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Recess roundup: 2019 Super Bowl ad superlatives

The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

This Sunday, around 100 million viewers tuned in to watch Super Bowl LIII. But with such a low-scoring game, attention shifted away from the game towards the other game-day tradition: ads. A 30-second slot during what feels like the advertising Olympics can cost a company upwards of $5 million. Companies go all out to make the most thoughtful, funny and memorable ads they can muster. In the sea of advertisements vying for the attention of millions, these are the ones that stood out the most.

Cutest Dog: Budweiser 

Budweiser, possibly the brand behind some most iconic Super Bowl advertisements, decided to dedicate this year’s spot to promote their dedication to using wind energy for their breweries. Naturally, the best way to do this is to show a Dalmatian puppy flopping in the wind of their classic horse drawn carriage.

Smartest Dog: Amazon 

Amazon used their space to humorously highlight all of their Alexa products that “didn’t make the cut.” These included a toothbrush/speaker, a dog collar that allows canines to make orders and a hot tub that spits out water displays. Despite celebrity appearances from Harrison Ford, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson and Forest Whitaker, the star of the show was a French bulldog with a taste for gravy.

Most Satisfying: Michelob Ultra 

In what was the most spine-tingling ad of the night, Michelob Ultra decided to use their time to appeal to the senses. They enlisted the help of Zoe Kravitz to help pay homage to one of the latest internet trends: ASMR. The ad features some strong whispering, finger tapping and pouring of beer, all hoping to leave the viewer with the urge to experience the beer for themselves.

Most Inspiring: Microsoft 

Microsoft, the other technology giant on this list, decided to go a different route. Instead of getting big names, they decided to highlight a positive message of inclusivity in gaming. Their ad showed how their new disability friendly remote control is helping children feel more comfortable and accepted while playing with their friends.

Best Crossover: Bud Light 

Bud Light’s Bud Knight finally met his end at the hands of Game of Thrones’ the Mountain. This advertisement was almost as much “Game of Thrones” as it was Bud Light, which is probably what makes it so memorable. “Game of Thrones” is a cultural phenomenon, and teaming up with it is never a bad decision.

Most Empowering: Bumble 

Bumble decided to play to their strengths and highlight the female forward aspect of their app. To show this off, they enlisted in the help of Serena Williams to spread the “ball in her court” message. The ad, which features a young version of the tennis star, prompts young women to recognize their power.

Best Wordplay: Bubly 

Who better to advertise Bubly than Bublé? This ad, centered around a mispronunciation of both Bubly water and Michael Bublé, was one of the most refreshing spots during the Super Bowl. Hopefully this translates into the beverage. 

At the end of the day, this year’s ads, while interesting, were widely regarded as yet another flop of the night. Few ads decided to push strong social issues. Few ads decided to take risks. Instead, we were left with a group of indistinguishable and cookie-cutter commercials. 

This year, Skittles decided against a Super Bowl ad, and instead produced a one-day off-Broadway play whose proceeds went to charity. If this trend of companies moving to less prime-time spots continues, the NFL may have to try new ways to draw in advertisements.