The Super Bowl of Advertising: Playing to Win

This past Sunday was the Super Bowl, one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. This is an exciting time not only for football fans, but also advertisers. With Super Bowl LI reaching a whooping 111.3 million viewers, the price tag for a 30-second commercial on Fox was $5.02 million dollars. Here are some of my favorite commercials that aired this year.


Bai Bai Bai. Using a popular 90’s song by NSync with a title that sounds like their product name is a savvy move. So is tapping the perpetually hilarious Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken. Bai managed to fit over ten “Bai”s into just 30 seconds – all while keeping viewers entertained. Talk about brand awareness.


The man, the myth, the…fable come to life. A nostalgic twist adds levity to the unwelcome reminder that tax season is upon us. It brings Humpty Dumpty to life and also depicts how to use the product. You can file this ad under “success”.


Talk about a star-studded cast. With Steve Carell, Jimmy Kimmel, Tina Fey, Viola Davis to name a few, Honda must have spent a fortune. This commercial was not only memorable due to its star power, but also because of its resonant message. You never know where life will take you.

84 Lumber

An emotional ad depicting the journey of a Mexican woman and her daughter trying to get to the United States, this commercial is powerful and taps into one of the most heated discussion topics in the country – immigration. 84 Lumber went from being an unknown brand to being the talk of the Super Bowl – their website, which hosted the full video, crashed under overwhelming traffic. Highly controversial, depicting Trump’s wall with a doorway to the United States, it relays an impactful message about the brand’s beliefs.

You might be wondering, why are these my favorite ads? That is because I find them to be the most effective. These ads stood out while I watched arguably the most astonishing upset in Super Bowl history, lingering in my mind through the following days. They made me laugh and they made me think. They did what any effective commercial should do, they grabbed my attention – and they held it, long after the spot ended.

What did you think of this year’s Super Bowl ads? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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