From Bud Light's collab with Game of Thrones to disturbingly chunky milk, 2019's Big Game still generated its fair share of talking points, says LBB's Addison Capper
It was the lowest scoring Super Bowl of all time. At points it seemed as if both the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams weren't all that bothered about getting their hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Viewers didn't seem to be fussed either; TV ratings hit a ten-year low. And so, on what could be accused as a bit of a damp affair, both on and off the field, brands still played a huge part of the story. LBB's Addison Capper rounds up nine of the biggest talking points.
1. Bud Light's Game of Thrones Mashup
Is this the end of Bud Light's Dilly Dilly campaign? Because last night the Bud Knight got brutally murdered at the hands of Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane before a dragon swooped in and set everybody on fire. Bud Light's collaborative effort with HBO's Game of Thrones was undoubtedly the biggest tongue-wagger on Sunday, and the Wall Street Journal dubbed it “one of the biggest and boldest marketing tie-ins the AT&T Inc.-owned cable network has ever orchestrated". To bring it to life, Bud Light's agency Wieden+Kennedy collaborated with HBO and Droga5. David Nutter, who directed the iconic Game of Thrones 'Red Wedding' episode, was brought on to helm the ad. He was reportedly joined by more than 25 members of the TV show's crew. We've got the Rains of Castamere on heavy rotation.
2. Bud Light's Corn Syrup
Another of Bud Light's spots from Sunday claimed with great pride that its beer was not made with corn syrup (and that Miller Lite and Coors Light are). The National Corn Growers' Association didn't take to this too kindly and duly took to Twitter to call Bud out and thank Miller and Coors for their support. Then a farmer filmed himself pouring his Bud Light down the drain. And Miller Lite responded, while Bacardi, Sam Adams and Heineken all weighed in on #cornsyrupgate too.
3. Hulu x world_record_egg
Last month a picture of an egg became Instagram's most liked image ever, hitting a monstrous 52 million likes and beating Kylie Jenner's announcement of the birth of her baby. Last night, the egg used its popularity to highlight issues surrounding mental health. An Instagram video showed the egg explaining how its newfound fame was causing it to crack under the strain of social media. "If you're struggling, talk to someone." Then the egg becomes whole again and a link to Mental Health America's website appears. The egg was actually created by an ad creative. Chris Godfrey works for The&Partnership in London - The New York Times interviewed him about the project here.
4. NFL + Civil Rights
Before Sunday's game began, the NFL ran a video in the stadium that featured Martin Luther King, Jr., other civil rights leaders and images of NFL players taking part in charity work. Dr. King's youngest child, Dr. Bernice A. King, was brought onto the field, flagged by ambassador Andrew Young and representative John Lewis, for the coin toss. This left a sour taste in the mouths of many due to the NFL's own issues with racial inequality. Ava DuVernay, the director of the film, decided not to watch the Super Bowl due to its "racist treatment" of Colin Kaepernick (the star of Nike's hugely talked about Dream Crazy campaign who kicked off the 'take the knee' movement in protest against racial injustice and who has notably been rejected by NFL teams since) and "ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of players". Bernice King also tweeted her reasoning for taking part.
T-Mobile aired five 30-second spots on Sunday, all of which were created by the brand's in-house team. Two of the ads in particular drew notable criticism on social media with accusations of sexism abound. One shows a texter unhappy with his girlfriend 'Kristi' and her constant longing for sushi - the implication being that women are calorie-obsessed and passive aggressive. The other shows 'Cathy' sending an incredibly long and emotional message. "I feel like that casually sexist 'ugh, girlfriends, so annoying, always wanting sushi not TACOS!' ad should have been left in 2006", said one Twitter user. Check out more comments on the campaign here.
6. Chunky Style Milk
T-Mobile-owned brand Mint Mobile turned stomachs with its decision to show a sweet looking family downing glass after glass of lumpy milk. It was gross. Someone on Twitter said that everyone involved in its making (it was created in-house and directed by Ruffian's Evan Silver) should be burned alive.
7. Streaming Services
There were fewer glitzy Hollywood trailers compared to previous Super Bowls, but Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix all aired trailers. The best of the lot was for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale. The season three teaser took its influence from Ronald Reagan's Morning in America presidential campaign ad.
Netflix revealed Our Planet, a wildlife documentary that it's made with David Attenborough, and Amazon Prime promoted its remake of the 2011 action thriller Hanna.
Jordan Peele also took viewers into The Twilight Zone, new episodes of which are set to air on CBS' All Access streaming service. (He also popped up in the Toy Story 4 teaser alongside comedic partner Keegan-Michael Key.)
8. The Washington Post
The Washington Post's plea for journalistic truth for the sake of democracy was a nicely made ad with a strong, important message. However, the Tom Hanks-narrated film did come in for criticism. Unsurprisingly it was a member of the Trump family first, with Donald Jr. suggesting they "report the news and not their leftist BS for a change". But then Freddie Kunkle, a staff writer at the paper and co-chair of its union, criticised the Post for spending so much on a commercial when it reportedly doesn't care for its employees all that much.
9. Skittles Commercial The Broadway Musical
Move over, Lin Manuel Miranda. Skittles began teasing its Super Bowl Broadway Musical a few weeks back, and reports from those lucky enough to attend suggest that it was both a total blast and incredibly meta. (We were gutted to be invited but not able to make it to New York for the big day). Check out more here.
We also picked our five favourite ads from Super Bowl 2019. Check 'em here!