Super Bowl 51: 4 Ads Changing the Game this Year

The Super Bowl isn’t the Big Game just for football players and fans — it’s also the biggest night in advertising.

With all eyes on the screen from the coin toss to the final play (and every commercial break in between), the pressure is on for advertisers to deliver the humor, heartstrings or surprises that viewers have come to expect.

After 51 years of Super Bowl spots, some might think it’s a struggle to deliver fresh, innovative content. According to NFL CMO and Clio Sports juror Dawn Hudson, “the challenge brands face to continue to do something new” is one of the greatest lifts in Big Game advertising, but it’s clear advertisers are ready to take the challenge and run with it. Check out these new, creative spins we can expect from this year’s Super Bowl.

Snickers & BBDO NY

Snickers’ quirky “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign claimed the first-ever Super Clio in our 2015 Creative Bowl, and this year Snickers and agency BBDO NY are continuing to go big by airing the first-ever live Super Bowl ad. Here’s what we know: The third-quarter spot will star Adam Driver and stunt horses, a 36-hour livestream from the set will preface the ad and Snickers’ approach is an entirely new way to make a Super Bowl statement.

Said Snickers brand director in an interview with Adweek: "Every year we challenge ourselves to find new ways to satisfy our fans’ hunger for entertainment by delivering something new and breakthrough, and there is no better way than being the first to have a Super Bowl live ad.”

Indeed, memorable twists seem to be the key to Snickers’ Super Bowl successes. “We know that people won’t remember more than two or three of these ads when it’s all said and done. So if you’re going to do the Super Bowl, then do it,” said BBDO Worldwide CCO David Lubars. “If you don’t, it’s like your effort never happened — $5 million dollars is a lot to have never happened.”

Hyundai & Innocean Worldwide

In a similarly live-focused move, Hyundai is opting to air its commercial immediately following the game. The reason? It’s filming during the game. Hyundai is tapping director Peter Burg for its documentary-style 90-second spot, which aims to “capture some of the best off-the-field Super Bowl moments,” according to a brand statement. "Our brand commitment is to make things 'better' and we are going to give some deserving fans an experience they will never forget. Peter Berg and his team will be capturing it live during the game and we can think of no one better to tell what will be an amazing story."

Tostitos & GS&P

Tostitos won’t be making an appearance on your screen this year, but there should be a bag of chips making an appearance at your watch party.  The brand and agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners have created a special “Party Safe” bag of chips that can sense alcohol on one’s breath. If detected, the bag’s logo will turn into a steering wheel, equipped with an Uber code, and display a “Don’t Drink and Drive” message. “For a football fan, there is a lot of emotion involved with a game. It’s easy to drink more than you planned,” GS&P creative director Roger Baran told Adweek. “And a lot of times all you need to stop short of driving after drinking is a friend who calls you off. On Sunday of the big game, we want Tostitos to be that friend.”


Another brand to combine on- and off-air activations, Ford will air a 90-second spot between the coin toss and kickoff that illustrates the new ways Ford is improving transportation of all kinds. To build on this amplification, the brand opened FordHub this week, an interactive center in New York City that showcases the brand’s most recent innovations. “It’s going to be interesting to consumers because they haven’t necessarily thought about Ford in that way,” Ford’s executive director of U.S. marketing Chantel Lenard told Adweek. “To be able to experience that and see those things first hand challenges people to think differently about the future and how those pieces work together.”

The third annual Super Clio will be awarded to the Big Game’s best ad on February 6. For more information, visit