Super Bowl commercials were mix of memorable, forgettable

Sarah Schulte Image
Monday, February 8, 2016
A critique of Super Bowl 50 ads
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A Super Bowl ad cost about $5 million and reached more than 100 million people.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Even for those who didn't care about Super Bowl Sunday football, there was plenty to watch for during the commercial breaks.

Companies shelled out millions of dollars just to air one 30-second ad. And as usual, there were some memorable spots, and some duds.

Professor Tim Calkins, of Northwestern's Kellog School of Management, shared some insight into this year's Super Bowl ads.

A spot could cost $5 million and reach more than 100 million people, so companies hope their Super Bowl ad is a winner.

"In commercials, you want to entertain and you want to promote your product," said Steve Ford, of Steve Ford Music, who has been making ads for more than 30 years.

Ford, who has composed music for several Super Bowl commercials, said doing both is not an easy task.

He took detailed notes Sunday as he analyzed first-half ads. Ford's favorite was the Dorito/ultra sound ad, which his 16-year-old daughter also liked.

"One of the problems I have with a lot of the commercials is that they're entertaining, but you have no idea what they are advertising," Ford said. "(The Doritos commercial was) a situation where they combined the two brilliantly."

Other first-half favorites include avocado ad, Audi astronaut and the Mountain Dew puppy monkey baby.

"Because it was just so weird, it was good," Ford said.

Ford said the biggest waste of talent was the Squarespace ad, which featured comedians Key and Peele.

With close 40 first half commercials, Ford said there were many that were easy to forget including ads for T-mobile and Mortgage Rocket.

He added that since the Super Bowl is such a loud event that sometimes the most effective commercials are the quiet ones.

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