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10 Super Bowl XLIX TV ads to watch for

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Super Bowl XLIX (that’s 49, in case you were wondering) is this Sunday, February 1st. While some of us are still recuperating from seeing our teams bow out of the game, we are excited to see the sort of shenanigans the ad world has come up with this year. After all, it ain’t the Super Bowl if you don’t have awesome TV ads.

Brands that cough up $4.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl spot are hoping that their efforts stick around in the consumer mind for years or unleash the creation of memes and sequel-styled ads. With around 110 million viewers expected to tune in to the Super Bowl this Sunday, the potential for an impressive return on investment is huge. The time and financial resources invested into these campaigns is equally huge, which makes them a good reflection of where marketing is at: What are people liking on social media, what are they talking about, what kinds of images, celebrities or things catch and keep our collective attention? For agents and brokers, Super Bowl ads are a great way to project how consumers will engage with your own marketing plan. 

Which ads stuck from last year? You might remember M&M’s “Delivery” ad featuring actor Rade Serbedzija (he was Dmitri Gredenko on the sixth season of the TV show 24); Bud Light’s “Up for whatever” huge marketing campaign, which continues this year; Wonderful Pistachio’s ad featuring Stephen Colbert; even U2, the band, debuted a song with Bank of America in an ad called “There is no them, only us;” and Budweiser’s “Puppy love” (of course!).    

Some brands have decided to release their full ads in advance of the occasion or have released teasers. Without further ado, here’s what you can expect in terms of advertising for the big game.                                                       

You can find the review of the insurance and financial industry Super Bowl ads here.


1. Doritos

From the company that’s now known for crowdsourcing — ahem — for turning the Super Bowl into a huge contest, you can expect to see another zany, maybe gross or maybe funny, Doritos ad.

Watch for:

Right now, their contest is in the voting phase and you can still vote for your favorite ad that will appear during the Super Bowl until January 28, here. (The ad above is just one of the 10 finalists.)

See also: GIF + meme = successful viral marketing?


2. Dear Kitten

What originally started as a YouTube ad by Purina Friskies and BuzzFeed Video, the “Dear Kitten” videos feature an older, classy, indoor cat narrating an introduction of the household to a younger cat named “Kitten.” The first ad, which was released last June and has more than 19 million views on YouTube, narrates human rituals, human-cat interactions and general house rules.

Watch for:

A “Dear Kitten” spot featuring a Super Bowl viewing party, what that means for the cats of the house, the different “human rituals” like Super Bowl food, and the mischief that the cat and kitten can get into before finally getting “a little private jet to the only prize worth competing for…wet food.” What’s interesting about this ad is that it’s made for online viewers and aspires to become viral on social media, but it works for TV. It’s also BuzzFeed’s first TV ad and it will only air in three regional markets: Los Gatos, California; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; and Pawnee City, Nebraska, according to See a trend there? 

See also: The 6 biggest estate planning mistakes NFL players make


The company known for building websites using templates, is a first-timer when it comes to Super Bowl TV ads. But after a lot of teasers on every social media outlet imaginable, they finally released their TV spot earlier this week.

Watch for:

Football’s greatest stars like Bret Favre as they attempt to open a business “like everybody else.” What differentiates them from the rest? Clever business names and, of course, their websites. #ItsthatEasy to create a website on Wix and anyone can do it, no matter what kind of business you have. Look out for the puns in the business names. And, did anyone else notice the “Big Easy” music playing? Was that coincidence or on purpose?

See also: Is your website killing your referrals?

4. Skittles

With crazy TV ads that usually don’t make any sense, Skittles will advertise for the first time during the Super Bowl, and is one of the official sponsors this year. 

One of their ads is a press conference with Seattle Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch, who is known for his very aggressive running style, “Beast mode” and his antics towards the press. If you want to see what he said at his last press conference, go here. For those of you short on time, know this: It’s very rare that Lynch makes appearances at press conferences, but he did it for Skittles, the candy he apparently can’t live without.

Another ad features football legend Kurt Warner having a tailgate party, four weeks before the Super Bowl … in a hot tub full of Skittles. This is … awesomer!

Watch for:

Insane questions like “Would you ever want to hang out with a talking rainbow?” and “Do you prefer watching cat videos or dog videos online?” and Lynch’s answers during the staged press conference. The fact that Skittles is capitalizing on an elusive figure is intriguing; what will Lynch say? While being elusive and aloof might work for Lynch, remember that advisors should be as transparent as possible with their clients. It’s all about trust.

See also: 96% of financial pros say industry has a trust problem

5. Kia

Three cheers for bringing Pierce Brosnan back to the 007 franchise! Wait — what?! Nope, it’s just a Kia commercial, but it’s so well done that it could double as a movie trailer. It’s the Super Bowl, so they’re pulling out all the stops. 

Watch for:

Brosnan’s imagination gone wild and an amazing mountain view. And, come on, let’s be honest: How many times do you daydream just like that when someone is narrating something…you add your own twists and turns and kind of get carried away with it. That’s why you should keep steering your audience, or in this case Mr. Brosnan, in the right direction.

See also: You have 8 seconds to connect with your audience or make them fall asleep

6. Nationwide 

Actress and comedienne Mindy Kaling stars in this Nationwide TV spot in which she is invisible to everyone, except to Nationwide. Although the full ad hasn’t been released, we can only guess what sort of situations Mindy will find herself in next. If you have seen The Mindy Project, you might have the feeling that this ad is an extension of Kaling’s show. Nationwide is the official insurance sponsor of the NFL.

Watch for:

The usual comedy and witty zingers from Mindy. After Peyton Manning’s successful humming/sing-songy Nationwide ad, which you can watch here, we’re excited to see what they come up with for the Super Bowl. How will Mindy interact with Nationwide? Will they offer her their services or support and how? Where is the company going with the ad and their use of the social media hashtag #InvisibleMindy?

See also: 4 marketing lessons from the new ‘Obamacare’ commercial

7. Mercedes-Benz

Another car company made it to our list. This time, Mercedes-Benz has built a contest around their Super Bowl ad, starring a “hare-raising” race between a tortoise and a hare, titled “The Big Race.” We all know the tale of the tortoise and the hare, but this one ends a little bit differently. Also, the new Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S model makes an appearance.

Watch for:

The ad is entertaining and cartoon-esque, but we’ll see where the car company takes it with the online contest and their social media hashtag #TheBigRace. They have been showing teasers in different football and sports games for the last two weeks. We hope that it wasn’t all for nothing.

See also: 7 lessons producers can learn from Saturday morning cartoons

8. Dove Men+Care

Some Super Bowl ads are funny; others are inspiring. This is of the latter kind, so bring out your tissues. Dove, the skin care product company, has been making TV ads and campaigns that appeal to the “realness” in everyone: out are the photoshopped images of both men and women; in are images of real people. Now, it seems that they’re looking to grow their brand in the male market.

Watch for:

Unlike their competitors who have seen an increase in brand awareness with their “manly, man, man” ad campaigns (think AXE and Old Spice), Dove is betting on the “real strength” of men, daddies to be exact. “What makes a man stronger? Showing that he cares.” Rethinking the market and being genuine are sure to pay off for Dove.

See also: 3 reasons your future clients are not your clients now

9.  TurboTax

You’ve probably seen this one, or different and shorter versions, of it on TV. TurboTax’s ad shows different situations, all related by one major incident, and how those incidents change peoples’ lives. It’s like taking a real-world snapshot.

Watch for:

Each incident and its consequence: how did it change or alter someone’s life … completely? For example, the lady who loses her job, the guy who didn’t get married to the girl he thought he was going to spend the rest of his life with (and vice versa). Some people might even go through all of these examples at once! How did your clients’ life change in the past year? It’s a great way to get the conversation started about reevaluating clients’ needs.

See also: 7 trends that will change the way we sell life insurance in 2015

10. Bud Light and Budweiser

I know what you’re going to say: Way to end the article with a beer ad. Before you roll eyes at me, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. Budweiser and Bud Light are definitely feeling the impact of the craft beer boom and are doing everything they can to rebrand themselves. How? Through these ads and their accompanying marketing campaigns.

Bud Light ads have been promoting their marketing campaign called “Up for whatever” in which they stalk specific bar-goers and ask them, “Are you up for whatever?” The whole thing looks like a prank TV show. When the prank is revealed, it’s usually something that might seem impossible to the average Joe.

This year, I think they have outdone themselves. I won’t give too much away because you should really see the ad. Also, they decided to release the ad as part of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which has seen a surge in popularity with groups of all ages. They’re trying to reach new consumers in different ways.

Meanwhile, Budweiser ads are coming back with the famous Clydesdales. This year, they choose to do a sequel, of sorts, to their “Puppy love” ad from the Super Bowl last year, which you can re-watch again here. The ad this year is adorable because of a puppy, of course.

What does beer have to do with horses and dogs? We’re not sure, but at least they’re trying to rebrand and are definitely targeting millennials and the digital sphere alike by using cute puppies. You know how many views cute puppy videos gather? Millions … just Google “Boo” (it’s a dog’s name).

See more:

The 10 best international life and health insurance ads

The 10 most memorable insurance ads ever

Throwback Thursday: The 6 best insurance ads from yesteryear

12 health insurance logos we like


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