What’s to Come: Super Bowl 2016 Ad Preview

Racepoint Global

Written by Brigid Sweeney, Senior Associate, Global Marketing and Business Development

With Super Bowl 50 upon us, we’re ready to kick-back with a beer in hand to watch the big game against the Broncos and the Panthers this Sunday. Since the Patriots aren’t in the Super Bowl this year, (the Racepoint Boston office isn’t bitter or anything… No really. It’s all good. We’re so over it.), I’ll be more interested in watching Coldplay at the halftime show, the smorgasbord of game day snacks and of course, the advertisements.


Last year, an average of 114.4 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLIX, making it the most-watched broadcast in the history of U.S. television EVER. These particular spots for commercials are prime real estate for brands. That is, brands who can afford it. According to CBS network president and chief executive Leslie Moonves, a 30-second Super Bowl 50 ad is selling for as much as $5 million. This price is 11% higher than the base price of $4.5 million during last year’s Super Bowl. For that price tag, you better darn well have a memorable commercial that makes consumers remember your brand.

I have a lot of questions for this year’s commercials– Will Nationwide kill off another youth in a dramatic, dark ad? Will Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel stumble over the confusing concept of the internet in another BMW spot? Most importantly, will we see the adorable lost yellow lab puppy from Budweiser again!? Only time will tell, but until then, here’s a sneak peek into a few ads that have been released prior to the big game:



RPG, Advertising

Shock Top – Unfiltered Talk

I’m a big fan of Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller and an even bigger fan of Shock Top, so I already love where this is going. In the ad, T.J. exchanges witty insults to the Anheuser-Busch craft orange slice character with jabs like “You look like you’re about to get evicted from your parent’s basement.”

To add to Shock Top’s efforts, the brand let T.J. edit their press release announcing the campaign, which is just as comical as the ad (don’t you wish comedians could always edit our press releases!?).

PR, RPG, Press Release

The ad was laugh out loud funny and definitely memorable in my books. I don’t know about you, but I’m suddenly thirsty…



Doritos – Crash the Super Bowl Campaign

For the 10th year in a row, Doritos has been asking their consumers to create their Super Bowl advertising with their “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. Winners receive a casual one million dollars, their ad airs on Super Bowl Sunday and they are given a chance to work with director, Zack Snyder. It’s kind of brilliant when you think about it – Doritos gets to sit back and let fans do the work (working toward pretty great incentives, of course) while viewers remember their commercials tied directly back to the brand. Although voting is closed, take a peek at what ad might make the final cut on Doritos’ website here. Hint: dogs, an ultrasound and Tinder are involved.



Budweiser – #GiveADamn  

Helen Mirren is just so timelessly cool it’s no wonder Budweiser used her in their advertisement to start a movement against drunk driving. Unlike other campaigns that often use scare tactics and unsettling re-enactments, Mirren’s sharp insults definitely strike a chord and start a conversation. This isn’t the first time Budweiser touches on responsible drinking – remember the 2014 #FriendsAreWaiting advertisement with a yellow lab? That one left me gutted. Personally, I think if you’re going to spend $5 million on a commercial, make it count toward a cause that matters.

Not only is Budweiser focusing efforts on tackling drunk driving, but AdWeek says Budweiser has partnered with Twitter and is promising to donate $1 dollar to safe ride programs every time the #GiveADamn hashtag is used – so make sure you’re tweeting during the game!




Hyundai Elantra – Ryanville

Uhm, can I live here? I have a feeling this commercial is going to go over pretty well with the ladies but it’s not necessarily going to make me run to the car dealership and buy a Hyundai Elantra or even remember that the brand was associated with this commercial. Maybe it’s just me, but Ryan Reynolds is more memorable than the vehicle they’re selling. Besides Ryan’s face, I’ll also remember Salt N Pepa’s “Whatta Man” which will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.


Snickers – You’re Not You When You’re Hungry

With the widespread success and a Clio Award win for last year’s Brady Bunch advertisement featuring Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi, Snickers is going for round two of the You’re Not You When You’re Hungry campaign. Instead of being hungry for a Snickers, the ad left me saying “huh?” and mildly terrified.



HEINZ Ketchup – Wiener Stampede

I couldn’t stop smiling during this commercial. People dressed as condiments + dogs who look like food = an absolute win in my book. Dog lovers (and food lovers) will adore this ad set to the classic Harry Nilsson slow jam. While cuteness is a main focus, the brand does a good job focusing on other products HEINZ offers by having the humans dress up as BBQ sauce, Yellow Mustard and Organic Ketchup to name a few.

I do wonder if it’s really necessary that HEINZ advertises.  Like ‘Kleenex’ to ‘tissue’, HEINZ is basically the proprietary eponym of ketchup (even Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen agrees).  Regardless, seeing these little dachshunds running around in hot dog suits is enough to make me grab another pig in a blanket and remember the brand next time I’m in the condiment aisle.


Check out the more comprehensive list of Super Bowl 50 advertisers on AdWeek’s Super Bowl Ad Tracker and tell me what advertisement you think is going to win or epically fail this year.