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Super Bowl

Top Super Bowl ads that made you feel all the feels in 2015

By Gil Becker, Chief Executive Officer

February 5, 2016 | 5 min read

The Super Bowl is the biggest TV event in the United States, with over 114 million people watching every year. For months, teams across the country strategize, train until exhaustion and spend millions of dollars to make it to this grand event. Some don’t make it along the way, but those that are lucky to pass muster are adored by millions of people and will be talked about for months to come. To be clear, I’m not talking about football, but the real stars of the Super Bowl- the ads.

Let’s be honest, the game itself is only discussed following the event if there was an epic play or someone got seriously injured. The ads on the other hand, are talked about and shared online far after the quarterback tells the world that he’s going to Disneyland. Who could forget the adorable Volkswagen commercial with boy Darth Vader trying to access the force? Just thinking about the surprised reaction when the car turned on is enough to turn any sour mood, and it became one of the most widely-praised commercials of the year. So what is it about advertisements like The Force commercial that makes it stick? How do they become a sensation? The answer is simple: it is whatever accesses and taps into viewers’ emotions.

According to research conducted by Dr. Robert Heath, a professor at the University of Bath and a pioneer in establishing the value of emotion in advertising, emotional responses play an important part in building a strong brand through meta-communication. Heath explains: “The basis on which meta-communication operates is entirely emotional, conditioning your feelings and building strong relationships. An ad that resonates emotionally is one that will build a stronger better brand over time.”

This is why we trust brands like Apple and Coca Cola because a lot of their advertising isn’t selling a product, it’s selling the feeling of love, family, unity, fun, being trendy, etc. (i.e. the Apple Christmas and 'Share a Coke This Summer'). It creates a much stronger connection between the brand and the consumer, making them intrinsically more relatable and therefore, successful.

As we gear up for Super Bowl 2016, it’s the perfect time to take one final look at the top ads that mastered our emotions in 2015.

Snickers - The Brady Bunch

Having a macho man like Danny Trejo to play Marcia from ‘The Brady Bunch’ is creatively ironic and a perfect representation of what it means to be “hangry.” People loved the irony and identified with the feelings of being irrationally angry while hungry.

Purina - Puppyhood

This ad leads you on a loving journey where a man, who is essentially a puppy himself, takes on responsibilities and learns what it means to be a parent. It’s heart warming and relatable for any first-time pet owner or parent.

Kleenex - Unlikely Best Friends

This commercial told the story of a wheelchaired man who took in a handicapped dog and showed that life is still possible, even if no one gives you a chance. Kleenex is definitely required for watching this ad, which tugged on all the right heartstrings.

Clash of Clans - Revenge

This ad creatively breaks down the fourth wall and brings together two things that are widely beloved: the mobile game itself and Liam Neeson. It was relatable, funny, and trendy enough to still be discussed today.

Budweiser - Lost Dog

The story of a lost dog frantically trying to reunite with his best friend is enough to pull on some heartstrings. Add in an adorable puppy, a horse, a morose song, and the hearts of millions just swooned.

Based off the 2015 ads, it is clear advertisers understand the importance of striking an emotional connection. The next step is to ensure the correct emotional connection gets to the right viewer at the ideal time. The emotional aspect of the ad will have the greatest effect when the viewer can relate to the emotion. Personalization of emotional ads will become a major player in 2016. We can’t wait to see how the industry adjusts. Until then, we look forward to watching the game.

To find out why celebrity Super Bowl ads don't always pay off or check out this year's crop of ads check out our dedicated Super Bowl hub.

Gil Becker is chief executive officer at AnyClip.

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