Super Bowl reactions: Creatives dish on which ads worked and which ones fell flat

Super Bowl LI is officially behind us. After weeks of pre-teasers, teasers, gimmicks and even a few scandals, Super Bowl advertisers finally got their moment in the spotlight while the New England Patriots worked to overcome a point deficit and defeat the Atlanta Falcons.

This year’s crop of Super Bowl ads were largely defined by their political and social messages. Airbnb pushed a message of inclusion while both 84 Lumber and Budweiser referenced immigration in their ads. Audi was both praised and criticized for its spot advocating for gender pay equality – supporters commended the automaker for using the Super Bowl to tackle an important issue, while critics pointed out that Audi’s executive team is largely male.

Per usual, many of this year’s star-studded ads proved to be popular amongst viewers. Kia’s spot starring Melissa McCarthy placed number one on the USA Today Ad Meter, while Honda’s celeb-filled ad featuring Steve Carrell, Viola Davis and Tina Fey came in second.

The Drum has asked industry folk to give their thoughts on this year’s game day ads and discuss what stood out to them the most. Check out their responses below.


Matt Bijarchi, chief executive and founder of Blend

This Super Bowl was a rare triple combination of excellence within the game itself, the halftime show, and the ads that surrounded it all. Brands were breaking new ground and echoing progressive cultural sentiments in a way we’ve never seen before, one after another.

Coca Cola, Airbnb, Budweiser and 84 Lumber seemed to address the Trump administrations travel ban head on, and Audi broke new ground with a brave spot about gender equality. Snickers gave us a live ad, Bai gave us Christopher Walken and Squarespace gave us John Malkovich. On top of all that, Gaga gave us her best and the game itself was unbelievable. We were spoiled.


David DeRoma, executive creative director and partner at Supermoon

Being raised a hardcore Steelers fan, it pained me to watch this game. So to be honest, what I was craving was comedy and only comedy. For that reason, I really enjoyed the NFL's "Who's Next," Mr. Clean's "Cleaner of your Dreams," Squarespace's "Who is" (the long version), TurboTax's "Humpty Fall" (the long version), and the T-Mobile spot with Snoop and Martha.