The Super Bowl ads once again stole the show for many viewers, despite a nail-biting end to the New England Patriots’ win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Critics were quick to take to social media to crown winners and losers for this year’s roster of commercials. Here’s a snapshot of who won praise for their ads, which cost as much as $4.5 million for 30 seconds, and here’s who may not have spent their money as wisely:
LIKE A GIRL: One of the hits was an ad from Procter & Gamble Co.’s Always, the feminine products maker, that showed people acting out a common insult to girls’ ability to run and throw a ball. Then it showed several young girls—who hadn’t been taught they can’t—demonstrating how they run. Running like a girl, one said, means “run as fast you can.”
“A girl’s confidence plummets during puberty,” the ad said. “But it doesn’t have to. Let’s make #LikeAGirl mean amazing things.” Watch here.
CHEVY DELIVERS HEART ATTACK: Chevrolet had millions of Super Bowl viewers briefly screaming at their TVs before the football game even started. The commercial during the pre-game show began with what appeared to be a live feed of the stadium before the screen flickered, then went black. After several seconds of darkness, the screen read: “What would you do if your TV went out?” then explained how the new Chevy Colorado has built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi that would allow owners to stream the game from inside the truck. Watch here.
PUPPIES ARE USUALLY A HIT: One of Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads again featured the friendship between a puppy and the brand’s famous Clydesdales. In the minute-long spot call “Lost Dog,” the horses broke free from their stable and rescued the lost puppy from a snarling wolf. “Okay, who else got teary eyed at that Budweiser #BestBuds commercial?” wrote one Twitter user. Watch here.
DORITOS GOES FOR LAUGHS: Doritos Super Bowl ad got a mostly positive reaction from viewers. The spot featured a man who told a boy he’d give him a Dorito “when pigs fly.” The boy straps a pig to a rocket then flies it across across the sky. “Here, take it,” the man says, handing him the bag of chips. Watch here.
NATIONWIDE’S DOWNER: One of the most somber commercials was Nationwide’s ad titled “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up.” The spot featured a young boy who said he would never learn to ride a bike, travel the world or get married. “I couldn’t grow up because I died from an accident,” he said, before the camera cut to an overflowing bathtub, poisonous cleaning products and a fallen TV set.
The insurance company meant well, reminding viewers that Nationwide wants to help keep kids safe from preventable accidents, but it was widely derided on Twitter as depressing. About 64 percent of the feedback on social media was negative, the worst of any brand advertising in the Super Bowl, according to research from Amobee, a digital marketing platform.
BEER INSULT BACKFIRES: One ad that may have backfired was Budweiser’s “Brewed the Hard Way.” The spot took a jab at devotees of the craft beer movement, saying “let them sip their pumpkin peach ale. We’ll be brewing us some golden suds.”
Mashcraft Brewing, a local microbrewery in Greenwood, Indiana, responded on Twitter by saying: “Well done @Budweiser! Half of the country just said, ‘mmmm…Pumpkin Peach Ale.’” Dogfish Head Brewery hinted the ad may have given them an idea for a new flavor, tweeting: “Hmmmm…. Pumpkin Peach Ale.” Watch here.
NISSAN’S GUILT TRIP: One clear miss was Nissan’s second- quarter ad, titled “With Dad,” which featured a race car driver who is often away from his young son. The spot, set to Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” provoked many tweets from viewers who said it made them feel guilty, particularly as they watched the championship game without their kids.
“Nissan: the official car of Distant Fathers,” read one tweet. Watch here.
HELMET-WEARING TOE: One ad widely derided on Twitter was the spot by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.’s Jublia, a toenail fungus remover. The spot from the first-time Super Bowl advertiser featured a cartoon foot with yellow toenails wearing a football helmet on the big toe.
“Dear Jublia: Toenail fungus isn’t cute, even if you put a football helmet on it,” one person tweeted, while another wrote “Anyone else think that Jublia ad should be run at 3 am on the local sports cable channel?” Watch here.