Playing the ‘Super’ Ad Game

The first weekend in February marks Super Bowl LI. For fans of the Patriots, Falcons or football in general, Sunday is all about the game. But for many others, the ad breaks between plays are the real stars.

Organizations go all out for their Super Bowl commercials and some will stand the test of time more than others. Here is what makes some Super Bowl ads more effective than others and how organizations use them to make their advertising better.

Emotional impact

According to AdWeek, an emotional connection is what makes the audience take action. If a commercial doesn’t make them feel anything, they will not be compelled to buy your product or service. An excellent example of this is Budweiser’s 2014 Super Bowl ad. This spot is about the friendship between a dog and a horse — a Clydesdale, of course — and the lengths to which they go to stay together. Animals are always a big hit, but the way this commercial was shot along with the musical accompaniment makes the viewer root for the odd couple. It also ends on a happy note, associating good feelings with Budweiser.


The best advertisements stand out in the crowd. What’s the point of marketing yourself if no one remembers afterwards? E-Trade executed this perfectly with its talking baby. No matter how you feel about him, he is memorable. So much so, E-Trade made countless commercials centered around this idea. It has become one of the most iconic Super Bowl ads ever, which means E-Trade will always be on people’s minds come February.

Represents brand well

Doritos prides itself on offering a snack that is near impossible to resist. The company uses this theme in all of its Super Bowl commercials. Every year, the ad is wackier than the last, but it’s always about someone doing anything to get their hands on some Doritos. Their brand is funny and irreverent and these spots showcase that perfectly.


Everyone loves the funny commercials. They are often the most talked about ads come Monday morning. And again, animals almost always go over well. Combine these two elements and you get this great Bridgestone commercial, featuring a choir of screaming woodland creatures. This commercial also does a great job of featuring the product in a way that doesn’t feel forced.

What is your favorite Super Bowl commercial? Why?

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