Super Bowl ads: Hits and misses from a local expert


The day after the Super Bowl, people might find themselves at work, congregating around the water cooler and rehashing the big game’s best commercials.

Which ones made you laugh, cry, get angry, or want to puke?

Steve Merino is executive creative director at ab+c, one of the region’s largest ad agencies serving Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware and Bloomsburg. He’s spent the last decade studying what ads turn out to be viral successes and which ads flop.

He claims to have spotted a few trends.

“Usually, Super Bowl ads are reflections of the national sentiment at the time. In 2008 and 2009, when the economy was going in the toilet, commercials were more somber. This year, we returned to silliness,” he said.

RELATED:Blue Hills Brewery’s Tree Beer branching out to more Boston bars

Merino said one commercial that stood out was Mountain Dew’s “puppymonkeybaby,” which depicted a hybrid creature one-third puppy, one-third monkey, one-third baby.

“It was a very strange, odd commercial. Everyone’s talking about how much they hated it. Is there bad publicity? Only time will tell if you can see if there’s any sales increase,” he said.

“I think holistically, while there weren’t a ton of truly groundbreaking spots, a lot of the better spots came in the car category. Hyundai did a nice job with funny spots featuring the new Hyundai.”

The Hyundai commercial features Philly’s own Kevin Hart, who generously lends his brand new 2016 Hyundai Genesis to his daughter’s date for the night. The car is equipped with a Blue Link Car Finder, so that Hart can track his daughter’s whereabouts throughout the night. Hart puts his daughter’s date through hell, popping up in unexpected places.

“It made you think about labels,” said Merino, “and Audi did an awesome job making you think about performance, too. The best job was definitely in the car category.”

Now for the beer drinking target audience, Merino said he noticed something different in the suds department.

“2016 was the first year in over a decade where there was no commercial centered around the Budweiser Clydesdales,” he said.

“They may be rethinking their Super Bowl marketing strategy.”

Merino chalked it up to perhaps a growing popularity of alternative craft brews and micro brews amongst everyday beer drinkers in the U.S.

“If you look at what’s been happening with Budweiser is they’re getting destroyed. They’re getting gobbled up by craft brews and micro brews. They don’t know if it’s in their best interest to drop $30 to $40 million on advertising in Super Bowl commercials.”

RELATED:Rihanna’s ‘Anti’ finally snags a Billboard spot

But a spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch said that maybe those who think that have had a few too many.

“Anheuser-Busch had five ads in the Super Bowl [Sunday]night – one for Bud Light, two for Budweiser, one for Michelob Ultra, and one for Shock Top,” Bud spokeswoman Jen Crichton wrote in an e-mail to Metro.

Moreover, she reiterated the Budweiser Clydesdales aren’t going anywhere either.

“There have never been any plans to remove our beloved Budweiser Clydesdales from our brand identity,” Brian Perkins, vice president of Budweiser wrote in a 2014 press release.

“They’re here to stay and will continue to play a central role in our campaigns, including holidays and Super Bowl.”

More from our Sister Sites