Monday mornings are always the same for me. I drag myself out of bed at 5AM, I blindly find my coffee pot and I just survive the morning. Today is different. Today I’ve got a little pep in my step because last night I watched Justin Timberlake for 14 glorious minutes! I could take this time to dissect the Super Bowl halftime show but why waste our time? We all know Justin brought Sexy Back and we will be scalping tickets for his new tour. Instead let’s talk about the other reason we went to the Super Bowl party (besides the insta pic and cheese dip) the COMMERICALS!

Every year the Super Bowl commercials are basically a battle between the companies who can leave the most significant impression on the nation. Some commercials make you laugh or cry while others make you think “what company was that for?” Below are the good, bad and ugly commercials that got Choice talking this morning.

My Favorite Ad:

Budweiser – “Stand by Me” 

Budweiser does it again – they gave me all the feels! They normally win my love using an adorable Golden Retriever puppy but this year they took a less fluffy route. The beer company used their 1-minute slot to highlight how they made a difference in our country over the past year.

It’s no secret that Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California all suffered terrible natural disasters in 2017. During the aftermath of each event we saw news highlights of Budweiser trucks delivering canned water to those affected. However, during their Super Bowl ad they showed us how they were able to supply the much-needed water to those hurting. Because of their loyal customers, they were able to halt beer production and start canning water for those in need.

Budweiser’s commercial left me hopeful and full of pride to live in a country with companies like them who would sacrifice revenue to serve others in desperate times. That’s the country I am proud to call home.

My Least Favorite Ad:

Lexus – “Black Panther”

My least favorite commercial during the Super Bowl-extravaganza, is the Lexus LS 500 commercial. Ok, I get it – superheroes and fast cars – but this just left me so bored. It’s easy to see that perhaps I am not the target demographic Lexus was going for with their action scenes and suave moves, but this commercial was absolutely missing the why and the feels the Budweiser commercial gave me.

Heather’s Favorite Ad:

Lindsey Vonn – “Girl On Fire”

One word: BADASS. NBC’s perfectly timed #SuperBowlAd brought forth every emotion I needed to pump me up for the Olympics later this week. With my Olympic schedule prepared and my NBC Sports app downloaded, I’m ready to snuggle in with my brood til February 25, watching #TeamUSA take home all the gold. But this ad, this ad made me stand up and cheer. Lindsey Vonn is the epitome of a perfect Olympic comeback story. She’s a champion (the first ever American woman to ever bring home gold for downhill skiing), but she’s a fighter, an overcomer. We want her to win to redeem herself from that horrific accident that caused two frightening scars (predominately on display during the ad, I might add). We want her to win for every female who is fighting to prove herself in some way. We want her to win because she’s an American. And that, that’s exactly what NBC is hoping. Me? I’m headed to my closet to find my red, white and blue.

Heather’s Least Favorite Ad:

Ram Trucks – “Built to Serve”

Words escaped me as I sat flabbergasted last night watching this commercial. I’m not gonna lie, as a Southern girl with a Daddy who has always driven a big American truck, these commercials are usually some of my favorite. In NO WAY was that the case last night. To take one of the greatest men of all time’s incredibly powerful words (a call to action) and misuse them in such a way as to promote your product left me sick to my stomach. Martin Luther King, Jr’s words echoed throughout the ad:

“If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized —wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”

As someone who takes seriously the act of servant leadership, who wants to honor heroes (like those examples depicted during the commercial – a teacher, a soldier, a fire fighter), I was appalled at the connection Dodge insinuated: a Ram truck is “built to serve” you like those heroes. I guess that’s why my Daddy has always purchased Chevys.

Kerry’s Favorite Ad:

NFL’s – “Touchdown Celebrations to Come”

We all love a good touchdown celebration dance. But, I’ve never seen one quite as good as Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.’s reenactment of the “Dirty Dancing” finale.

I’ll give Eli’s dancing a C-, but it *was* hilarious and absolutely worth the wait for the big finish. With some very good but serious commercials, this was one was some classic comic relief. Although I am still a bit confused by the NFL commercials in general (isn’t the whole Super Bowl an NFL commercial?), but I certainly won’t complain!

Kerry’s Least Favorite Ad:

Diet Coke Twisted Mango – “Groove”

Ugh, why? It’s hard to find a kinder reaction. If you missed it (congratulations), this was a short clip of a girl dancing and talking almost incoherently about Diet Coke Mango.  While I adored Eli and Odell’s dance, I COULD NOT wait for this bizarre, cringe-worthy dance to end. Known for hilarious and often epic Super Bowl commercials, this was a miss for Coke. I won’t even get into my thoughts on adding mango flavoring to Diet Coke. Here’s hoping Diet Coke is saving something better for advertisements during the Olympics.

Maggie’s Favorite Ad:

Hyundai – “Hope on Wheels”

As a passionate supporter of childhood cancer research, this commercial hit close to home. Number one, I was brought to tears because of the connection that the Hyundai owners immediately felt with the cancer survivor. Secondly, Hyundai isn’t the hero here…the car owner is. If I’ve learned nothing from our client Donald Miller and his company, StoryBrand, it’s that you never make your company the hero. You are the guide; your customer is the hero. Always. I’m in the market for a new car myself and now Hyundai has my attention.

Maggie’s Least Favorite Ad:

SquareSpace – “Make It with Keanu Reeves”

I honestly thought this was an ad for a motorcycle. Keanu Reeves doing tricks in the middle of the desert…who knew it was a SquareSpace ad? SquareSpace is a tool to help you build a beautiful website. But am I really supposed to connect an actor (who peaked in the 1990s while starring in “The Matrix”) standing on a motorcycle with that? Two thumbs down. 

Tamara’s Favorite Ad:

Amazon Alexa – “Alexa Loses Her Voice”

Alexa might have lost her voice, but Amazon managed to cut through the noise loud and clear. I love the current relevance of this story’s set-up – not only because it’s flu season and being sick is something we can all relate to, but also because it plays up the irony of a personified Alexa losing the exact thing for which we depend on her. The story unfolds as famous names and voices fill in for Alexa, and the celebrity tie-ins are clever, relevant to the story line and we all laugh along as they crash and burn at the tasks they’re given.

As viewers, we find ourselves (along with the characters in the ad) missing the faithful helper Alexa. This spot had me engaged and amused, but more importantly, it left me with Amazon’s true message – that Alexa is one-of-a-kind and cannot be imitated or replaced.

Tamara’s Least Favorite Ad:

Wendy’s – “Iceberg”

In “Iceberg,” Wendy’s throws shade at McDonald’s for flash freezing their beef patties, and then they contrast to their own “always fresh never frozen” philosophy. Don’t get me wrong, I love a straightforward, directly-competitive ad, but if you’re going to call out your competitor, it needs to be done VERY well. This ad felt almost thrown together, and the message felt a bit disjointed, especially at the beginning with the rough McDonald’s to Wendy’s transition and the Titanic joke.

Props for keeping the message simple and straightforward, but the whole thing could have probably been summed up in 2 frames – “McDonald’s patties are flash frozen.” and “Ours are not.”

As you can see from the varying opinions among the Choice team, Super Bowl commercials offer differing levels of excitement, empathy, laugher, and boredom to everyone. That is the magic of these commercials, finding the common and differing values we see in each of them. But lets be honest, the commercials did not hold a candle (I mean crockpot) to “This Is Us”!

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AUTHOR: Devin Lee Hawthorne