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  • Suzanne Gunther

The Best (and not best) Super Bowl Commercials of 2017


Well the game and the halftime show were the best I have ever seen but the commercials…. went missing from this year’s game.

Perhaps the $5MM per 30second investment prevented the interesting and entertaining commercials from airing. Even brands like Pepsi that sponsored the halftime show didn’t run any commercials. Budweiser had one spot and Doritos was absent altogether. Then you have the brands that paid the hefty price tag but ran previously aired spots…Google, Coke, NFL, KFC, Sprite…please, you can pay $5MM but can't create an original spot for the Super Bowl?

I expected the political commercials and Coke delivered first reminding us what makes America beautiful. 84 Lumber had the boldest spot with a mother and daughter making their way to America from Mexico. The NFL asked us to Live United and even the solo Budweiser ad showed a German immigrant (Busch) coming to America to make his fortune. I appreciate the sentiment but wonder if the people that need reminding of what makes America great were actually paying attention. And with Fox news censoring the 84 Lumber spot by requiring the ending to be changed, well that just goes against everything America stands for.

Removed from consideration are all the movie trailers (though Legion does look good), TV spots for TV shows (lost count after seeing spot for 24 Legacy 9 times!) and video game ads – just can’t count these as actual commercials.

What does that leave us, what does that leave us…. sadly, not much. As I look through my notes I have to say the best overall and consistently funny spots came from…the car manufacturers. Since the VW Darth Vader ad a few years ago, car manufacturers have really stepped up their creative game and continue on that course. I was so pleased not to hear about (and see footage of) car handling, beautiful design, powerful engineering, luxurious interiors…nope…they went right for the funny bone and did not focus on the cars at all. Kudos to Ford, Buick, Honda and Kia who stood out as the four best and laugh out loud funny!

Honorable mention goes to a few strong efforts including Intel with Tom Brady – though I may have been laughing at him and not with him; Febreze – perfect placed bathroom humor; Squarespace – good use of a celebrity; NFL Super Bowl babies – very cute… plus you must have kids or puppies in at least one Super Bowl commercial; Mr. Clean very funny and so true (there is something sexy about a man who cleans); and It’s a 10 hair care – hit the political commentary and was weird and intriguing.

Tried and failed:

Tide spots with stain on shirt started out funny but tried too hard.

Did not like the TurboTax Humpty Dumpty oozing yolk ad.

T-Mobile use of celebrities is just over the top though the 50 Shades of Grey parody was OK – made my husband laugh out loud so that counts for something.

I am so glad the game and halftime delivered because the commercials did not. Here’s to next year and a better effort from the ad community.


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