Super Bowl commercials have become half the spectacle surrounding the nation’s biggest sporting event. Costing approximately $5 million per 30-second spot, companies pour their funniest, smartest and deepest advertising in these most-watched spots of the year.
Though some Super Bowl regulars like Doritos and Skittles stuck to their, sorry, predictable approaches, other companies wowed viewers with more meaningful commercials.
This comes as no surprise in 2016, because in the last two years, there has been a drastic shift from slapstick humor to serious or heart-warming commercials.
However, there is room for both heart and humor on our top five Super Bowl 50 commercial list:
5. “Wiener Stampede” | Heinz Ketchup
Heinz, not a typical Super Bowl contender, really blew me away this year with their simple but adorable advertisement.
A pack of dachshunds wearing hotdog costumes run in a field towards “the ketchups,” who lovingly catch them in their arms. That’s it. Low budget, simplistic and adorable. Watch it and try not to smile.
4. Super Bowl Babies | NFL
The NFL actually ran a recurring advertisement throughout the game on Super Bowl babies and it was just precious. The commercials explain that data suggests a peak in child births nine months after the big game, and then feature a choir of Super Bowl babies (ranging in birth year from the 70s-2015) decked out in gear from the team that won the year they were born. They sing a remix of Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” about the Super Bowl and feature Seal himself. Now, as a Super Bowl baby myself, I’m a little biased, but I thought these spots were perfect for the 50th anniversary of the big game.
3. “Drop the Balls” | T-Mobile
Though there was a nice serious underlying theme, the first of the five best spots was T-Mobile’s hilariously relevant Steve Harvey joke. Taking a shot at Verizon’s recent commercial (which ironically played later in the game) and Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe fopaux, T-Mobile came up with the funniest commercial of the night.
2. Domestic violence | No More
While some companies use the Super Bowl’s high ratings to promote their product, some use the mass audience to convey a meaningful message.
The simplest but most impactful message of the night was this domestic violence PSA from No More:
1. Give a Damn | Budweiser
We all love and expect a rough-and-rowdy party commercial from Budweiser or a sweet spot with dogs and horses, but during the 50th Super Bowl, Budweiser aired the most poignant and well put-together ad on drunk driving that has ever been made. Helen Mirren goes in on the selfish and short-sighted reasoning behind drunk driving for 30 seconds of safe driving gold.
Even better than the content of the commercial is Budweiser’s #GiveADamn campaign: For every tweet with the hashtag, Budweiser will donate $1 to safe ride programs to promote sober driving.
Kudos, Budweiser. You won the advertising championship. What’re you going to do next?