Fatherhood rules Super Bowl XLIX Advertising

super bowl exterior shot with signage 2015I’m not a huge fan of professional football, though I appreciate a good game. This year, the Super Bowl was definitely just that, a really good game with an exciting ending that featured an incredible fumbling catch by Jermaine Kearse of the Seattle Seahawks on the 5 yard line, leaving the team poised to come from behind with an easy touchdown in the last 45 seconds of the game. Followed rather inexplicably by a passing play, intercepted on the edge of the endzone by Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots. That interception ending the Seahawks race to catch up and gave the Patriots the win. Some darn good football, if I may say so!

I hosted a party and had a dozen or so friends over, which was definitely great fun too because there were more Seahawks fans in the room than Patriots fans. Jokes about deflate-gate were de rigueur, of course, referencing accusations that the Patriots won some of their earlier games — notably the playoff game against the Green Bay Packers — because their footballs were under-inflated, making them easier to catch. And lots of snacks. I mean, a crazy amount of snacks, enough to fuel a party twice the size!

I like the Super Bowl mostly for the advertising, however. At an estimated $4.5 million for a 30 second spot, companies put a lot of effort into creating buzz, doing something witty and memorable that people will talk about for years to come. And, of course, their advertisements are also then run for months or years to come, so it’s not a one time thing, but still, that’s a lotta ad budget for a single spot. Interestingly, this year’s game broadcast featured 15 first-time Super Bowl advertisers, the most since the 2000 broadcast.

Previous years have been wacky and hilarious, this year was rather surprisingly somber, with the mood set by a depressing ad about avoidable childhood deaths by Nationwide Insurance followed by a 911 public service ad about domestic abuse. We all agreed they were “bummer” ads, and no-one liked them.

One of my favorites was aired just before the kickoff, a Chevrolet ad that was promoting its in-car wifi capabilities, but in a novel way that really caught my attention. Here’s the ad spot:


Then there were the pro-fatherhood advertisements.

A remarkable number of them, certainly more than I’ve ever seen before.

Among the best was a very touching one from the talented team at Dove Men+Care:

But I was a bit baffled about the Nissan spot about the son growing up without his Dad present because Dad’s a professional race care driver, just to have Dad show up at school one afternoon — in a new Nissan, natch — to his son’s delight. But um, maybe Dad needs to be part of parenting and the entire childhood journey, not just some hero on TV?

A bit of a muddled message, as you’ll see:


I liked the Toyota “My Bold Dad” commercial too, and unlike the Nissan spot, the Camry Dad was actually present for all the major milestones in their child’s life, which is definitely worth a lot to us fathers who try our damnedest to do just that as we wrestle with the challenges of a career, travel and, in many cases, the complexity of single life too.

And yeah, the last shot had me tearing up too…


There was also a hilarious and ingenious Fiat spot that definitely caught our attention as we laughed at the Rube Goldberg-esque theme and great payoff at the end. Um, so to speak:

My award for most annoying advertisement that actually reinforces negative stereotypes while trying to address them was the maudlin “Like a Girl” spot from Always. I have two girls and I think that women have made huge strides in the last few decades, none of which were reflected in this downer ad:

Special mention also to a hilarious and surprising apocalyptic advertisement from the team at Mophie too. Terrific and a fun Matrix-esque ending to boot, and the fact that I know some of the marketing team there, that’s just a bonus:


Now, what ads were your favorites from the broadcast? And how about that last play in the game too?

4 comments on “Fatherhood rules Super Bowl XLIX Advertising

  1. Oh my god! Too much sap this year. I think it’s nice that fatherhood was celebrated, but I want to laugh during Superbowl ads, not cry.

    I too loved the Mophie ad, although I’m still not sure what Mophie is.

    I also adored the Liam Neeson ad for Clash of Clans games. My husband is totally addicted to this game, which made it even funnier. Also, we had just watched a Neeson movie, A Walk Among the Tombstones, which made that ad funnier still.

    All and all, I thought this year’s Superbowl commercials were underwhelming with very few bright spots.

    We went to the bar to watch and the entire crowd groaned openly when the Nationwide ad showed. I don’t know who came up with that idea, but he or she should be fired.

    Also, I couldn’t agree with you more about the “throw like a girl” commercial. I hated that one.

  2. Being a single dad with full custody the dad commercials were great. Although I wouldn’t mind letting Nissan sponsor me with a new car. Just to show people you can drive a Nissan and be a great dad.

  3. I was really hoping to see a hosting company have there logo or mascot surrounded by puppies playing and caption “Hostgator – we love puppies, we would never sell your puppies” They missed an opportunity to create the biggest troll campaign of all time on GoDaddy

  4. Nice roundup Dave. Wish I could have been at your SuperBowl party, though mine was fun as well. http://instagram.com/p/ylAnGQgmHn

    I first heard about the Always #LikeaGirls series during the SuperBowl as well. I’ve liked what some companies have done with it on Twitter. Like @LatinasinStem https://twitter.com/IHADLA/status/562076750041989120 and @JetBlue showing 2 female pilots in the cockpit.

    I thought Coke did a nice job with it’s #MakeitHappy anti-bullying spot.

    And in spite of being a die-hard Coors supporter, I always love the Clydesdale commercials.

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