Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Super Bowl LII commercial roundup: Because it’s not all about football, right?

Sunday night’s Super Bowl LII resulted in a historic win for the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots, drawing in an audience of over a hundred million viewers across the United States. While the game is a big event for sports fans, many of us look forward to another aspect of the evening -- the commercials. Companies shelled out $5 million dollars -- as a baseline -- for a 30-second ad during this year’s Super Bowl coverage, according to a report by Sports Illustrated. For that amount of money, you would think these commercials would be pretty impressive, right? Some definitely were, while others didn’t quite hit the mark. Here’s a roundup of some of the most talked about Super Bowl ads this year:

It’s a Tide Ad

Just when you thought you hadn’t heard enough about Tide laundry products ( Tide pod challenge, anyone?) the company ran a series of ads throughout the game that always appeared to be anything but a Tide ad until the last second. Featuring David Harbour of “Stranger Things,” the commercials started out like other typical ads -- a car ad, a razor ad, even an iconic Old Spice ad -- before Harbour interrupted to tell the audience that it was, in fact, a Tide Ad.

Amazon Alexa Loses Her Voice

Amazon ran a funny advertisement for its Alexa home assistant device, playing off a scenario in which the product “loses its voice” and has to be operated by actual people. The ad featured celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Hopkins attempting to fill in as Alexa for confused homeowners, lending the commercial some star power as well as humor.

Ram Trucks… and Martin Luther King, Jr.?

The Ram car company ran an ad for their trucks using a voice-over of a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech that was originally delivered February 4, 1968. The ad depicted people helping each other (while driving Ram trucks, of course) and ended by flashing the tagline, “Built to Serve” on the screen. The commercial drew swift criticism from viewers, with one Twitter user writing, “MLK wanted equal rights and for me to buy a Dodge Ram.” The carmaker clearly struck a nerve, especially with the controversy surrounding the NFL, race, and protesting the national anthem.

Peter Dinklage v. Morgan Freeman

The two famous actors faced off in a lip-sync battle for this Doritos-Mountain Dew combo advertisement that certainly left an impression. Dinklage represented Doritos and channeled Busta Rhymes, while Freeman represented Mountain Dew and went full Missy Elliot. Doritos has historically run successful Super Bowl ads, but in this case teaming up with Mountain Dew certainly affirmed that two is better than one.

Keanu Reeves and Squarespace

This commercial for Squarespace featured Keanu Reeves standing up on a motorcycle driving through the desert, as he talked about “the power to do anything you can imagine.” Yes, it is as weird as it sounds. But, it’s also Keanu Reeves, so is anyone really surprised?

Fake Movie Trailer for Tourism Australia

Similar to the Tide ads, this commercial for Tourism Australia kept viewers guessing what it was advertising until the punchline ending. Featuring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth, the ad started out as a movie trailer starring the two actors as they travel through the Australian wilderness, and then shifted gears with Hemsworth admitting that it is not actually a movie trailer. Although it would’ve been a good movie, it worked pretty well as an ad for Australia.


adonohue@theeagleonline.com


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