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Arm-chair marketing the Super Bowl



This blog post is the opinion of Suzanne Elfstrom, director of Media and Public Relations, and is not the opinion of PartnersCreative.

Like that disclaimer?

Super Bowl spots are always discussed, dissected and debated — many of them before they even air on game day. But this year was slightly different given our political climate. My inbox was flooded this morning with marketing e-newsletters about “politically charged ads,” “#BoycottBudweiser,” “diversity” and “risk.”

I believe that households all around the U.S. had armchair quarterbacks (and marketers) sharing their opinions. So, I thought I would let you into the microcosm of my living room surrounded by snacks and 10 of my closest friends. Here are the spots that generated the most buzz, in no particular order.

There was much discussion around 84 Lumber’s TV spot — we all hopped on our phones to see what the rest of the journey was all about, only to find that 300,000 other people did the same thing in the first 60 seconds that it aired, and crashed 84 Lumber’s website. With Fox charging advertisers $5 million for one 30-second spot, that was a costly mistake on the company’s part. I wonder how many of those 300,000 tried to watch the full journey after the Super Bowl? I didn’t.

Other ads experts considered to be controversial — such as Airbnb and Budweiser — didn’t elicit much response from our group. And almost everyone had already watched the Audi commercial online so when it aired on Sunday, it had already been discussed, dissected and debated.

Overall, car ads elicited the most laughter during the game. The Ford spot featuring people who are “stuck” was definitely something we could all relate to. And while Honda’s ad was meant to be inspirational it was done in such a way that you couldn’t help but laugh — celebrities speaking to us from their high school yearbooks.

The commercial in which you could hear a pin drop in our house was the American Petroleum Institute’s spot. To a marketer, silence is not always golden.

The one category that I look forward to every year (and those of you who know me will know this to be true) is entertainment. My personal favorites in Super Bowl LI were Stranger Things 2 and anything with Jason Statham in it.

Before I sign off, I would be remiss if I didn’t address the halftime show — forget Gaga. The best performance — of all time — Prince. (My opinion, yes, but it’s my blog.)