Detour! My Favorite Ads from SuperBowl Sunday

Hi everyone! As everyone reading this is aware, last night was Super Bowl Sunday, otherwise known as advertising's biggest night. In the past few years the night's become something of a contest between the largest agencies, to one-up each other with creative, clever, and powerful ads from a bevy of multi-million dollar clients. With that said, as someone who works in advertising and watched the big game all the way through, I thought I'd gather up my five favorite ads of the night for you all here. Enjoy! Next week, we're back to our last two installments of Close-Reading Everything.

5. It's A Tide Ad

Sometimes originality is overrated. Kicked off by the video above, the central premise, that the sheer quantity of clean clothes in advertising means they're all secretly Tide ads, is genuinely interesting and clever. The campaign wasn't done with just a single video, however. In a display of exceedingly clever media buying, Tide placed short TV spots all throughout the night, replicating some of the most memorable ads from past Super Bowls but adding their own twist. It's a smart, fun, memorable campaign, and deserves to be recognized as such.

4. Celebrations To Come: The NFL

Another display of clever media buying, the NFL had some good fun. Throughout the game, viewers had been teased with short ads showing Eli Manning asking various members of his team if they were all prepared for an upcoming event we could only guess at. Then, late in the third quarter, the spot above played, paying off all the hype with a playfully hilarious, way over-the-top touchdown celebration as a salute to one of the more enjoyable aspects of football.

3. The Anti-Manifesto: Jeep

"Show, don't tell." That's the most fundamental piece of writing advice that exists, and for good reason. Bland exposition, narration, or expounding is always inferior to vivid description or figurative language. Jeep decided to embrace that with their Super Bowl spot, in which the capabilities of their newest stand as their manifesto. A strikingly simple video made even more striking when compared to the pontificating of certain other brands, this jeep ad is a refreshing change of pace, a powerful statement of brand identity, and genuinely interesting piece of film.

2. Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice

Sometimes, having a damn good time is the order of the day, and this advertisement is pretty much the very best version of that possible. From the hilarity of watching Peter Dinklage and Morgran Freeman lip sync a rap battle to the incredible way they each commit to their piece to the fun cameos in each, this spot seems like it must have been just as much fun to make as it is to watch and displays the high point of advertising as entertainment.

1. Good Odds: Toyota

It really doesn't get much better than this. A clever premise with a strong emotional core that gets executed to perfection, this ad manages to inspire and move in equal measure. This is everything a good TV spot can be when it wants to have an impact, an emotionally powerful, genuinely interesting, and potentially meaningful work of film that's just as wonderful to watch as it is memorable after it is watched. May everyone else in the industry follow their lead.  (Also, it's worth mentioning that Toyota was absolutely on fire last night, and their "One Team" ad was also excellent.)

Let me know any of your favorites in the comments below!

With excitement and optimism,

Alex