This was a very different year for the highly visible, highly touted Super Bowl advertising. For one thing, most advertising debuted before the game. Hype about new technical capabilities like shooting a commercial live while the Super Bowl was in progress, or creating a live feed before the commercial aired, was promoted heavily by the Super Bowl 2017 brands.

Super Bowl 2017 spots, which started at $5m for a :30 nationally or approximately $90k for a local slot, is a high stakes  game where brands can reach up to 80% of the TV audience simultaneously and where the audience is especially tuned into the commercials.

It is my opinion, which is shared by many of the Twitter conversation, that this year’s slate of advertising was disappointing overall. I divided the advertising into categories for the sake of analysis and in order of density. Shouldn’t the goal of a Super Bowl spot be to wow the audience? To create a personal tie with a brand?


Preach to me: This year was all about political messaging. Many of the messages were pro-immigration, anti-Trump, gender identity and inclusion. The best in class went to the very well produced 84 Lumber. NFL and Budweiser also lead the category with great production and story lines. Airbnb hit it out of the park with inclusion. Audi took lead the charge on gender equality with the little girl who owned the race track.


Disappoint me: So many of the brands put together poorly executed messages that left the viewers wondering why they spent their dollars on a highly coveted destination like Super Bowl. My list on the ‘disappointing’ category include: Snickers- with a just shot spot that literally and figuratively fell apart. Buick, Honda, and Avocados from Mexico also rounded out this list.


Make me laugh: The Kia Hybrid spot made me laugh with Melissa McCarthy’s satire on environmentalists. She was seen saving the planet while saving whales,  thwarting polar ice caps, and taking one from a rhino (not Republican in Name Only). So why not buy a hybrid? Made perfect sense to me! Although Terry Bradshaw’s stain message with Tide was a close second. Mr. Clean would have been more of a hit if it hadn’t been shown earlier in the week.  And, oh yes, the Tom Brady spot and his reluctant canine costar- as he fights for a sodden pancake. This was an Intel commercial. I still can’t figure out the connection.


Surprise Me: Two things surprised me. 1. I enjoyed the Tom Brady comeback more than the ads. 2. Christopher Walken and Justin Timberlake’s Bai beverage ad. I really want to try one and I don’t know why.

Bai, bai bye.


Rosaria Cain is CEO of knoodle and advises clients in health care, real estate and manufacturing in strategy, content, creative, paid media and digital.