Board Members Weigh In on Super Bowl Ads

Unfortunately we couldn’t have Uberbowl this year, so we did the next best thing, asked some of our board members for their favorite and least favorite spots.

Christie Witt Berardi, The Martin Group

My favorite commercial was the BMW i3, “Newfangled Idea.” It might be because of my background in TV news, but the idea of reuniting Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel is journalistic nostalgic gold. This commercial is also proof that our society had no idea how life changing the internet would be for our culture.


Katie Briggs, Crowley Webb

Kia Sorento “The Perfect Getaway Vehicle” – This spot was simple and well executed. It told an entertaining story using both humor and action, all while keeping the actual product at the forefront.

Nationwide’s “Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up” – I respect that they were going for shock value with this spot, but it was the wrong platform. It sucked the air out of the room and left everyone feeling depressed… Not what you want when you’re hosting a party. Yes, we’re all talking about it days later, but it didn’t sit right with me.


Erin Doherty, SKM Group

Doritos “Middle Seat” – We’ve all been in that position before and some of us have probably pulled a few of those tricks to avoid someone taking the seat next to us. I thought it was lighthearted, relatable and simple yet funny.

Least Favorite:
Priceline “Know a Guy” – This spot seemed like all of the other Priceline commercials I’ve seen. There wasn’t anything unique about it and I was ready for the next spot before it even ended. I think it’s time Priceline revisits their approach.


Dan Nesselbush, EcoStar LLC

“Clash of Clans: Revenge”
I want to be entertained during a game when I have no rooting interest in a team. The “Clash of Clans: Revenge” spot was a winner for me. The contrast from the colorful animations of the game to Liam Neeson in a dreary coffee shop grabbed my attention immediately. His intense monologue over something as trivial as a video game while waiting for his scone in a small coffee shop gave the spot the right amount of ridiculousness.  What began as “I’ve seen this game commercial before” turned into an ad where I wanted to hear what Neeson was saying. Clash of Clans scored bonus points for their investment as Neeson not only entertained, but he was on topic about the actual product being advertised the whole time.

“Jublia: Tackle It”
Terrible. I’m at a party with a bunch people eating food and you give me a CGI toe wearing a helmet “tackling” foot fungus? All I can say is I wish I had Jublia’s marketing budget.


Frank Conjerti, Quinlan

Favorite – Loctite Glue
The “uncomfortably weird” humor style has become pretty popular with Old Spice and other big brands, and I think Loctite nailed it.  Plus, they were able to show exactly and efficiently what their product was and how it worked. The weirdness helped them stand out against all the other brands that seemed to be trying to hard. Fanny packs plus mom jeans always equals a winner in my book.

Least Favorite – Mercedes Benz “Fable”
I appreciate how hard Mercedes tried to generate interest in their “Tortoise vs. Hair” campaign. After all, they forced Jerry Rice into teaser spots building up to the Super Bowl.  The spot itself, although beautifully produced, was entirely predictable. We all know the fable, and Mercedes is “sponsoring” the race…who didn’t see this one coming?


Sarah DiPofi, The Martin Group

My favorite Super Bowl ad was Mountain Dew’s Kickstart. I laughed out loud watching it. For anyone unfamiliar with it – these three friends are sitting in a basement and drink a Kickstart. They start dancing, and as they start dancing, objects in the basement start to dance as well. A hanging deer head comes out of the wall and dances, the dog is dancing, a coat hanger is dancing. I thought it was funny seeing these inanimate objects dance and was just an overall entertaining ad. I thought a lot of the ads were somewhat serious, and this was a fun one that brought humor into the mix.


Scott Bartels, HSBC

Favorite – Doritos Airplane
Everyone can relate to sitting on an airplane, watching each person walk down that aisle to see who will claim the dreaded middle seat. This ad had the humor that a Super Bowl spot should have, a little suspense as to what the ad was for and the right brand presence.

Worst – T-Mobile Kim Kardashian

People are sick of Kim Kardashian at this point, aren’t they?  She just over powers this commercial that it distracts from the main message, a key one that sets T-Mobile apart from their competitors. Plus, if that was supposed to be humor, it didn’t work.


Brita d’Agostino, Daemen College

Favorite: P&G Always: Like a Girl
Even though I know this commercial is just here to sell me a product, the overall message of female empowerment engaged me on an emotional level. Advertisers know that women are a huge part of the consumer market. Yeah we are powerful!

Least Favorite: Weight Watchers: All You Can Eat
Yes processed, fatty, sugary food is addictive. But after viewing this commercial, dieting was the last thing I wanted to do. Pass the doughnuts please.


Corey Crossman, The Mac Groups

Favorite Spot:
My favorite spot was probably the BMW ad, “Newfangled Idea,” featuring Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. I thought the creative concept behind it was exceptional, and it was one of the few spots that both entertained me and drew my attention to the product. On a night when too many ads turned me off with pandering attitudes and forced emotional appeal, this was a breath of fresh air, right down to Katie Couric talking about twerking.

Least Favorite:
Make a feature film, travel across the world, build a giant house, give all your employees paid vacations to anywhere, buy 10 Lamborghinis… or throw it all away in 15 seconds at the Super Bowl. Mobile gaming app Heroes Charge decided to go with the ‘throw it all away’ option.

As a Buffalo marketer frequently working on limited budgets, this kind of stuff drives me crazy. Heroes Charge threw $2 million out the window to air a total flop of an ad that got blown away by the better creative and bigger names brought to the table by competitors Game of War and Clash of Clans. You probably didn’t even remember this ad until I brought it up just now, and I’m guessing the rest of America didn’t either. The only thing worse than being remembered for how bad your ad was is not being remembered at all, so this is my big loser of the night.


 Kelsey Hanks

Budweiser – Bond of Clydesdale and Pup
I’m a sucker for peculiar animal friendships and as I knew it would, this spot yanked at my heartstrings. Without a beer in sight, Budweiser’s heavy reliance on pathos resonates with viewers in a nearly nostalgic sense. Budweiser’s varied content – both emotional and comedic – keeps consumers not only entertained, but also loyal to the classic brand.

Least Favorite:
T-Mobile – Help Save the Data
The grimace I made during this spot could not have been what T-Mobile was going for. The use of Kim Kardashian seems to discredit the company; a prominent celebrity, her fame is now mostly due to mockery. Which of course, was the aim of the ad – but I don’t think it worked. Kim K in combination with the faux “help this cause” style confused the messaging and if anything, reminded phone users that they don’t need more data.


Shannon Brady

Least Favorite:
I would have to say the Loctite glue would be my least favorite commercial. The commercial made no sense and was confusing. I felt having a random group of people dancing and singing to a song about glue did not help advertise the product nor was it relevant.

My favorite commercial was P&G Always – Like a girl. I felt that this commercial was relatable and relevant to how girls and women as well as boys and men perceive the ‘like a girl’ stereotype. I also believe it is an eye opener for women as well as men everywhere to rethink using the term ‘like a girl’. 


Tim Marren, SKM Group

Favorite: Dove Men
I’m an easy target for spots that feature dads and kids. With a daughter of my own and another on the way, the emotional aspect of this ad featuring the children calling for “daddy”… I was done. Luckily I saw this spot before the game, so I wasn’t an emotional wreck when I saw it again Sunday.

Didn’t Like: Nissan
I guess I shouldn’t say I’m an easy target for all spots with dads and kids… I’m an easy target for dads, with kids, and a positive message. I don’t exactly think that’s what Nissan accomplished with its dad spot. The idea that a dad, missing through all of his son’s early years cause he’s a race car drive, only to appear at his high school one day driving a cool new Nissan and all of a sudden things are hunky-dory…no thanks.


Matt Low, Crowley Webb

My favorite spot of the night was Snickers’ latest installment. Come on, it had Machete. Slamming an axe into a coffee table. In the Brady Bunch’s living room. And Mr. Pink! This is by far the most fun execution of the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” to date.

The worst spot of the night – and quite possibly the most awful television commercial of all time – was T-Mobile’s failed attempt at humor featuring that self-absorbed, talentless, soulless, pathetic excuse for a human being who will remain nameless. Anything in opposition to eradicating her from our collective psyche is utterly reprehensible.


We want to hear from you as well, share your thoughts on the board’s opinions or what stood out for you while watching the Big Game.

One thought on “Board Members Weigh In on Super Bowl Ads

  1. Bob Gallivan says:

    On the local level, I thought the Basil Nostalgia spot was well done as was M&T’s Veteran Cemetery spot. Good for them for the stepping up. Unusual was ECMC’s obviously dated commercial featuring a healthy looking Jim Kelly.

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