The New England Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history last night, while the Atlanta Falcons executed a choke – the likes of which we’ve probably never seen. But while Super Bowl LI will be remembered for the incredible game, as usual, there were a whole host of advertisements to sink our teeth into as well.
If you’re not familiar with the Super Bowl and its reputation for providing some of the best adverts of the year, just consider that each 30 seconds segment costs the advertiser around a whopping $5 million. So they’re usually worth watching! This year was especially interesting given the current political climate in the States. Here’s our rundown of the best adverts from Super Bowl 51:
Budweiser – “Born The Hard Way”
Probably the advert you’re going to be hearing most about (on Trump’s Twitter account anyway) is Budweiser’s controversial “Born The Hard Way.” Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser’s owners, say the advert was not created with political intent – but it’s hard not to find the parallels with the advert telling the fictional story of Adolphus Busch, a man who leaves Germany for America in 1857 to follow his dreams of becoming a master brewer. Lines such as, “You don’t look like you’re from around here!” probably tell you all you need to know.
Airbnb – “We Accept”
Another politically charged advert shown during Super Bowl 51 was Airbnb’s “We Accept”. Simple in concept as well as execution, Airbnb show a host of faces, each of a different sex, race, religion and sexual orientation, and conclude with the simply message of #WeAccept…
Mercedes-Benz – “Easy Driver”
One of the more light-hearted ads this Super Bowl Sunday was a classy Easy Rider spoof directed by the Coen brothers for Mercedes. The ad shows a gang of bikers in a bar playing pool and head-butting one another while ‘Born to Be Wild’ is blurting on the jukebox in the background. Suddenly the music stops and a Mercedes outside is blocking the bikers in. It’s only Peter Fonda driving past in an AMG GT Roadster. “Still looking good,” exclaims one of the female bikers.
National Geographic – “Genius”
Want to see Geoffrey Rush playing Albert Einstein playing the violin to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’? Of course you do, and National Geographic provided such a sight with the adverts for their new series Genius; a series which focuses on… well… a genius each series.
Squarespace – “Who is JohnMalkovich.com?”
Probably our favourite non-politically charged ad from the Super Bowl, however, is this incredibly meta skit from Squarespace in association with the always hilarious John Malkovich. The web domain seller managed to get John Malkovich to rage and drop swears as he realises he doesn’t own the website JohnMalkovich.com. Simple and so very effective.
84 Lumber – “The Entire Journey”
While Bud and Airbnb will probably grab the headlines, 84 Lumber, an American building materials supplier, provided the most striking advert of the year. The original spot was rejected by Fox for being too controversial, so a slightly watered-down version was aired during the game. “The Entire Journey” originally showed a Mexican mother and her daughter cross a wall as they hit the US border – just like the Trump one, yes – but as it was rejected, the new advert just showed a barbed-wire fence. It’s still an incredibly powerful piece of advertising.
T-Mobile – “#UnlimitedMoves”
T-Mobile loves a celeb, and this year it was Justin Bieber’s turn to have some fun. Alongside New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski and former NFL superstar Terrell Owens, Bieber partakes in an “unlimited moves” touchdown celebrations competition. What more could you want?!
Honda – “Yearbooks”
Honda have grown a reputation in the last decade of being the kings of advertising with consistently excellent innovative spots. This year they went celeb heavy with mixed results. The concept is simple enough with nine stars – Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, Missy Elliott, Stan Lee, Jimmy Kimmel and Viola Davis – emerging from their embarrassing high school yearbook photos. There’s then some ‘follow your dreams’ and ‘never give up’ fluff – all very Super Bowl-friendly but no less amusing!