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Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials 2014

Michael Stocks

It’s that time of year again when hundreds of millions of people sit down for the annual festival of advertising, not Cannes, but the Superbowl. While some consider this a sporting fixture, they are mistaken! The 80 minutes of football is merely there to fill in the gaps between the ads, mortar between the bricks if you like.

While the Seahawks won the sideshow by a landslide, here’s the verdict on who came on top in the advertising stakes.

 10. Honda – Hugfest

Agency: RPA

While Bruce Willis’s voice alone would have carried this commercial all the way to the end zone (first and last pun, I promise), there was a nice comedic twist when Fred Armisen got all Pulp Fiction on us at 0:21 with his clingy embrace. Really clever from Honda, bringing a hygiene factor like safety right into the living room of millions of American homes through the simple act of a hug.

9. Coca Cola – America is beautiful

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, USA

On a day so heavily laden in patriotism, which often ferments into unwarranted nationalism, it was great to see this multilingual reminder from Coke that being American takes many shapes and forms. It’s certainly one of the few brands in the world that has the luxury of not overtly focusing on its product, preferring to spend time reflecting the lives of its consumers. 

8. Budweiser – A hero’s welcome

Agency: Anomaly, New York

Stirring piece from Budweiser about welcoming a soldier home. Skylar Grey’s backing track makes it all the more engaging.

7. Radio Shack – The Call

Agency: Grey, New York

Making an entire commercial out of one of the oldest insults in the book – brilliant. Physically emptying an entire store sends a pretty clear message about brand rejuvenation to consumers. To top it off, it’s backed by Loverboy’s ‘Working For The Weekend’, easily the best thing to come out of the 80’s.

6. Turbotax – Love Hurts

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy

Portland based shop Wieden & Kennedy getting a fantastic job making automated taxation software a topic of conversation for millions of consumers, at a time when exactly zero of them would have been talking about it otherwise. Well done boys.

5. Kia – The Truth

Agency: David & Goliath

Never in a million years would I have picked Morpheus pushing Kia’s in this Matrix inspired piece created by challenger brand agency David & Goliath. Spectacle aside, it does a pretty impressive job of helping you shed Kia’s perception as a lower end brand, while querying the notion that luxury cars are ‘just better’.

4. Microsoft – Empowering

Agency: Unlisted

Despite the company spending a mammoth $1.23bn on marketing in 2012, this was the first year that they have run a spot during the big game – and what a spot it was! It centres around former NFL star Steve Gleason, who is currently battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. Notwithstanding his illness, Gleason uses a Surface tablet with eye-tracking technology to narrate the ad. It’s a rare mix of inspiring and genuine that really delivers for Microsoft.

3. Doritos – Time Machine

One of the few ads that genuinely made me laugh out loud. The ad was one of five finalists for Dorito’s Crash The Superbowl competition, where budding advertisers could win $1 million by submitting an ad they made and ultimately have that ad air during the Superbowl. It was an incredible success in outsourcing the creative process, a somewhat worrying trend for those working in the industry (gulp…)

2. Budweiser – Puppy Love

If Passenger’s dulcet tones didn’t send a shiver down your spine whilst watching this, I don’t know what will. Not since the days of Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King have I seen such an emotional portrayal of a cross-species friendship.

Bravo Bud. Bravo.

1. Jaguar – Rendezvous

Agency: Spark 44

Who would have thought Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong and Tom Hiddleston would ever team up, yet alone team up to sell cars? In terms of theatrics, Jaguar absolutely nailed this 60 second piece. Like Microsoft, this was Jaguar’s first Superbowl slot and they certainly made a lasting impression with their debut.  

Michael is the Marketing Manager at Young Wisdom. He writes about advertising, marketing and social media on his blog at stocksstandard.com

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