A Californian Superbowl: When Brands Go Football Crazy

So the dust has settled on Superbowl 50, and while there wasn’t a big L in sight (because Superbowl L just looks confusing) we were again treated to a bombardment of brands trying to win our hearts and purse strings over with “limited edition” products and big budget ads. So who were the big winners (excluding the Broncos of course) of Superbowl weekend? Let’s take a look.

T Mobile’s Restricted Bling has to be the most timely ad we seen these last few weeks. We may have reached peak Drake, especially after the Donald Trump version on SNL, but this ad manages to link one of the biggest songs of the last 12 months with a phone brand that’s main competition was Steve Harvey pretending to mess up again. It probably helps too that Drake has some acting chops and knows how to read a script, unlike other awkward celebrity cameo ads we see around this time of year.

We can only imagine that someone chowing down on some Doritos during this ad spat them out in shock straight away. This is a great example of using up the limited time these dear ad spots have with something that will make you laugh, is instantly memorable and is unlike anything else other companies are advertising. This was a smart approach Doritos did this year with Dorito Dog ad and fake Tinder ad too.

packaging design

Bud Light took an ingenious approach with their marketing this year with these custom team cans. It was a novel way of making sure something as simple a beer can could gain collectible status. This packaging was made by international design agency Pearlfisher, who made a can for all 26 teams in the NFL and made sure that even if you hate the Panthers with a passion, you would still be spending Sunday sipping on a Steelers/Dolphins/Giants can like a true fan.

The strangest product to be given an “official” launch during the Superbowl was Taco Bell’s new Quesalupa. With most responses to the new foodstuff (if it can be called such) amounting to questions of just how bad it must be for anyone attempting to eat it, you have to applaud Taco Bell for actually doing a good job of launching a product in the most competitive ad week of the year and raising all sorts of curiosity. It’s the kind of anticipation Hollywood would love to see with new film releases, so who know, maybe we’ll soon see robots running across the screen with a greasy Quesalupa in the next Transformers.

Speaking of Taco Bell, a big part to the company’s success in the late 90’s to early 00’s was their incredibly successful ads featuring a chihuahua called Gidget. Other companies have tried their best to put an animal front and center of their campaigns with notable examples like the Geico Gecko, but no one had decided to make a hybrid animal until Puppymonkeybaby showed up during the 1st quarter. You can see how the people at Mountain Dew through it would look like a cute idea, but in reality they’ve created something capable of giving people nightmares which isn’t what you usually want from your soda.

This in our eyes was the best advertisement to be on TV over the weekend and all for a genius reason: it didn’t look like it was supposed to be on TV at all. Although it fell in lines with being another car ad that tries its best to have nothing to do with a car, every image in this ad was in a portrait ratio that we see all the time on our phones. If the idea of these big budget ads is to be as viral as possible, having an ad which can be viewed easily on a cellphone, and shareable in the process, is such a smart idea.

Unless of course you’re like Peyton Manning and end up saving a big brand millions by simply mentioning their product live on TV simply because you like it:

He may not have been the game MVP, but he is the real MVP of Bud’s marketing department.