Time to Get Serious: Super Bowl Ads and Social Commentary

Feb 6, 2017 | Branding

As part of a retrospective piece on Super Bowl ads throughout the ages, Gavin president Tom Hollerbach spoke to Central Penn Business Journal last week.

Many companies have changed their game day advertising approach in recent years, he noted, opting for a more somber tone than the overtly sexy and humorous ads of yesteryear. Now that the ads have aired, the crowds have dissipated and the tears have dried from Falcons fans’ cheeks, our team weighs in on which brands had the biggest impact and maximized their $5M opportunity.

“I thought Budweiser’s immigrant story about Adolphus Busch was quite timely. However, I thought it was too complicated for a 30-second spot.” – Tom Hollerbach

“Walls cannot shut out a human being’s will to survive and thrive. Wood and steel will never divide us. This made me tingle with patriotism.” – Kristen Evans

“I thought 84 Lumber’s spot was terrific, too. Better than they expected, apparently, as the amount of resulting traffic crashed their site.” – Tom Hollerbach

“The big winner was 84 Lumber. This lesser known brand made a big impression. It was also a lesson for anyone running a large scale multimedia campaign. If you spend millions on an ad, you better make sure your digital media is up to snuff. With 111 million people watching, 84 Lumber’s website took a beating and crashed. I’m sure their head of marketing is running postgame advertising to push people to the site now that it’s back up.” – Mandy Arnold

“The other spot that caught my attention with its subtle wit was It’s a 10. It poked fun without being political. I’m sure even Donald Trump got a kick out of it.” – Mandy Arnold

“The most impressive advertisement for me was at the end of the halftime show. When the drones made the Pepsi logo at the end of Lady Gaga’s intense (and drama-free) performance, there was something about its immense size, the newness of the technology— how it was both subtle and yet completely over-the-top— that left me in awe.” – Miranda Metz

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