February 8, 2016 Heather James

Super Bowl 50 Ads

Watching It For The Ads

By Jesse Selz, TVG Graphic Designer

I’d be lying if I said I was big fan of football, or that I even attend Super Bowl events for the purpose of watching the game. However, there are many other coexisting elements which are persuasive enough to make me an active participant: all the food and refreshments, watching the halftime entertainment, being part of the Super Bowl social-culture, and most importantly—the commercials. As a graphic designer, I’m not ashamed to admit my love for media art, advertisements and graphics is probably greater than the average person. I, like many others, pay more attention to the commercials than the game itself. Needless to say, the Super Bowl has become as much about advertising as it has about football.

During this annual event, we see big brand names try to top the previous year and stand out from the rest. Whether it’s with humor, detailed CGI effects or going for the shock-factor, they know it’s important to be impactful in the thirty-second space they have to convey a message. The pressure is on for these brands that land a spot, and let me tell you…it isn’t cheap. Reports show a thirty-second advertisement during this year’s game cost a cool $5 million, or $166,666 per second, which was $.5 million increase over 2015.

Here are a few of my favorite Super Bowl commercials of 2016 (in no particular order):

1. Doritos: Ultrasound

Doritos never leaves us feeling disappointed. The Doritos Ultrasound commercial turns a beautiful moment of a couple’s experience of getting to see their baby through an ultrasound into a hilarious snack-tastic moment.

2. Marmot: Love the Outside

Marmot hit a home run by warming our hearts with their cutest commercial yet. A man and his furry friend share some touching moments, and they even throw in a witty twist at the end.

3. Audi: Commander

I couldn’t say it any better than Audi does for their Commander video description:

“Surrounded by memories of the Space Age’s golden years, a retired astronaut has lost his zeal for life. But when his son shows up and hands over the keys to the new 205-mph Audi R8 V10 plus, a rocket ride under the stars stirs newfound life within the Commander. It’s a universal reminder that amazing things happen when we choose exploration, technology and the moon.”

4. Acura: NSX

The Acura commercial was unique to not rely on comedy and appropriately let aesthetics/visuals take the lead. However, a dash of comical components—like Van Halen’s vocal screams to embellish the idea of power, was a nice addition to the equation.

5. Mountain Dew Kickstart: Puppymonkeybaby

While there were a handful of successful advertisements, plenty of others missed the mark. Many are declaring the Mountain Dew Kickstart: Puppymonkeybaby commercial as the worst.

On Facebook, the video already has over 58k comments and has stirred mixed emotions. One user writes:

Super Bowl, Super Bowl 50, 2016 Football, NFL, Advertisement, Commercials, mountain dew, Facebook


Although the ‘puppymonkeybaby’ was a strange concept, I will say it was one of the few commercials I felt was memorable, and it started a dialogue. For that, the company gained points in my book for creativity and originality.


What do you think were the best & worst commercials of the 2016 Super Bowl? Tweet us your thoughts @VandiverGroup.



Tagged: , , , , , , , ,