Congrats to the Kansas City Chiefs on their win over the San Francisco 49er’s during Super Bowl LIV. While most fans tuned in for some incredible football, members of the Woodall Creative Group team were dialed in to watch every glorious moment of advertising – each with an estimated price tag of $5M just to PLACE their spot during the Big Game. Here are our picks for the real winners of the Super Bowl – from a marketing perspective…

Tracy Woodall – WCG Founder and President

If there was a Super Bowl for the marketing industry, Tracy is the “coach” who would lead our team to victory. These are her picks for the most effective ads during SBLIV:

Watch: The Amazing Things 5G Won’t Do from Verizon

 “Using powerful still images and beautifully wrought messaging, this ad focused on the care, courage and sacrifice of serving others. While the benefits of the 5G product were effectively highlighted, the “Amazing Things” ad serves as proof positive that a high budget production is not required to create an impactful commercial.”

Watch: Be the One from Microsoft

 “How appropriate to highlight the 49ers female offensive assistant coach during this specific Super Bowl while subtly spotlighting the Microsoft Surface during coaching scenes. Using video and photos from Katie Sowers’ youth blended with sequences of her coaching the players and being “interviewed” in the locker room (a compelling image of a woman breaking the glass ceiling) with some terrific photos of young girls dressed out in football gear for a strong end, this is another example of an ad that didn’t require a high budget production to create an impactful message. As the leader of a woman-owned agency, I particularly love the powerful message, spoken by Katie herself: ‘I’m not trying to be the best female coach. I’m trying to be the best coach. All it takes is one. All it takes is one and then it opens the door for so many.’”

Jim Balke – WCG Creative Director

Our resident “quarterback” Jim offers up not just ONE, but two picks for best SBLIV ad as well as a couple of honorable mentions:

Watch: Typical American from Budweiser

“The best part about this for me is the cynical tone of the narrative in contrast to the good and heroic deeds visuals. Not just good and heroic but actual caught on video-put on the internet VIRAL good and heroic deeds performed by average folks (for the most part). Who drinks this average beverage but your average folks with whom they were connecting? Payoff product cap pop-off at the end with an inspiring common man exclamation point at the end, nice.”

 Watch: Password Paradise from Dashlane

“I’ve been on this boat. So relatable and kudos to an incredibly entertaining way of presenting the password predicament, covering all the usual PW blocks. Dashlane showed up big with a high quality, very entertaining ad for one of the few non-household named products.”

Jim also names these notables (because there were so many): AFM Shopping Network by Avocados From Mexico and Before Alexa from Amazon.

Nonni Csoka – WCG Client Relations

Our agency’s cheerleader, Nonni, also offers up two ads as her choices for the day’s playmakers:

Watch: Let it Rock from Facebook Groups

 “Displaying all the different ways to ‘rock,’I really liked the creative editing between scene transitions and superb timing on stopping – starting the song with what’s going on in the scene. This ad featured a great blend of ‘real’ types of activities that people may do along with some ‘funny/suggested’ types of groups. Great closing in bringing in Chris ROCK and ROCKy Balboa (aka Sylvester Stallone). The messaging was concise, and the SUGGESTIVE tone was ideal with just enough text appearing to let the audience know what’s going on and why. I was inspired to look through all the groups if for nothing more than for a light-hearted giggle.”

Watch: The Cool Ranch from DORITOS

“Always a contender, we can count on DORITOS to bring something new and fresh to the Super Bowl each year. The humor of this new take on a showdown featuring a dance off in place of a classic Old West gun fight was refreshing with a fun play on words with the ‘cool’ ranch. I particularly loved the quick humor from the horses. The theme ‘Cool Ranch Just Got Cooler’ works specifically for THIS commercial, but not seeing it long term. Maybe Doritos should have planned out a better slogan, that way they could have segued to future, less costly commercials. If that WAS their slogan, I can’t see it expanding to be very effective, seems limited. Not sure if it’s as memorable as Lays ‘You Can’t Eat Just One’.”

Kasie Bolling – WCG Content Specialist

In true Kasie fashion as the team’s “publicist,” her two picks evoke a variety of emotions:

Watch: Comfortable from Rocket Mortgage

“Featuring the ever so dreamy Jason Mamoa, this ad addresses what the concept of home means to all of us – a sanctuary where we can ‘let our guard down’, a place where we can ‘kick back and be completely comfortable in our own skin’… home is where you can ‘be yourself.’ As Jason utters each of these words, he sheds his boots – taking several inches off his height, sheds his signature well-muscled arms to reveal a couple of skinny little numbers, sheds his brawny torso in favor of a slender trunk, and – for the coup de gras – he removes his glorious head of hair. This ad proves that you can be hilarious while delivering a highly effective message: ‘Home is where you feel the most comfortable and Rocket Mortgage helps you feel comfortable financing that home with a personalized and convenient experience centered around you.’  What I liked most – besides Jason’s stunning set of peepers – is the staying power of this commercial. People were talking about it the next day, the day after that and so on. Between the price tag to land Marvel’s Aqua Man and the impressive CGI effects, it was an expensive gamble that likely paid off.”

Watch: Loretta from Google

“Okay, so it wouldn’t be ME if I didn’t include a tear-jerker on my list – and Google came through in spades with its Loretta ad. Featuring a widower seeking ways ‘to not forget,’ he asks Google to show him photos of his Loretta. As he looks through the time-worn images and videos of their life together, types a place they vacationed in the search bar and interacts verbally with Google’s search assistant as he reminisces the love of his life, my tears FLOWED. Not something one would expect from a Super Bowl ad. The final message was from Google… ‘a little help with the little things.’ This one will stay with me – and likely many of the 102 million total viewers who tuned in for Super Bowl LIV. Putting a personal face on what some might deem an impersonal search engine – well done, Google.”

On Super Bowl Sunday, an estimated 98.2 million people tuned in to either watch the Rams take on the Patriots, Maroon 5 tackle the Halftime Show or see what delights advertisers had in store for us this year. By most accounts, it was a disappointing performance on all fronts. Still, several members of the team at Woodall Creative Group stayed glued to our HDTVs to select our personal favorites from the world of advertising. By our estimation, here are our picks for the best ads of Super Bowl LIII:

Tracy Woodall (company founder): Microsoft’s ad for the Xbox Adaptive Controller

This commercial shines the spotlight on physically challenged children who share the same desires as most kids their age… to have fun and play video games. To that end, Microsoft introduces the Adaptive Controller to help level the playing field. I am impressed that Microsoft used the large and diverse Super Bowl marketplace to promote a product that will meet the needs of a smaller audience. Microsoft focused on what is right and not what is most lucrative. Demonstrating a blend of innovation and compassion, this commercial will no doubt bring bigger dividends. Their slogan at the end of the commercial sums it up… “When everyone plays, we all win.” Watch Microsoft’s “We All Win”

Jim Balke (senior graphic designer): TIE… Burger King’s Andy Warhol Ad and NFL’s 100th Season

The NFL ad hit a lot of different demographics with historically noteworthy and legendary players spanning multiple generations of fans. It’s an entertaining “who’s who” of football that held my attention from beginning to end set against the fun backdrop of a tuxedo event. Watch SBLIII’s “The 100-Year Game” I also loved the Burger King spot featuring the late great Andy Warhol. Just like him, it was unexpected and different from all the other ads with its low-profile production. Its effectiveness may be questionable, but it was a gutsy move for BK marketing. Probably most importantly, I remember what was being sold, which wasn’t the case for most of the overly produced Super Bowl ads aired. Watch Burger King’s “Eat Like Andy”

David Wynett (senior strategy consultant): Amazon’s “Not Everything Makes the Cut”

What made this ad so memorable was that Amazon poked fun at itself by showcasing failed Alexia launches. It was hilarious to see the Boston Terrier ordering dog food again and again. Appropriate humor in advertising is always memorable.  Tie that with a leading brand, Hollywood legend Harrison Ford and you have magic! Amazon was successful in creating an ad that was not only talked about at the water cooler but was shared tens of thousands of times.  Humor in advertising can make ads quickly go viral spreading your message to millions who need a light-hearted break during the day. When your advertising budget is low look to humor to spread your message. Watch Amazon’s “Not Everything Makes the Cut”

Nonni Csoka (client relations): Budweiser Clydesdale Ad

OMG – where to start… this ad was an amalgamation of so many elements, so let’s break them down: 1 – the pooch with the wind blowing his flappy jaws… I was expecting to see his head sticking out a car window as the camera panned out, to find he was on top of the wagon – made us all giggle; 2 – the wheat fields that looked like fields of melted gold – was a magnificent way of communicating the purity of the wheat used for making their beer; 3 – Then of course the Clydesdales — they radiate beauty, strength, resilience, power and are a long-standing symbol for the brand; 4 – THEN the fact that they are utilizing wind power as a supplement goes straight to the heart for those of us who care about our earth and energy usage. It felt like a departure from Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads of old but was still highly effective. Watch Budweiser’s “Wind Never Felt Better”

Kasie Bolling (content specialist): Hyundai’s “The Elevator”

Call me shallow, but I really LOVE Jason Bateman. I also really HATE the car buying process. This ad resonated most with me because it combined those two things and delivered them with a healthy dose of good humor. Shot inside an elevator and likening the act of car buying with the pain of a root canal, the drudgery of jury duty, the discomfort of the middle seat on an airplane and the awkwardness of “the talk,” Hyundai holds your attention – without ever showing its product until 45 seconds in. A risky move but it paid off. Used as a “vehicle” (forgive the pun) to introduce its new Shopper Assurance program, the ad ends with a ride to the top of experiences where it’s all classical music, blue skies, feng shui, a top-of-the-line Hyundai SUV and some well-delivered messaging served with the promise that “it’s car shopping made better.”  Watch Hyundai’s “The Elevator”

Do you have a personal fave from Super Bowl Sunday?  We want to hear about it!

Weigh in on our Facebook page!