How The Top Super Bowl Commercials Compare

Effective advertising requires the ability to identify what matters to your audience and present an engaging message that resonates. Granted, for the Super Bowl, that’s a really big audience but there are some fundamental drivers – values – that will reach almost everyone.

So how did this year’s crop of commercials do? To get a good cross section of favorite and top rated ads we drew from the “best of” lists from USA Today’s Ad Meter, Ad Age/iSpot, The Washington Post, and the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review. Each organization has a different list and a valid and distinct approach for ranking the ads. We’re going to contribute to the conversation with our analysis of the values present in the online reactions and commentary.

In general, the Super Bowl is a celebration of several kinds—sports, family and friends, snacks–but it’s also a thrill to see the commercials as entertaining breaks in the game. Values associated with online reactions differed by commercial with Jeep and Cadillac tapping into Nostalgia, Rocket Mortgage hitting on the value of Organization, Deliciousness and Cool ranking high for Cheetos, and Challenge showing as a strong value associated with Mountain Dew’s ad involving the playful challenge to count bottles.  And of course, Alexa ranks high on Assistance.

Jeep: The Middle Ground with Bruce Springsteen. This was a dream come true for Jeep. They had been trying for years to get Springsteen to appear in a commercial. The brand gave The Boss full creative control over his call for unity. The result was anything but, because responses to the message were quite mixed. Viewers, however, loved seeing the star, the visuals and sense of freedom the message conveyed.

Amazon Echo let Michael B. Jordan be the body and voice of Alexa, and the daydreaming ensued. The thrill and celebrity of Jordan was key here but didn’t crowd out the product’s features and benefits.

Rocket Mortgage used Tracy Morgan and plenty of physical gags to remind viewers that a mortgage is one decision that demands certainty.  It was clear that being organized, committed, and having access to the right tools make a difference.

Cadillac:  ScissorHandsFree.  A clever concept and the brilliant casting of Timothee Chalamet as the progeny of Edward Scissorhands combined thrill, fun, nostalgia, and adventure to introduce Cadillac’s Lyriq hands-free steering enabled car.

Cheetos: It Wasn’t Me shows Ashton Kutcher trying to track down who ate his Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix.  Even with a trail of the iconic cheese dust Kutcher can’t figure out the culprit was his wife, Mila Kunis. Aside from Kutcher’s efforts at singing, it was funny and reminded viewers of that great flavor.

Mountain Dew Major Melon Bottle Count relied on John Cena, some fun graphics, and a contest to count the bottles in the commercial for a chance to win $1 million dollars. Even though it’s a challenge to count that many bottles in 30 seconds, that’s how you score top social media activity.