Advanced Super Bowl Ads


Aaron Wu

Ronbir Rob ’19 enjoys watching the Super Bowl and its advertisements.

Over 114 million people watched Super Bowl LII on Sunday, February 4, 2018. Fans of the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles were ecstatic as they watched their favorite teams play for the championship. Others waited for the halftime show in which pop singer Justin Timberlake performed. For both of these groups, the advertisements were merely time to restock on snacks or to go to the bathroom. But for some people, the ads were their only reason for watching the game.

The Super Bowl is one of the best times for large companies to advertise: as one of the most popular championship games in America, the event has one of the highest potential viewer rates each year. It costs around five million dollars for a company to air one thirty-second advertisement during the Super Bowl, so every second counts; these commercials need to be quirky or outlandish in order to be worth the price.

Often, Super Bowl advertisements take on the current political climate or pressing social issues; some use popular celebrities to move the audience, but others simply try to be as funny as they can. A lot of topics are potentially controversial, so these ads can be a hit or miss for companies.

One of the most memorable ad campaigns this year was a four-part series from Tide, which mimicked cliché types of advertisements. They were called ‘It’s A Tide Ad,’ ‘It’s Another Tide Ad,’ ‘It’s Yet Another Tide Ad,’ and ‘It’s Yet Another Tide Ad, Again.’ The first advertisement was forty five seconds long, aired during the first quarter, featured Stranger Things actor David Harbour, and was styled like many cliché advertisements. It started off as many car commercials do, with a car driving down an empty road. Then the ad morphed into something else, as a bartender slid a bottle down a counter to Harbour, who was surrounded by an entourage as if he would soon discuss how cool he was because he drank the drink.

“The illusion of seeing one type of ad and then it’s really something else [was really cool],” said Ronbir Rob ’19. “I felt it was unique, and I hadn’t seen that type of advertising before.”

The second, third, and fourth advertisements were just fifteen seconds each and aired in the second, third, and fourth quarters respectively. All featured Harbour, but were still very inconspicuous, not revealing that the commercial was for Tide until the end. The second advertisement imitated one of Old Spice, using a similar format and setting. However, as the camera zoomed out, the Old Spice bottle that was supposed to appear on the model’s hand was actually a Tide bottle, and Harbour appeared on the other end of the horse. In the third advertisement, a woman was surprised to see Mr. Clean tidying up her house, but then he turned into Harbour, who explained that the commercial was actually for Tide. The fourth advertisement appeared to be an ad about medication for the elderly. Senior citizens were playing tennis with each other, and when the cameras zoomed out it was revealed that Harbour was playing with them.

Overall, the advertisements were very well received among the Bronx Science community. “The illusion of seeing one type of ad and then it’s really something else [was really cool],” said Ronbir Rob ’19. “I felt it was unique, and I hadn’t seen that type of advertising before.”

Another popular advertisement was a collaboration between Doritos and Mountain Dew. The commercial attempted to sell two new products, Doritos Blaze and Mountain Dew Ice. It featured a lip sync battle between ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage and ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ actor Morgan Freeman. It started out with Dinklage holding a bag of Doritos Blaze. He ate one of the chips and then he launched into a lip sync of Busta Rhymes’ ‘Look at Me Now.’ As Busta Rhymes sang, everything in the room caught on fire, and in the end Dinklage revealed that he could breathe fire. When it was Freeman’s turn, he took a sip of the soda and launched into a lip sync of Missy Elliott’s ‘Get Ur Freak On.’ As he lip synced frost covered everything in the room and he revealed that he could conjure ice as well.

This advertisement spurred much debate, as many ‘Game of Thrones’ fans believed it confirmed that Dinklage’s character is a Targaryen, one of the noble families that previously ruled the show’s fictional land, Westeros. Despite many fans’ wishes, Dinklage himself has denied the rumors, simply stating that a Doritos commercial is not the same thing as ‘Game of Thrones.’

Overall, Doritos’ and Mountain Dew’s advertisement was very successful. More often than not, makers of advertisements try to play it safe and produce commercials that are cliché or lacking creativity. This advertisement did not fit that description. Theodore Wai ’21 said, “I liked that it was unique. It was really creative and fit the theme of both products.” In the end, Doritos and Mountain Dew’s collaboration retained watchers’ interest.

Amazon is also known to have creative advertisements. This year’s Super Bowl commercial, titled ‘Alexa Loses Her Voice,’ featured many celebrities that served as replacements for her voice in Amazon products.

The commercial was very humorous, with universally-liked chef Gordon Ramsay criticizing a man that asked Alexa how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Beloved ‘Bodak Yellow’ rapper Cardi B was asked how far away Mars was and instead of answering the question, she laughed about why someone would want to know that. She was called upon a second time in order to play country music, but instead she rapped ‘Bodak Yellow.”’ ‘Pitch Perfect’ actress Rebel Wilson was asked to set the mood, meaning to dim the lights and play music, but in addition she described a sensual experience. ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ actor Anthony Hopkins took on the persona of Hannibal Lecter when a woman wanted to call a friend.

The Bronx Science community was very divided over Amazon’s commercial. Lambert Huang ’18 said that he was “not sure what the ad is trying to get at” and found it “very unconvincing.” He did admit that he thought some parts of the advertisement were funny, but he did not really understand what was going on. However, Tiffany Chyke-Okpuzor ’19 said that she thought “it was successful in showing how important Alexa is.”

Tide, Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Amazon had some of the best commercials during this Super Bowl. Bronx Science students were very receptive to them and found them very entertaining. This year’s commercials leave a lot of hope for what Super Bowl LIII’s advertisements will bring in 2019. Hopefully there will be more creative commercials next year. Instead of using celebrities, some advertisements should implement real consumers that are not famous or well-known.