Advertising Super Bowl

What game? Here are the best and worst ads from the Super Bowl 2019

By Andrew Blustein, Reporter

February 4, 2019 | 10 min read

Over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl in the US, meaning advertisers have the attention of around one-third of the country.

Some are die-hard fans whole up in their man caves, some are tweeting away talking about their favorite ads, and others – like yours truly – are taking it all in at their local pub. The Drum is covering the ads, and by default watching the game, from a lively bar in Astoria, Queens, sharing patrons' reactions to their favorite and least favorite spots, and sharing what the Twitter-verse thinks of this years' expensive adverts.

According to Comscore,14% more minutes are spent on Twitter on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the three prior Sundays, and there's a to 3% decrease in minutes spent on other social platforms.

Twitter is abuzz, and so is this bar. What worked, and what didn't?

And if you think we missed anything, click here for a full, quick-hitting list of Super Bowl ads.


According to Salesforce, people online two hours before the game were talking most about Pepsi, Doritos and Avocados from Mexico.

Pregame word cloud

Teasing an ad before the game appears to be the way to go. Research from Crimson Hexagon showed 42% of tweets around brands and commercials over the last three weeks were around campaign teasers or trailers.

Analytics from iSpot show that Expensify’s music video teaser garnered serious online buzz with a digital share of voice of more than 6%, landing it in the top five of pregame chatter.

First Half

Then the game started, at least we think.

While there wasn’t much going on on the field, the ad breaks certainly had people’s attention.

According to Salesforce, the most talked about brands online were Bud Light, Pepsi, Mercedes Benz, Doritos and Avocados from Mexico.

But in the bar, T-Mobile grabbed people’s attention, especially among millennials, with its clever 'We’ll Keep This Brief' spots. The text-heavy ads had the added benefit of being easily understood in this raucous environment.

Speaking of visual, Mint Mobile may have missed the mark with its chunky milk spot.

You’re right, that’s not chunky milk. Frank’s Red Hot has been spending both halves intercepting other brands with 'Put That Emoji on Everything' alternative to spending big on a TV spot.

One of the most talked about brands, Bud Light, brought its Bud Knight into the fantasy world in its crossover spot with HBO’s Game of Thrones. Data from iSpot shows that 'Jousting' earned more than 170m social impressions by the middle of the third quarter.

Then there was the robot revolution.

Pringles was subtle with its sad voice-enabled assistant, while TurboTax and Michelob Ultra dove right in to what our future may hold.

Marvel got everyone talking with its latest trailer for Avengers End Game. It earned a ridiculous 335m social impressions, according to iSpot, and won the Quarterback award in Twitter's Brand Bowl for most retweets on a single tweet among advertisers during the big game.

Second Half

The NFL may have upstaged itself, and overshadowed one of its biggest brand partners, Pepsi, in the process, with the league's commercial of legends young and old celebrating 100 years of professional football.

Verizon slapped its name on the postgame show, but it tugged at heartstrings with its 'The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here' spot. It had a 14.4% digital share of voice near the end of the second quarter.

But Verizon got some blowback, too.

Amazon stayed neutral with its tongue-in-cheek 'Not Everything Makes The Cut' ad, with one ill-fated invention ejecting the Broad City girls from a hot tub.

The Washington Post made its Super Bowl debut, putting the ever-lovable Tom Hanks front and center during a shaky, tenuous time for media. The spot wrapped up the importance of a freedom of knowledge with the slogan: 'Democracy Dies in Darkness'.

Microsoft sported one of the best ads of the night. Data from System1 Research, which analyzed over 80 Super Bowl ads across four hours with more than 10,000 respondents, found Microsoft's 'We All Win' campaign had the highest rating.

What did we learn?

Beloved or detested, teased or held in suspense, Super Bowl advertising is a true multi-screen experience.

"The most interesting thing that is happening is that big brands aren’t relying solely on TV to advertise during and around the big game," said John Cornette, executive vice-president and executive creative director at EP+Co.

"More and more, they are leveraging social media and digital to connect and amplify their messages. This isn’t to say that TV and the big, epic, celebrity-laden Super Bowl spot is dead. It’s still very effective as a massive spark. But it’s not the only play."

It's not enough to just spend big on TV – the second screen viewing experience is real, and brands that leverage social momentum can maximize their opportunity at such big events.

And it may be worth it to take a stand. Data from social listening platform Sprinklr found that 87.6% of Tweets about purpose-driven ads were positive compared to 74% of non-purpose driven ads.

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