This year’s Super Bowl ads ran the gamut from tame humor to … tame messages about social causes.
After a divisive year Authentic Justin Houston Jersey , advertisers during the Big Game worked overtime to win over audiences with messages that entertained and strove not to offend. The slapstick humor and sexual innuendo that used to be commonplace during Super Bowl ad breaks were nowhere in sight.
Instead, Budweiser , as always the largest advertiser during the game, eschewed the usual puppies and Clydesdales to showcase employees that send water to places in need. Verizon showed people thanking first responders who saved them. And Tide tried to make people laugh (and perhaps forget about its Tide Pod problem ) with a humorous series of ads that starred ”Stranger Things”’ actor David Harbour.
”This is a year where people are feeling a little frayed around the edges because the divisive political environment on both sides,” said Kelly O’Keefe, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter. ”They want to feel like there’s something still good in the world.”
While the Philadelphia Eagles bested the New England Patriots in a nailbiter on the field, advertisers were fighting a similar battle to win over the hearts and minds of viewers. It’s the largest live stage for advertising all year, so advertisers brought their A-game.
Tide took a novel approach with ads each quarter that poked fun at typical Super Bowl ads. Harbour popped up in familiar-looking ads that appear to be about different products: a car, an insurance company, jewelry and Old Spice (another P&G product). The twist? They’re really all Tide ads, because there are no stains on anyone’s clothing.
Tame comedy like the Tide ad was a theme throughout the night. In a year that saw the (hash)MeToo movement shine a spotlight on sexual harassment, the vast majority of ads sill starred men but there weren’t any that focused on scantily-clad women or sexual innuendo, save for an awkwardly dancing – and fully dressed – woman in a Diet Coke ad.
Comedian Keegan Michael-Key cut through complex jargon to put things plainly in a humorous ad for Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. When a restaurant patron is confused by what a ”beef-protein gluten-free pate” is, he explains: ”It’s a burrito, filled with plants pretending to be meat.”
An Amazon ad showcased different celebrities – including actress Rebel Wilson, actor Anthony Hopkins, singer Cardi B and chef Gordon Ramsay – filling in as the voice of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
M&M’s featured Danny DeVito as a human M&M. And Mountain Dew and Doritos staged an epic hip-hop lip sync battle between actors Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage. The two synced to Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes, respectively.
”There’s a reason so many marketers are using celebrity combined with comedy – because it breaks through the clutter, delivers the message and gets buzz,” said Aaron Shapiro, CEO of ad agency Huge.
An ad for Blacture, rapper Pras’ new media platform, was one of the few ads to make an overtly political statement. It showed an African-American man standing alone on stage with tape over his mouth and a blindfold on his eyes. ”Blacture. Be celebrated. Not Tolerated,” text on the screen read. And T-Mobile’s ad showed babies and enlisted Kerry Washington for a voiceover that talked about equality.
”The (T-Mobile) message is terrific but all the way through Customized Dallas Cowboys Jerseys , if you asked consumers who the ad is for, nobody would know,” said Kimberly Whitler, marketing professor at the University of Virginia.
That kind of attempt to connect brands to social causes was a big theme of the night. Charles Taylor, a marketing professor at Villanova University, said a fifth of all Super Bowl ads featured causes, compared with just 6 percent last year.
Toyota kicked things off by depicting the story of Lauren Woolstencroft, a Paraolympic skier who was born missing her left arm below the elbow as well as both legs below the knees, to promote its Paralympic sponsorship.
Budweiser showcased employees from its Cartersville, Georgia, brewery as they canned water to send to places in need like Puerto Rico and California.
Hyundai showcased its donations to fight pediatric cancer by bringing real Hyundai owners into a room during the pre-game Super Bowl festivities and letting them meet cancer survivors. Hyundai donates each time someone buys one of its cars.
”There’s a lot of research that says millennials really like it when brands link themselves to causes,” said Taylor. ”It’s just refreshing for a lot of people to see these unifying types of messages by the advertiser.”
But advertisers can stumble in these efforts when the connection seems tenuous. There was some negative reaction when Fiat Chrysler’s Ram trucks ad featured a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. The commercial, timed to the 50th anniversary of the speech, showed people doing good deeds like giving out food to the needy and rescuing a boy from a fire.
”Everyone was offended,” said Zach Mann, who watched the game in Venice, California, with a group of 15 thirtysomethings. ”It seems insensitive. We know it’s Black History Month, but using an American hero to sell a Dodge was off-putting.” (Ram trucks are no longer affiliated with the Dodge brand.)
Instead, it was the humorous ads like the Tide spots that won that group over.
”Everyone seems to be moving into more comedy, quirky, unique (ideas), which my friends and I all are enjoying way more” than past years Customized Denver Broncos Jerseys , M
WASHINGTON — Red-hot Mark Reynolds and the Washington Nationals will go for the sweep in the finale of their four-game series against the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
Reynolds followed up his dramatic walk-off homer Friday night with two homers and a career-high 10 RBIs Saturday night as the Nationals demolished the Marlins 18-4.
In five at-bats, Reynolds homered, doubled, singled, homered and singled to tie his career high for hits along with the Nationals’ RBI mark.
“Yeah that’s like a good two weeks,” Reynolds said. “I mean like my last hit a guy dove and it went off his glove and went into left field. You got a little luck involved. Sometimes you just take a good swing the night before and feel confident going into the next day and that’s what happened.”
Since their team meeting following a July 4 loss to the Red Sox the Nationals (45-43) have won three straight, scoring 35 runs.
Manager Dave Martinez should rest easy, but now has a pleasant problem: where to put the righty Reynolds on Sunday when the Marlins pitch a right-hander and his other two first base options are lefty hitters.
“I’ve seen him like this, when he gets hot like this he can stay hot for a while, so we’ll have to figure something out,” Martinez said.
The Marlins got homers from Starlin Castro, J.T. Realmuto and Yadiel Rivera against Max Scherzer in a game that was tied 3-3 going to the bottom of the fifth before Washington pulled away for its 14th straight win over Miami.
“We haven’t had any success with them in a while now,” manager Don Mattingly said. “They’re a good lineup up and down, but we’ve pitched better than this.”
Scherzer (11-5) picked up his first win since June 5. Washington had been shut out in three of his past five starts.
“I remember I said after Tampa the run support is going to be there,” he said. “These guys are too good.”
Miami rookie Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.26 ERA) opposes right-hander Tanner Roark (3-10, 4.60) in the finale.
Roark is looking for his first win since June 6. Last time out he allowed nine runs on 10 hits — including two home runs — over seven innings of a loss to the Red Sox as he stayed in after a six-run fifth to save the arms in a tired bullpen.
“That’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Roark told MLB.com. “So other than two pitches, I feel like they base-hit me to death. What are you going to do?”
Roark is 5-8 with a 3.99 ERA in 22 games against the Marlins. Martin Prado is 10-for-23 against Roark and J.T. Realmuto is 10-for-26. Justin Bour is 5-for-29 but three of the hits were home runs.
Richards, who will make his first start against Washington, allowed four runs on nine hits with no walks across five innings in a no-decision Tuesday against the Rays. He struck out five. He is 2-3 with a 5.52 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on June 7.
“We’ve had a rough series so far,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully Trevor gets us on track tomorrow and we can put a win together and move on.”