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The 5 Best Super Bowl Ads of 2015

What a wild Brand Bowl it was. Before we declare our winners, let’s discuss several interesting trends that emerged.

Many brands went morbid. We saw ads containing darkness, death and vengeance. Perhaps the most notable of the bunch was the Nationwide ad “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up,” which portrayed a dead boy lamenting his lost potential life. Ad Age’s Ken Wheaton said, “Sure, you [Nationwide] want to ‘spark debate’ and ‘start a conversation’ — and you will. I just hope you’re all wearing your flak jackets and outrage pants.”

The domestic abuse prevention ad and the banning of Carl’s Jr.’s over-the-top naked super model ad set the tone for a rather demure night. It wasn’t until Victoria’s Secret closed the Super Bowl with its “Let the Real Games Begin” ad that things got a little steamy.

There was the usual series of stars who made fun of themselves. Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan were perhaps the best spots, though I am still in denial about Brosnan in a Kia.

Finally, while scantily clad girls were out, Dads were in. We saw father appreciation ads from Dove, Nissan and Toyota.

And with that, let’s get on with the winners.

1) 100 Years: Wisdom from Dodge

The Dodge Wisdom ad highlighted the brand’s 100 years of heritage by interviewing men and women who have been a live for the better part of a century. These elders offered their insights and wisdom. We got a lovable but tough, gritty ad that was reminiscent of Chrylser’s recent rebirth with another Super Bowl ad, Imported from Detroit. Check it out.

2) Always “#LikeaGirl”

Always offered a spot that showed how treating women like a girl ruins their self esteem once they hit puberty. The ad revolved around girls who like running, and how society perceives they should run “like a girl.” We are left with a feeling that girls can run as they like. I think it was an empowering ad, and one that will create loyalty amongst tween girls and parents alike. The ad was a short edit of this three minute YouTube film posted by Procter & Gamble last summer.

3) Bud Puppy Clydesdale Ad

Budweiser put out a few ads that generated conversation, including a gritty “Brewed the Hard Way” ad that pushed back on the microbrew craze and the Bud Light real world PacMan ad. And then there was the Clydedale ad rescuing the endangered puppy. Budweiser + Clydesdales + puppy = slam dunk. Again. Enough said.

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4) Dove Men+Care Calls for Dad

Dove won the Dad bowl with a tear-jerker of an ad that showed father’s sacrificing for their kids better than the rival Nissan and Toyota spots. Dad’s were shown in the act of resolving kids’ dilemmas, time in and time out. But what about the three agencies who came up with almost the exact same concept? Wow, kind of scary.

5) McDonald’s Pay with Lovin

McDonald’s offered an ad that showed random customers getting asked to pay for their meals with acts of love. It was a fun, warm ad in a year of sad, dark spots, and as a result it stood out. Further, it was true to McDonald’s brand proposition and teed up the burger company for a nice Valentine’s Day campaign.

Which ads did you find most compelling?

About Geoff Livingston

Geoff is president and founder of Tenacity5 Media, a digital marketing agency that provides content marketing and social media services. A former journalist, Geoff continues to write, and has authored five books. Follow him @geoffliving.

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