2017 Super Bowl Ad Round Up! Less Humor – More Unity

Hola Todos!

It was a roller coaster of a Super Bowl both on the field and in the commercials off the field.  Given our current political climate, it was not surprise that the dominant theme of the evening was “unity” – starting from the pre-game rendition of “American the Beautiful” with the added “sisterhood” after “brotherhood” to Lady Gaga with the halftime show to Hyundai’s excellent 90 second post-game spot with the soldiers in Poland.  There were some laughs – I really liked the “Skittles” spot as well as Kia’s with Melissa McCarthy but humor did not rule the night. Although creative and unique, even humor king Bud Light went more “Ghost of Christmas Past” with their interesting and on message (but not funny) “Ghost of Spuds” spot.

I had a blast on Twitter with a number of professors ranking the ads.  We missed the humor; the Super Bowl is a party and people expect humor but largely, we agreed there were 5 or 6 standout spots.  I had Kia, Audi, Buick, Mr. Clean, and 84 Lumber in my top 5.  Skittles, Alfa Romeo, and BAI were also strong and noteworthy.  If you missed any, check out the USA Today Ad Meter ranking.

I was also impressed the interplay between social and the super bowl spots.  Mr. Clean did a great job digitally interacting on social before their ad aired.  The same could be said for Hyundai and their social media teasers prior to their excellent post-game ad.  Intel also gets a big thumbs up for their half time drones that they promoted via social.  However, some integration did not work out as well as the Square Space ad was flat, unless you saw the pre-super bowl teaser online first.

That’s a wrap folks and we’ll see if these ads and their themes last throughout 2017.


Dr. Dan-o


Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Director, MBA Program

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

2 thoughts on “2017 Super Bowl Ad Round Up! Less Humor – More Unity

  1. I feel like if a single humorous commercial from last year was inserted into this year’s slots, it would have been the most memorable commercial of the game hands down! Why do you think there was such a shift in underlying theme? Aside from the obvious political battles and progressive personalities, I feel as though one funny commercial would have been the talk of the SB for the next 3 months. This was an easy opportunity for brand recognition, and I think this was a BIG miss for companies.

    • Here’s what I think Dan…

      To do a commercial with the production values of a SB spot, it’s a 4 to 6 to 8 week process. AND you need to factor in the Christmas holiday downtime.

      The election was early Nov – chances are the brand and the ad agency made the decision for the commercial later Nov or early Dec – with filming in Dec or early Jan. I bet every one of these commercial were fully baked before Trump took office on Jan 20th.

      With that kind of a timeline, the culture and mood of Nov and Dec greatly influenced the creative decision. That said, too many of the ads were similar – losing their ability to stand out. The humor ads – like you said, were more unique because there we so few of them.

      Dr. Dan-o

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