Super Bowl XLIX Commercials: “The good, the bad, and the ugly”

Neel Vallurupalli and Charlie Brennan

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Nine million dollars per minute. The Super Bowl–watched by millions–is the most prime time event for commercials to make a name for their brand, yet the cost is steep.


Such great quantities of viewers offer an abundance of different ages, likes and dislikes. How then is one supposed to find something that appeals to all audiences?


The answer comes with layering. The best commercials contain different layers for the different levels of maturity in their viewers. The basic layer of the Fiat commercial is a perfect example – the fact that there is a funny old man, a funny old lady and the little blue pill just happens to go on a great journey where in the end, the pill makes a small car a large car.


On the next level of maturity, one sees an old man about to get into bed with his wife, yet he needs a blue Viagra pill to help him out. Then after the blue pill travels all that long way the car gets expanded and attracts the attention of the local passers-by. Now both parents and children find enjoyment in the cleverly designed Super Bowl ad.


Every Super Bowl there is a “bad ad” that indicates the time to refill one’s plate or find a new drink. Many Super Bowl fans only view the event for the commercials and a good one can make or break the night.


When the TurboTax commercial made its debut, fans all over the nation stood up to take a bathroom run. This advertisement was one of the most inaccurate commercials that showed on Super Bowl Sunday. First the ad depicts the Sons of Liberty causing physical harm and damage to the merchant’s ship. The British soldiers who were guarding the ships were lying sprawled like they had been knocked out. In the actual events, no harm happened to the ship or the British. Second, the Americans were shown as idiots to fall to the British soldier’s bribe. Americans don’t want to be shown as the ignorant people destroying whatever they can find.


This advertisement was an insult to America and is the opposite of the spirit that the nation wants to have on Super Bowl Sunday.


Into the second quarter with exciting play calls, commercials with cute puppies, the comical first draft ever and the seat gripping “Fast and Furious 7,” viewers including us were caught off guard by a sadistic commercial from Nationwide.


In this commercial we see a seemingly innocent child riding his bike, getting bullied on the bus. He then says, “I will never learn to fly, or travel the world with my best friend, and I won’t ever get married. Seems all right so far, right? Maybe a sad joke of some kind? No.” He then continues to say, “I couldn’t grow up because I died from an accident.” Pictures are flashed of an overflowing bathtub, a fallen tv and a pile of dishwasher soaps lying on the floor. The narrator continues by saying, “the number one cause of childhood deaths are preventable ones. At Nationwide, we believe in protecting what matters most: your kids.”


Nationwide after the game claimed that this ad was infact not trying to sell insurance, but instead “start a conversation.”


I don’t know about anyone else, but the only conversation that we had was what a depressing ad like this had anything TO DO with Nationwide. The superbowl is not the place to be making serious PSA’s, when half the audience is so “out of it” that the “funny” is the only thing that appeals to them.


In the end of the day the sole purpose of an advertisement is for it to stick inside the viewers’ heads, and this Nationwide commercial is sure to generating a lot of buzz for the next few weeks. So one could argue that it was a great ad, but are you really going to use dead children as a way to get your brand to stick?


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