Super Bowl Sunday: It’s football’s last hurrah every year and is a day filled with friends, family, food and fun. Oh yeah, and commercials! For some, the game is secondary to the ads. And now, with social media, there’s a whole new level of critique, discussion and examination of those pricy, prime ads.

For Super Bowl XLIX, the ads were pretty lackluster. Only a handful was truly memorable. The theme of the night seemed to be messaging: Ads on preventable death, domestic violence and girl power made impact. There were still hilarious ads by Doritos and Snickers and cute ones by Budweiser. McDonalds and Coca Cola went straight to the heart with their spots.

At Hay There Social Media, our team of experts (social media manager moms) watched the game – and the ads. We came, we saw, we Tweeted (and retweeted). And here’s our breakdown on which companies fumbled – and which scored touchdowns.

Korie Wilkins, @koriemw: I was a little underwhelmed by the Super Bowl ads this year. None really wowed me or made me want to Tweet or post. Many seemed to me to be geared toward women, specifically moms, which I was surprised about since I wouldn’t say that Super Bowl Sunday features much of a female demographic. I also was surprised at the amount of feel-good messaging and causes I saw represented (domestic violence, girl power, the importance of fathers).

The lack of American car ads was noticeable, as well – although I did really like the Chevrolet ads before the game asking women what kind of man drives this car or that truck.

The Nationwide ad about preventable childhood deaths blew up my Twitter feed for sure; many people were taken aback or just plain horrified by that ad. While this is an important topic, most parents – most people – don’t want to think about their kid dying on a party evening with friends.

That said, it did get people talking – and Tweeting – so is it a failure? In this age of social media, I do wonder if some advertisers played it safe, so to speak, because feedback – and backlash – is immediate and can be crushing.

Erin Rawlings, @mommyonthespot: My favorite part of the Super Bowl was the commercials, even the ones I didn’t like. I love to see the reaction on social media; when they are bad, they are still eliciting a response and to me that is fascinating.

My favorite ad was The Brady Bunch Snickers ad. Steve Buscemi was hilarious! After all of those ads that made me feel more emotional than I care to feel during a sporting event, I loved the comedic relief!

Nationwide’s ad with the little boy saying he couldn’t do anything fun because he died was the saddest ad of all. It was also uncomfortable watching that with my kids who are super sensitive to advertising. Know your audience! Also, I do not think that the connection between accidents and their product was very strong.

Emily A. Hay, @emilyahay: My favorite ad was definitely the Coca-Cola one promoting the #MakeItHappy initiative. I think this campaign is very on-point because the media (TV, Internet, print) can be so full of negativity, insecurity, bullying and depressing happenings that it’s important to keep in mind the world is what we make it, so let’s #MakeItHappy.

By adding this hashtag to anything negative, Coca-Cola will turn it around into a happy message. Think of how much positive change would occur if people used technology to discuss positive action instead of hate. Coca-Cola made me think of what the world would be like if social media could only be used to share happy thoughts. Well done.

My least favorite ad was the one for Go Daddy. They stirred up some drama before the Super Bowl by releasing a controversial ad meant to play on ads using cute animals. (The Go Daddy ad showed a puppy being sold via a website built by Go Daddy.) In the end, Go Daddy apologized for the ad, pulled it and substituted in a very boring ad that featured a man on his laptop. It felt like a very obvious marketing stunt (was there a hash tag??). Then again, it “worked” because it successfully garnered endless chatter on Twitter and we even discussed it on the Professionals panel on “Live in the D” on WDIV/NBC Detroit.

Lauren Weber, @LaurenWeber84: I was somewhat disappointed in this year’s Super Bowl ads. I like to think of the Super Bowl as a great opportunity to gather with friends for laughs, food and of course, football. Too many of the ads struck an emotional chord — something I was not prepared for. With my mom hat on, my favorites by far were the #LikeAGirl ad from Always and the #RealStrength ad about fathers from Dove. The ad that made me laugh the hardest was the “Middle Seat” airplane one from Doritos.

As a social media manager, I enjoyed the fact that many of the ads encouraged fans to tweet with a specific hashtag, but feel they should have incorporated the brand into the hashtag (for example – #DoveRealStrength). In my opinion, if you are going to spend that much money on advertising, you should also incorporate a social aspect for additional measurable efforts and branding purposes.

What did you think of our team’s assessments? Leave us a comment!

Emily A. Hay

Founder & Instructor at Social Media Manager Training Courses
Creator of flexible work opportunities for moms since 2009 | Shared our journey in FAIR PLAY Documentary by Reese’s Hello Sunshine based off Eve Rodsky’s book 🎥 | Work+Life Integrator 👩‍💻 👧 👧

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