Astronauts, Bears and Clydesdales

The Super Bowl has become the most-watched American television program in history with an average audience of 111 million viewers. It’s no wonder companies compete airtime during this annual event. However, it has also carries a high cost.  The Super Bowl XLVII average cost for a 30-second advertisement was around $4 million. While most people were concerned with who was going to be this year’s champion, the marketing major in me was more interested in which company was going to score a touchdown with its commercial.

You are probably wondering which commercial was considered the best. Well, unlike the Super Bowl there is not a clear winning commercial because it’s more than simply scoring points. Marketers and advertisers have to ask themselves what they want their commercial to accomplish. Millions of dollars and months of planning go into that 30-second spot that competes for your attention. To help evaluate which commercial was better than the others and to put ourselves in the shoes of a marketer, I will use what I learned in my marketing and advertising classes and divide this competition into 3 categories.

  • The 1st one is called brand awareness, which is the level to which a brand is recognized by potential customers and is correctly associated with a particular product. This term is often used for new or upcoming brands or products.
  • The 2nd category is brand development, which is the ability of the brand to stand out from the others in a competitive market. This is more for products and brands that have been in the marketplace for awhile and are trying to compete for becoming a consumer’s preferred brand.
  • The 3rd category is brand legacy, which is the proficiency of a commercial to represent a legend or storyline that consumers can follow for a particular brand. This is often done with well-known brands that are recognized by logos and names.

Now that we have the categories set its time to hit the field and see which one of the many commercials takes the gold in each category. Envelope, please.

For brand awareness, the award goes to the Axe Apollo commercial titled “Lifeguard” by BBH London. It hit the spot as the most original commercial about an upcoming product and it was very popular with the Florida Tech crowd , as I could glean from all the Facebook status updates about it.  The tagline, “Nothing Beats an Astronaut,” blew up many students’ Facebook statuses. What I loved about this ad is that it changes the status quo. It’s no longer all about the jock lifeguard that gets all the girls – it’s about the super smart astronaut that wins the girl at the end of the day.


For the brand development category, I felt that Hyundai nailed it. Hyundai avoided attacking its competitors while capitalizing on the void left by General Motors, which decided to stay out the Super Bowl commercial arena this year. Out of all the Hyundai commercials shown, I consider “Team” created by the company’s internal ad shop Innocean, the best example of brand development. The commercial infused humor by showing kids doing tough and exaggerated things like wrestling a bear, lifting heavy weights and saving a grown man from a burning building. There was even a unique and compelling call to action where viewers can find their seven-man team and go to the next super bowl (visit Find your 7). Overall, it received great reactions on Twitter and Facebook and has been praised for its creative stance on combatting bullies.

For brand legacy, many can agree that the heart-tugging tale of the bond between a trainer and the Budweiser Clydesdale was considered one of this year’s best commercials. The commercial titled “Brother” by Translation, evoked a much emotion with viewers and reminded us about Anheuser-Busch’s unique legacy in American culture.  

These are just my opinions and that’s one of the best things about Super Bowl Commercials: they come in a wide variety to suite many tastes. Some tell great tales like the Coca-Cola chase commercial, which had the viewers decide the ending; some are just funny because they have pop culture references, like PSY in the pistachios commercial; and some are just plain bad like the Go Daddy spot where model Bar Refaeli makes out with a nerd. But, no matter how enjoyable or how dire they were, we will still talk about them for weeks to come.

What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial and why?

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