Like many, I enjoy the Super Bowl ads as much as the game itself.
This, even though last year’s game was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
And that this year’s game features my team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
So, welcome to my third annual review of the 10 Best Super Bowl ads – featuring some of the best and most creative advertising ideas of the year.
Because the going rate for these ads in 2018 is purportedly ~$5 million per :30 spot.
If you’re going to spend that kind of money, your brand’s content needs to be the absolute best.
1. Budweiser (“Stand By You”)
Budweiser has a strong track record with classic Super Bowl ads, ranging from the frogs to Whassup… to ones highlighting social responsibility.
Their Clydesdale commercial following 9/11 was brilliant in its simplicity and a message America needed.
This year, they highlight the water they delivered following the disaster that hit Puerto Rico and Hurricane Harvey..
I already lauded them for the effort here, but it’s a mature and self-assured brand that chooses to revisit that display of civic responsibility rather than go the easy route of hawking more beer with clever humor.
2. Amazon (“Alexa Loses Her Voice”)
Aside from featuring Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos, this ad is clever in both concept and execution.
When Alexa loses her voice, celebrities pitch in to help – from actress Rebel Wilson to chef Gordon Ramsay to acting legend Sir Anthony Hopkins.
3. Lexus (“Black Panther” / “Long Live the King”)
While we’re used to seeing luxury car and watch commercials associated with James Bond films, this is the first time I can recall a Marvel superhero tie-in.
Lexus and Marvel (Disney) teamed up for this commercial featuring the superhero The Black Panther.
Incidentally, pre-sales project the Black Panther solo movie will do more than $400 million in the U.S. alone.
4. Groupon (“Who Wouldn’t?”)
This is interesting primarily because it’s the anti-Amazon ad.
Here, Groupon highlights its ability to help customers support local businesses, rather than a heartless corporate billionaire.
In which a red M&M candy gets his wish to become human…
By transforming into Danny DeVito.
Weird, but memorable.
And somehow endearing.
In terms of brand awareness and audience recall, this was note perfect.
6. Toyota (“Start Your Impossible”)
The very first commercial after the official start of the Super Bowl was its most inspiring.
It showcased the journey of Lauren Woolstencroft, 8x Paralympic gold medalist skier.
And how she beat the odds.
Over and over again.
7. Doritos-Mountain Dew (“Rap Battle”)
Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage).
In a rap battle, repping Pepsi sub-brands Doritos vs. Mountain Dew.
8. E*Trade (“This Is Getting Old”)
“I’m 85 and I wanna’ go home.”
Features 85 year-olds still working all manner of jobs, from firefighter to flame retardant clothing tester to DJ.
Because “Over 1/3 of Americans have no retirement savings. This is getting old.”
The U.S. retirement crisis is real.
This may have been played for humor, but it’s also important social commentary.
9. Tide (“It’s Another Tide Ad”)
One of the best ads of the last decade was the Old Spice series featuring Isaiah Mustafa (“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”).
Here, we’re led to believe it’s a sequel – only to discover it’s another Tide ad.
Nicely done, Tide.
10. Australia (“Dundee”)
I’ll admit. This one had me fooled.
It looked like a Crocodile Dundee re-make featuring Danny McBride as his son, partnered with Chris Hemsworth in a buddy comedy.
Only to reveal it wasn’t a movie trailer, but an Australian tourism ad.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a brand directly take on a competitor.
But Wendy’s went there, calling out McDonalds for their flash-frozen patties.
And then highlighting how their beef is fresh.
Going with its theme of making qualifying for a mortgage easy, this one features Key and Peele alum Keegan Michael Key translating all manner of complex things into plain English.
Febreeze (“Bleep Don’t Stink”)
Simple profile of “Dave,” whose “bleep” don’t stink.
Brought to you by air freshener/cleanser Febreeze.
Kia Stinger (“Feel Something Again”)
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler gets into a Kia Stinger and takes it around the track.
When he exits the car, he is 30 years younger.
The tag line?
“Feel something again.”