Super Bowl XLIX is officially in the record books. As the ad industry breathes a collective sigh of relief and slowly emerges from its social media war rooms to confront the rest of the year, Momentology has surveyed the inspiration-filled, dad-packed, shocking, depressing, disappointing, double-take-causing 2015 Super Bowl ad landscape to dissect which brands provided the most memorable moments to millions of captive viewers. Here’s our take on which brands stood out – and why.
Biggest Surprise: Fiat and Supercell
Electronics retailer Radio Shack had a surprise hit on its hands last year with its homage to the ’80s that left everyone buzzing. This year, there were two dark horses.
Italian automaker Fiat certainly had a surprise winner on its hands with its slightly risqué spot The Fiat Blue Pill. The ad was ranked third overall, with an average rating of 6.9 out of 10, per USA Today’s Ad Meter, in which 7,000 consumer panelists rated each of the 61 Super Bowl XLIX commercials on a scale of 1 to 10.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAcLViTHDOo
The 60-second spot, which could perhaps even be considered a cross-promotional effort for the little blue pill it features, takes a humorous look at how the new 500X crossover model got so powerful. The YouTube video has 360,000 views and the hashtag #500X generated about 1,100 tweets in 24 hours, per social search and analytics firm Topsy.
Another unexpected hit came from game developer Supercell, which is the company behind the game Clash of Clans. It enlisted the help of action star Liam Neeson in its Revenge spot and not only does the YouTube video have 8.6 million views and counting, it also ranked 17th among Super Bowl ads overall with an Ad Meter rating of 6.1.
Best Repurposed Content: Always
Procter and Gamble feminine hygiene brand Always had a viral hit on its hands when it first released its #LikeAGirl video in June 2014 to “[kick] off an epic battle to make sure that girls everywhere keep their confidence throughout puberty and beyond, and [make] a start by showing them that doing it #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing.”
The original spot has 54.5 million views.
The brand cut down the 3‑minute spot for Super Bowl XLIX and had another winner. The abbreviated version was ranked the number two ad overall by Ad Meter and had an average score of 7.1.
In addition, the hashtag #likeagirl generated 272,000 mentions in 24 hours, per Topsy.
In addition, Twitter says Always was the second most talked about brand on the network during the game with 455,695 mentions.
Best of the Inspirational Content: Microsoft and McDonald’s
Of the many brands that embraced inspirational messaging in 2015, a few stood out.
Microsoft’s Braylon spot, which is part of the brand’s #empowering video series that “[celebrates] empowering stories of people who achieve their goals, helped in part by Microsoft technology,” was rated the fourth ad overall with a score of 6.7, per Ad Meter. Further, the hashtag #empowering generated 13,000 tweets in 24 hours, according to Topsy.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLXRt-qRBfU
McDonald’s, too, struck a chord with its Pay with Lovin’ spot, which ranked 10th with a score of 6.5 from Ad Meter. It also has 2.9 million views as of February 2.
What’s more, TV advertising analytics firm Ace Metrix gave the McDonald’s spot an Ace Score, or a metric that examines persuasion and watchability, of 704 and tweeted, “We’re thinking @McDonalds’ ad will be the one to beat.”
And, per Twitter, McDonald’s was the most talked about brand this year with 634,310 mentions during the live window of the game.
It is also notable that Coca-Cola was no slouch in the inspiration department with its anti-web-bullying #MakeItHappy spot, which Ad Meter rated eighth overall with a score of 6.5. The YouTube version has 2.6 million views and the hashtag spurred 102,000 mentions in 24 hours, according to Topsy.
Best of Dadvertising: Toyota
Of all the dad ads, Toyota’s My Bold Dad ranked highest per Ad Meter, coming in at seventh overall with a rating of 6.6. On YouTube itself, the ad has about 100,000 views and the hashtag #OneBoldChoice, which was associated with Toyota’s broader campaign, had about 5,600 mentions in 24 hours, per Topsy.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un6uP6cykgo
Nissan’s 90-second #withdad spot was close behind at ninth on Ad Meter’s list with a score of 6.5. It has 1.4 million views and the hashtag has about 22,000 mentions.
Dove Men+Care, which also went to the dad well in its #RealStrength spot, was ranked 13th overall by Ad Meter.
Best of the Typical Fare: Bud Light
Bud Light also scored big with its Coin spot featuring “a real-life game of PacMan [for] one Bud Light fan who was #UpForWhatever.” It ranked 16th overall, according to Ad Meter, and has 14.2 million views.
Per YouTube, this Super Bowl spot was the platform’s second most popular this year, behind only Budweiser’s Lost Dog.
And, according to Viral Video Charts, the spot had a true reach of nearly 5 million as of January 30.
Best at Bumming Out Viewers: Nationwide
After teasing a quirky and fun spot with writer/actress Mindy Kaling and the hashtag #InvisibleMindy, Nationwide delivered a payoff in the form of spokesman Matt Damon in Invisible, which Ad Meter ranked 21st overall with a score of 5.9.
Further, Kaling herself tweeted a photo of the selfie she took with Damon from her own Twitter account in a post that generated 14,000 retweets and 33,000 favorites.
From there, however, the insurance brand took a decidedly darker turn in its Make Safe Happen spot, which focused on preventable accidents as the leading cause of childhood deaths. It has about 1.5 million views and the #makesafehappen hashtag spurred 5400 mentions, but the heavy theme didn’t go over well with football-watching consumers, who ranked it 46th on Ad Meter with an average score of 4.8.
Best Surprise Cameo: Esurance
Poor Lindsay Lohan. She just can’t win.
Lohan’s spot for insurance brand Esurance was a humorous but forgettable one, while actor Bryan Cranston’s surprise re-appearance as meth kingpin Walter White in the brand’s second spot, Say My Name, was third on Ad Meter’s list of the Most Underrated Super Bowl commercials of 2015 and was ranked 24th overall with score of 5.7.
Interestingly, Cranston’s former co-star, Aaron Paul, did voiceover work for Weight Watchers’ first Super Bowl commercial, which included perhaps a more subtle nod to the role that rocketed him to fame alongside Cranston. Ad Meter ranked it 41st.
Best “Real-Time” Campaign: Chevy
American auto brand Chevy fooled a lot of viewers into thinking their TVs had gone out in a spot meant to hammer home a point about built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi in its Colorado model. Ad Meter rated it 39th overall with a score of 5.1.
Biggest Carbon Copies: Budweiser and Jeep
Budweiser had another big winner in recycling the puppy theme from its huge 2014 hit, Puppy Love, in 2015’s #BestBuds, which was Ad Meter’s top ad overall this year and received an average rating of 8.1. That gives Budweiser the best overall ad for the third year in a row, Ad Meter says.
It seems consumers haven’t tired of the content as the second spot has an impressive 21 million views to date and counting. And, per Twitter, with nearly 372,000 mentions during the live game window, Budweiser was the third most-talked-about brand on Twitter on February 1. In addition, Jeep’s 90-second Beautiful Lands spot was similar to Coke’s #AmericatheBeautiful ad last year and The North Face’s Your Land spot. But it still resonated with Super Bowl viewers, ranking 15th with a score of 6.1, Ad Meter says.
Biggest Super Bowl Ad Hangover: Jublia
Hoping to capture the attention of the 1 in 10 Americans who suffer from toenail fungus, Jublia made a big play in the 2015 game with its Tackle It spot, but it was ranked the second worst ad overall by Ad Meter with a score of just 3.2 and only 3,700 views on YouTube.
In other words, the Super Bowl’s first-ever toenail fungus spot came in 60th out of 61 ads and, in the clear light of day, Valeant executives may well wish they had allocated that $4.5 million differently.
What do you think was most memorable about the Super Bowl ads this year?