introduced the idea that Super Bowl commercials were entertainment in themselves.

The ad was also extremely artistic and symbolic, through this ad Apple positioned themselves as the heroic renegade (Anya Mayor) that would take on the ‘powers that be’, in this case IBM. By setting the ad in a dystopic, industrial environment based on George Orwell’s, 1984 novel Apple positioned their rivals IBM as controlling, unchallenged domineers and themselves as the hope for the future. Genius!

Since Super Bowl XVIII, brands have been furiously competing, essentially, to be the next ‘1984’ and for that reason alone I think Apple deserves the top spot.

Katie Said:

A quick Google search for the best Super Bowl adverts led me to Wired’s best (and worst) Super Bowl 2016 commercials, and boy, are there some weird ones out there this year.

We all know how difficult it is in this day and age to capture someone’s attention and, more importantly, to hold that person’s attention. But as Wired states in their roundup, the Super Bowl seems to have become an exception to the rule – viewers anticipate these adverts, they become “appointment viewing” rather than a nuisance to sit through, or your opportunity to make a cup of tea if that’s your beverage of choice.

Super Bowl adverts have become almost as big a spectacle as the sporting event itself, and it’s all over in 30 seconds. That’s roughly $166,667 per second, even more if the ad is longer – however, according to Kantar Media that measly $5,000,000 could generate $2.19 billion in sales.

Anyway, enough numbers, here’s a couple that stood out for me.

Audi: “Choosing the moon brings out the best in us”

It makes sense that a brand whose motto is Vorsprung durch Technik (in English, “Advancement through Technology”) would choose to celebrate the golden years of the Space Age and the very best in new automobile technology. And, in my opinion, if you feature someone of an older generation and a solid soundtrack then you will secure my emotional involvement in your advert.

Mountain Dew: “Three awesome things, combined”

“How about this, fellas – everyone loves puppies, right? How about monkeys? Babies? I would bet $5,000,000 that people would LOVE a singing, dancing puppymonkeybaby hybrid. Right?!”

That is how I’m assuming the pitch for this Mountain Dew Kickstart ad unfolded. Watch it and decide for yourself – I was a little disturbed…but at the same time wanted to watch it again. I think the 19million+ YouTube views it has amassed should be taken into account when considering its effectiveness, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a strange, strange creation.

Some other notable contenders who were extremely unlucky not to make our Uber Super Bowl Super list were…

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