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9 Super Bowl TV ads to watch for

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There is nothing more exciting than living in one of the cities represented in the Super Bowl – and yes, as I write this, I am wearing my Denver Broncos gear. That is unless you are both a football and marketing aficionado, then Super Bowl Sunday is like Christmas and your birthday all bundled into one.

And, thanks to the Internet, today the race to air a 30-second most-memorable Super Bowl TV ad begins about a week or two before Super Bowl Sunday. While some brands have already begun to post their commercials online, via YouTube and other video websites, others have been generating both traditional media and social media praises for these ads. For the amount spent to buy the TV spot, with the average of a 30-second spot selling at $4.8 million, the ads ought to be generating buzz already.

Compare that with the $42,000 price tag on a 30-second TV spot during the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game – also retroactively referred to as Super Bowl I – that aired in 1967.

Now, we all remember last year’s super fumble: Nationwide’s “dead kid” TV ad (and if you don’t, here’s a reminder). That ad got Nationwide so much negative attention, from the press and the public on social media, that the company had to issue an official statement and it cost their chief marketing officer their job, a report from the Los Angeles Times says.

But which brand will be the most talked about come National Hangover Day – I mean, “That Monday after the Super Bowl” day? And which brands will become such epic fails that people will rise up en masse and take their pitchforks and torches to the disgraced brands’ Facebook page?

What does this have to do with the financial industry?

“Increasingly, companies in the financial sector are showing up to the Big Game. Apparently they’ve realized two things: (1) nearly every American is watching the Super Bowl; (2) nearly every American worries about money in some way or another.” That’s according to, a website that has all of the commercials airing for 2016.

While it seems like Nationwide won’t be participating this year, the other usual financial brands that will be showcasing their creativity are related to tax filing, because tax season is right around the corner, and banking.

Other than looking out for the classics, like Budweiser, Pepsi, Doritos, Coca-Cola, Skittles and more food and beverage-related brands, there are some newcomers to the Super Bowl TV ad leagues this year. Among them, Amazon, Colgate, Pokémon (yes, the video and card game), SunTrust, PayPal, QuickenLoans, SoFi, and many more.

And with that, let’s take a look at what we can expect on Sunday from the most popular brands to those related to the financial and insurance industries and their Super Bowls ads:

1. Beware drunk drivers – this British lady is out to get ya:

This ad immediately reminded us of Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man in the World” ads (which you can see here), but with a side of spicy: British actress Helen Mirren. Known for being a “notoriously frank and uncensored British lady,” as she describes herself in the Budweiser ad, the TV spot is not a PSA, but if you drive drunk, prepare to face Mirren’s wrath of insults, which sounds more like a Shakespearean poem.

2. A tribute to music and Pepsi:

The famous soda brand is sponsoring, for the fourth year in a row, the Super Bowl half-time show. And so, along with celebrating the game’s 50th anniversary, they have produced a fun trip down memory lane using music as the identifier for each decade, and ending with their jingle. The ad stars singer Janelle Monae.

3. The weird reigns supreme?

You know when you eat something new for the first time, sometimes you are literally at a loss for words on how to describe it?

Or when you see something and it leaves you feeling … off and weird. That’s how this ad left us. What do you think? Does it work? Are you singing the weird #Puppymonkeybaby jingle? Just watch it and comment below.

4. Does mystery really work?

Taco Bell has been teasing their audiences for a long time with their ads, but this time, they are really keeping their new product (maybe something that has taco meat and other taco-related ingredients in it?) under wraps.

The big unveiling will be during the Super Bowl, but in the meantime, you can watch some of their ads above or here and here. We will know Sunday if it was it worth waiting for.

5. Dogs, dogs and more dogs

You would think that cats own the internet, yet dogs still own most of the Super Bowl ads and Heinz, the famous condiment company, has been paying attention.

Now, what is funnier than a pack of wiener dogs in hot dog costumes, running through a meadow towards a huge ketchup bottle?

6. When in doubt, use a super star

Hyundai decided to use one of the most attractive superheroes (or supervillains?) around: Ryan Reynolds. In their “Ryanville” ad, every girl’s dream comes true: Reynolds is every man in this suburban dream of a world.

But the car, being smarter than us humans, knows exactly when to brake and not trample another Ryan Reynolds (who was walking his dogs). It’s a great ad to look at – I mean – a great ad that delivers a very serious message about Ryaning distractions – er, DRIVING distractions, I meant.

7. Small business incentives

Intuit, the financial and tax preparation software company, gave their spot to one lucky small business, which had participated in a contest called “Small Business Big Game.” The winner, Death Wish Coffee Company, had the epic ad above. The ad is worthy of being part of an awesome Viking movie.

8. It’s that time of the year again…

Death and taxes (and insurance!) … are constants in our lives. But there’s nothing scarier than staring down at your tax form and trying to fill it out.

That’s where TurboTax, the tax filing service company, comes in. They make it so easy to file a tax form, that it is literally not rocket science. The ad above, and the other set of ads that have been running now for about two weeks, feature world-renowned figures in the math and science communities.

9. Old money vs. new money?

Does the phrase “new money” remind you of the movie “Titanic” and a boisterous “The Unsinkable Molly Brown?”

Instead, it would seem like PayPal took the phrase literally to describe what old money and new money look like: Old money is stuck in the years of Benjamin Franklin and new money is, well, possibly no longer paper-based.

This ad has a somewhat eerie feeling to it, like it is almost documenting what has happened to a few industries, such as retail, and what might happen to current industries being disrupted by the mobile-nation.

10. Bonus: USAA Pro Bowl life insurance commercial

Ok, so even though it would seem that there are no Super Bowl TV ads about life insurance, we still won’t know until the championship airs this Sunday. There are many companies that haven’t disclosed if they will be airing their ads, and what kind of ads these would be.

But USAA did surprise us with their TV ad during the NFL Pro Bowl, which aired last Sunday, January 31. We had a chance to ask USAA’s Life Company executive director, Greg Riedel, a few questions about it. 

You can watch USAA’s ad here. Meanwhile, Riedel explained to that the ad and the relationship that USAA has with the NFL are part of a new campaign to raise awareness about the importance of having life insurance.

“USAA is changing what life insurance is about for our members with a new campaign that connects life insurance to everyday life by showing how its role is to preserve the sum of their ‘every days.’ The very reason you buy life insurance is to ensure that the life you’re working so hard to build today will endure tomorrow – ‘Never stop being their protector,’” the executive said.

USAA also said that they decided to air their TV ad during the Pro Bowl because it “provided an opportunity to leverage USAA’s NFL relationship to put this growing need in the forefront with a huge subsection of consumers: football fans.”

Hopefully, we will see more financial and insurance commercials during the Super Bowl.

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