One of the joys of the Super Bowl, especially during a blow out game like Super Bowl 48, are the famous (or infamous) Super Bowl Ads. For 2014, Fox charged $4 million for each 30 second Super Bowl Ad Spot, ensuring that, as always, brands put their best (or craziest) foot forward during the big game. Unfortunately for fans in the UK, the 2 AM time slot and limited audience does not get advertisers salivating, and the result is very few Super Bowl caliber commercials air at all during the Sky or Channel 4 Broadcasts.
Fortunately for us, YouTube has come to the rescue, allowing us to enjoy (or endure) all of the adverts the American fans across the pond got to experience live. We count down the five best, and worst, 2014 Super Bowl ads.
Honourable Mentions – H&M and Axe/Lynx Deodorant.
These ads may have featured on this list—unfortunately, both amongst the worst commercials—however, both did air during the UK broadcast of the game, so their inclusion is not needed.
In case you missed it, the H&M advert, featuring a nude David Beckham, seems to have resonated with most of the fans. However, that was in America, where women are more into football, and even if not, regularly attend Super Bowl parties with their husbands, boyfriends, friends or family. But in the UK, where only the most committed—and generally male—fans were still awake the ad was a little too homo-erotic for most, especially that late at night, in spite of featuring a one of our proudest sons.
The Lynx (Axe in the USA) body spray Ad on the other hand, certainly got us talking when it aired, but ultimately left us confused. Worse, it left many of us with the slightly uncomfortable feeling that the underlying message of the spot seemed to be “Psychopath dictators and war criminals are people too”. This may be true, and certainly wasn’t their intent, I’m sure. But the fact remains, this is how we felt, and this just isn’t how we like to think of them, especially when our fighting forces have been risking their lives to oust these sorts of people.
Best Super Bowl Ads – #5: “Puppy Love”, Budweiser.
While many advertisers feel the need to shock, surprise or use humour to get noticed during the Super Bowl, in 2014, Budweiser decided to keep things simple. The commercial was touching and heart warming, playing off of the emotional core of friendship—even unlikely friendship—which often bonds sports fans.
It stared the Budweiser Clydesdales, alongside an adorable Golden Retriever puppy.
Sure, the friendship between a puppy and a horse may not echo our own friendships perfectly, and the choice of song may have left some wondering aloud if the puppy and horse were friends, or in love, but we were able to look past that, and enjoy this advert for the touching story it was.
This is near universally considered the best Super Bowl advert of the night, and I wouldn’t disagree there. The only reason it isn’t higher in the list is because its early release on YouTube, and social media campeign ensured that many fans in the UK had, in fact, already seen this advert prior to the broadcast.
Worst Super Bowl Ads #5: “Spiritual Technology”
This commercial, for the Scientology “religion” (though it is not universally recognised as such in the UK) certainly got people talking. Unfortunately for them, most of the conversation revolved around how awkward and uncomfortable it made people feel.
One of the biggest cringe factors revolved around the idea that their merging of science and religion, technology and spirituality alongside images of “E-Meters” and “auditing” something universally considered to be pseudo-science outside of Scientologist circles.
It was certainly a well enough made, and inspirational advert, but the overwhelming feeling it gave watchers was just too “creepy“. It would probably rank higher on this list for cringe factor alone, however, it was only aired in limited local US markets, and was not made specifically for the Super Bowl, having been available on the Scientology page since January 8th.