Spending Money to Make Money

There is one particular Sunday every year when people gather around coffee tables piled with wings, chips and dip, brownies, and essentially any comfort food imaginable. These coffee tables full of food are usually centered in front of the largest television in the home, on which the Super Bowl plays for several hours. We’ve all been to these Super Bowl parties, but were we watching the game or the commercials?

[Read Ben Greer’s detailed coverage of the economics and the plays of the Super Bowl.]

Each year dozens of companies, publications, and Youtubers come up with lists of their top five favorite Super Bowl commercials. Thirty second commercials on this particular night of the year cost around $5 million each. So now, without further ado, here are my top five 2016 Super Bowl commercials.

  1. Colgate: #EveryDropCounts.

    This commercial targets the empathy in all of us, and it definitely worked on me. Their message is as simple as turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, but they tie it back to how little water there is available for everyone else in the world. It inspires you to make a little change in your life that would be life-changing in someone else’s.

  2. Amazon: Alexa.

    Alec Baldwin appears again in this Amazon Echo commercial; however, so do many other celebrities, including Dan Marino and Missy Elliott. This commercial appeals to our humor. The wit and quirkiness draw us in initially, with a What?!, and we are left with Alexa playing Missy Elliott’s new song, “Pep Rally.”

  3. Next is the now famous Doritos commercial, Ultrasound.

    This commercial is successful because it crosses boundaries other companies may not have the courage to cross. It pulls us in with the ultrasound, because who doesn’t love babies, right? However, the plot twists quickly when the baby is born chasing a Dorito that his mother threw across the room, followed by heavy screaming from the entire group. While it is a little disturbing, it got people talking, making it a successful commercial.

  4. Again, weird. This Mountain Dew Kickstart ad has had people talking for almost two weeks now.

    I don’t know if it’s the combination of puppies, monkeys, and babies that’s appealing to the public, or if it’s the product itself, but they’re doing something right. It’s similar to the Amazon Alexa ad, in that it leaves us with a song. The use of their catchy “Puppy Monkey Baby” song is key, in my opinion, because the tune is impossible to get out of your head after watching the commercial.

  5. Two words: Steve Harvey. In TMobile’s “Drop the Balls” commercial, Steve Harvey makes fun of himself for his notorious Miss Universe 2015 scandal.

    In my opinion, the most impressive aspect of this commercial was TMobile’s ability to take something that happened less than two months before the Super Bowl and base their commercial around it.

Total spending on advertisements during Super Bowl 50 was $377 million, the most in history. With today’s world of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, we often don’t watch commercials like we used to. However, companies continue to purchase these outrageously priced ad slots during the Super Bowl, because each year millions of people watch this event. This year, 111.9 million people tuned into Super Bowl 50 and its ads, and after that the commercials continue to be put in the spotlight for days through best and worst lists from publications like the The New Yorker and USA Today. Despite all of our current methods of watching television and ways of dodging commercials, the trends in money spent, made, and number of viewers continue to rise with each Super Bowl, suggesting that companies have to spend money to make money.

Featured image courtesy of youtube.

About the author

Madison is a senior at Collegiate.