Ad Bowl: Puppymonkeybaby and Willem Dafoe get buzz

David Koranda, a senior instructor of advertising in the School of Journalism and Communication, spent some time Sunday analyzing the ads that appeared during the Super Bowl 50 broadcast so he could provide some Monday morning quarterbacking on what might be the second-biggest reason for watching the big game.

What follows is his off-the-cuff review along with some insight from a fellow faculty member and an independent company’s external review panel:


I first have to start with the audience and then why are they watching or using the medium. In the case of the Super Bowl, you have the largest mixed audience of anything on television. So it is difficult to say which is best and which is worst.

The audience is watching a football game, supposedly the best game of the year. And only 5 percent of the viewers are watching the game alone. So 95 percent are talking about the game and/or the commercials, and judging by the lines Saturday in grocery stores and Costco, many of them are drinking beer or wine and eating snacks of some sort while they watch the game and the commercials.

Taking those things into consideration, the spots that I thought hit the mark the most were:

Avocados from Mexico, Avos In Space (GSD&M) — Aliens talking about natural history.

Budweiser, Not Backing Down (Anomoly) — An unapologetic Bud vs. “pumpkin peach ale” and small craft brews

Mountain Dew, Puppymonkeybaby (BBDO-NY) — Weird combination of three things that are cute but combined are pretty creepy. Lots of people put off by it, but social media gravitated to the spot. It stood out.

Toyota Prius, The Longest Chase (Saatchi & Saatchi LA) — Ran 60 seconds and did a great job of showing what the car can do within a story of robbers using the car in a chase. It sold the car’s attributes without typical auto hard sell.

No More, Text Talk (Grey NY) — This is a spot that is chilling as well as memorable. A woman is trying to text her friend and it’s obvious there is a problem. was formed in 2013 to battle domestic violence, which became a public issue for some of the NFL players in 2014.

Honorable mention: Hyundai Ryanville (Innocean Worldwide) — Two women distracted in Ryan(Reynolds)ville demonstrate auto emergency braking.


AstraZeneca, Envy (BGB group) — Superbowl and constipation? Really?

Jublia, Best Kept Secret — Former NFL players talking about toenail fungus. Better than their previous commercials…

Colleague Tom McDonnell, a fellow advertising instructor who was a writer at New York agencies for many years, liked the Snickers spot with Willem Defoe as Marilyn Monroe and the Mountain Dew Kickstart spot, (“I think this will be the most talked about. People in my house hold were disturbed by it as they said ‘Ewww’ with a smile.”)

He also liked the Jason Bourne movie trailer and Beyonce’s Formation World Tour spot.

Dialsmith, a company with a large independent panel of people who rate commercials, rated the five top ads as Honda (“A New Truck to Love” with singing sheep), Jeep (“Portraits”), Coke (“Hulk vs. Ant Man”), Amazon (“Echo”) and Hyundai (“First Date”).