Febreze Super Bowl 51 spot during the New England Patriots face the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51

Some Super Bowl ads struck the wrong tone

Advertisers had to tread carefully this year in a divisive political climate.

The New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons during a nailbiter Super Bowl 51 – and there were clear winners and losers off the field, too.

Advertisers had to tread carefully this year in a divisive political climate.

Some went for all out escapist humour like T-Mobile and Tide, while others tried to take a more serious tone like the American Petroleum Institute.

With 30-second ads costing around $5 million, and more than 110 million people watching, it’s a huge gamble to advertise during the game even in a less politically charged atmosphere.

Here are the winners whose gamble paid off, and losers who struck the wrong tone.

Winner: TIDE

P&G’s Tide ad featuring announcer Terry Bradshaw seemed at first to be part of the game broadcast. But when Bradshaw gets a stain on his shirt, he goes on an adventure featuring New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski and actor Jeffrey Tambor to try to find a clean shirt.

“It was just from the writing to the casting pure fun,” said Mark DiMassimo, CEO of ad agency DiMassimo Goldstein.

Winner: KIA

Kia managed to touch on social issues without offending people by tapping Melissa McCarthy to take on causes like saving whales, ice caps and trees, each time to disastrous effect.

Kia’s 60-second third-quarter ad promotes the fuel efficiency of its 2017 Niro car.

Winner: NFL

Two NFL ads aimed to appeal to all. The first ad , “Inside These Lines,” narrated by Forest Whitaker, showed scenes of football games and workers prepping a field.

The narration stated: “Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognize there is more that unites us.”

Another ad showed Super Bowl babies resembling NFL stars like Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka and former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch to the tune of Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”

Winner: Budweiser

Budweiser managed to capture the pre-game buzz with its “Born the Hard Way” spot. The cinematic 60-second spot chronicles co-founder Adolphus Busch’s journey from Germany to St. Louis in 1857.

He jumps off a burning steamboat and catches a glimpse of Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdales mascots before meeting fellow immigrant Eberhard Anheuser.

Some people took to Twitter to protest the immigration theme of the ad, but the ad was still one of the most watched ads ahead of the game.

Winner: T-Mobile

The wireless carrier made a big splash during the game by buying up 3 minutes of airtime and stuffing its ads with celebrities.

In one ad , Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart discuss T-Mobile’s unlimted data plan with lots of innuendo about Snoop’s pot-smoking habit.

Kristen Schaal started in two other adparodies of “50 Shades of Grey” that implied having a Verizon plan is like being punished – ” S&M style.

And Justin Bieber and New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski danced in another ad for the brand.

Loser: American Petroleum Institutions

An ad by a trade group sought to rebrand oil’s image, opening with the line that “This ain’t your daddy’s oil.”

The ad showed a series of colorful ways oil is allegedly used, including in spray paint and makeup. It said the “oil pumps life,” ”oil runs cleaner” and “oil explores space” — unexpected phrases for many that drew some mockery on social media.

The American Petroleum Institute says on its website that it represents the oil and natural gas industry, including producers, refiners, suppliers and pipeline operators. Villanova University marketing professor Charles Taylor said its message didn’t get across.

“They’re trying to somehow emphasize environmentalism, but I don’t think they did it in a way that most consumers would find believable,” he said.

Loser: Febreeze

P&G’s ad sought to take a humorous approach to saluting the well-known halftime bathroom break. “I love you halftime bathroom break,” says actress Kathryn Hahn during the commercial. But not everyone found the “potty humour” appealing.

Loser: Snickers

Snicker’s hyped up its live ad in the third quarter. The ad, set on a Wild West set, started with actor Adam Driver talking about the 21-3 score to prove it was live. But then things seem to go wrong and the set falls apart – on purpose.

“You ruin live Super Bowl commercials when you’re hungry,” the copy reads on screen.

“It went by so fast, I almost missed it,” said DiMassimo Goldstein CEO Mark DiMassimo. “I think the audience got it (but I’m) not sure it was worth the trouble of doing it live.”

Loser: Wendy’s

Wendy’s sought to emphasize its message of “Always fresh, never frozen” in its ad which showed a meatlocker full of frozen beef and a worker trying to thaw it with a hair dryer to the tune of Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice.” Ad critic Barbara Lippert says the ad is unappetizing. “All it does is leave you hearing frozen, frozen, frozen,” she noted.

 

Mae Anderson, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Accident, downed power lines closes Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Detour is available near Hector Road as BC Hydro crews work to restore power

Huu-ay-aht First Nations qualify for national wage subsidy

Limited partnership structure caused concern when CEWS was first introduced

ARTS AROUND: Giant Book Sale has new date, new location

Book sale will take place in November at Alberni Athletic Hall

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Yukon writer reads at virtual Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Joanna Lilley will make her appearance on May 27

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadians, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Most Read