The 2019 Ad Bowl Winners are…

The Bud Knight’s Last Ride

The 2019 Super Bowl was forgettable for most. The lowest rated Super Bowl in the last 10 years (44.9) and an overall ho-hum showing for the on field product. A 13–3 barn burner in which the New England Patriots won their 6th championship since 2002.

The ads, well, they felt almost as good as the offenses on the field.

Some brands attempted for cinematic emotion, and missed (namely the first Google spot).

Some brands tried the quick and funny, and missed (Pringles).

Others romanticized who they are instead of embracing what they actually are (looking at you, Kia).

Here are my picks for top spots from last night, in no particular order.

9. Michelob Ultra “The Pure Experience”

YouTube ASMR culture has gone mainstream and Michelob ULTRA nailed it with Zoe Kravitz. That tingling sensation you’re feeling, thats ASMR. If your watch party was anything like mine, a lot of people had no idea what it was and with a quick explanation, everyone rushed to discover more. Michelob followed up very nicely on Twitter with more ASMR videos in response to people tweeting them 👇🏻

Brand Observer Score: 8.7

8. Washington Post “Democracy Dies in Darkness”

A message that resonates because it has a direct link to the world we’re living in right now. In their first Super Bowl appearance, the Washington Post attempts to defend democracy with this beautiful spot. Leading with photos of D-Day, Civil Rights Marches, John McCain’s funeral and more and reminding us that knowing empowers us. Doesn’t hurt that Tom Hanks narrated. Brand Observer Score: 9.6

7. Devour Foods

I get it, this may not be for everybody, and that’s exactly why it works. Devour Foods went all in on the comedy, including pre-game lead up with ads on Porn Hub. This had my entire watch party laughing, cringing and wondering what Devour Foods was all at the same time. Their follow up on Twitter was equally as impressive, and they even had an ASMR video when I brought Michelob ULTRA and Zoe Kravitz into the conversation 👇🏻

Brand Observer Score: 8.3

6. Bubly Water vs Michael Bublé

This one is pretty simple. I didn’t know who Bubly Water was before, and now I do. And it’s funny because they were able to capitalize on the Bublé versus Bubly. Michael Bublé was excellent as well. Short and sweet. 
Brand Observer Score: 9.2

5. Amazon “Not Everything Makes the Cut”

The Alexa dog collar and Harrison Ford just spoke to me. It was hysterical watching Ford chase the dog around the house, only later to get a delivery of all the things ordered. Even though not everything makes the cut, Amazon makes sure you remember how easy it is to use Alexa do handle anything from running your hot tub to ordering home goods. Brand Observer Score: 8.5

4. NFL “The 100 Year Game”

As a football fan, this was so enjoyable to watch. Stars from yesteryear and today all coming together to go nuts for a fumbled ball. You have to watch this one to pick up on all the amazing moments, from the Immaculate Reception to Brady taking off his rings to attempt a pass. The NFL did a really good job pulling in all age groups, and even leveraged Sam Gordon, who won the “Game Changer” award at last year’s #NFLHonors. The Salt Lake City teen plays football herself and even started her own league. You’ve probably seen her viral videos. Brand Observer Score: 9.3

3. Microsoft “We All Win”

The first heart-string-pulling ad that hit was this one by Microsoft. Tapping into gaming and using kids with needs and their parents to show that Microsoft is making solutions for kids to be kids… home run. Really well done, simple, nothing too fancy, just delivered the message in an easily consumable way. Brand Observer Score: 9.6

2. Google “Job Search for Veterans”

Veterans and getting them jobs. Google knows the audience that watches American football really well. This was was also intriguing for those that didn’t know what the numbers meant, so it hooked you in. Google ties this one together nicely by showing how easy it is to leverage that MOS code to search for a new job. Brand Observer Score: 9.5

1.Game of Thrones x Bud Light “Joust”

Ding dong the Knight is dead. Is this the end of the Bud Knight? Well, Valerion torched him and the rest of the Bud Light kingdom in epic collaboration with HBO/Game of Thrones. It’s no mystery that Game of Thrones fans have been waiting for this epic final season (rumored to release later this year). Bud Light has also pretty much overdone it with the Bud Knight. So in an unexpected collaboration, what better way to kill him off than with a Game of Thrones dragon? My only hold up with this one is that if you aren’t a GoT fan, you may have completely missed this one. Brand Observer Score: 9.1

Honorable mention goes to T-Mobile, who may have had the best set of ads of the night, each building off one another. Not a singular great spot, but definitely pretty cool as a whole.

Overall, I thought the ads as a whole fell flat. These listed here resonated with me the most and the room I was in reacted most positively to. Also, these were the ones I felt stayed on brand the most, delivered value, and had some solid creative. It goes without saying though, the ads that are the most self aware (Bubly) and have the most simple creative (Devour and Google) end up being remembered the most.