Super Bowl

Five Remarkable Super Bowl Ads

27 Jan 2017  

The Super Bowl is approaching fast. Advertisers are putting the finishing touches on each spot and starting to roll out teaser campaigns. Some brands have already released their 2017 ads.

This will be the 12th year of the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review. On Super Bowl Sunday, a panel of about 60 Kellogg MBA students will once again gather to evaluate all the ads. We will release grades shortly after the game. You can learn more about it here.

To prepare for our 12th Review, here are five remarkable ads we’ve reviewed over the past 12 years.

Google (2010)

Every once in a while, a Super Bowl ad comes along and just nails it. The ad grabs your attention. It’s different. It conveys a benefit and the brand is clear. Google’s 2010 spot falls into that group.

The ad was a surprise; nobody knew that Google was planning to run a Super Bowl spot that year. It remains a masterpiece.


Budweiser (2013)

It is hard to not love the Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl spots. The ads are captivating. The branding is strong.

The only problem is that the ads don’t sell much beer, which is why AB InBev has moved on to other creative ideas. There isn’t a compelling call to action.

This 2013 ad is my favorite.


Dannon (2012)

There is a competitive element to Super Bowl ads, as illustrated brilliantly by this ad from Dannon.

At the time, Dannon was getting demolished by Chobani. The new yogurt brand was quickly stealing share with its Greek yogurt line.

This ad was aimed directly at Chobani. The message was quite clear: “We are fighting back. Your glory days are done. We are going to wallop you.” Which is what Dannon has done to Chobani ever since.


Cheerios (2014)

Companies sometimes use the Super Bowl to make a statement. General Mills did this in 2014 with its charming spot featuring a biracial couple.

In 2013, some people had complained about another Cheerios ad that featured a biracial couple. In this Super Bowl ad, General Mills responds to the criticism by clearly stating that the company supports families of all types. It won’t stop showing diversity. Instead, it will salute the concept on the biggest marketing platform of all.



U.S. Census (2010)

This ad received a well-deserved grade of F from the Kellogg panel in 2010. It shows what happens when an advertiser tries too hard to be creative.

Sadly, this was funded by your tax dollars.


What will this year’s advertisers create? Will the ads surprise or offend? Watch the event on February 5 and look for the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review grades here.

2 Responses

  1. I always find this an interesting struggle between creativity to cut through the clutter like most advertisers do for something like the Super Bowl vs creating a spot or a campaign that actually sells something. It seems as though most TV commercials now are too skewed to the creative side and miss the mark by not creating consumer behavior that will increase their sales.

    I haven’t bought any Buds or Cheerios since these ads were run. I was (presumably) counted in the 2010 Census. Your comments about the Federal Government as an advertiser and waster of tax $s does open up many issues and open wounds.

    Can you share the evaluation tool you will use to grade the spots with your readers?

    • timcalkins says:

      Balancing creativity and a product message is a huge challenge.

      You can see the framework we use at the Super Bowl Ad Review Site. Click here.

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