(Gray News) - Companies tugged at heartstrings, brought surprises and rolled out celebrities - including one from the past - in their attempts to make a memorable commercial for Super Bowl LIII.
With price tags in the millions for a 30-second spot during the big game, advertisers go all out to get people talking and make the cost worth it. Here are some of the ads that got social media buzzing and will have people talking at work Monday.
Microsoft’s commercial focused on the company’s Xbox adaptive controller, which came out in September. The almost 2-minute extended version interviews several disabled gamers, all of them children, and lets them explain what they like about video games and the new controller.
“What I like about the adaptive controller is that now, everyone can play,” said one of the kids, 9-year-old Owen.
The commercial’s overall message is summed up in one sentence at its end: “When everyone plays we all win.”
In a statement, Microsoft said the controller can help people with disabilities “enhance their gaming experience,” according to CNET.
“What better message for a premiere sporting event?" the statement added.
Though Amazon’s Alexa commercial starts by introducing the real, voice-controlled AmazonBasics Microwave, it quickly devolves into a series of supposed testing mishaps.
Each of the tested products features at least one celebrity using it, and they all end disastrously. Don’t expect to see a voice-controlled toothbrush any time soon, the commercial says: Forest Whitaker couldn’t hear his podcast.
The fails keep getting worse and worse until, in the end, astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly can be seen at the International Space Station, trying to get a voice-activated product to work. But all it does is turn every light on Earth on and off again.
Like Amazon, Pepsi recruited some star power for its Super Bowl commercial in the form of Steve Carrell, Lil Jon and Cardi B.
When a waiter asks a customer who ordered a Coke if Pepsi is an OK substitute, Carrell gets offended and goes on an impassioned rant about how good Pepsi is.
“Are puppies OK? Is a shooting star OK? Is the laughter of a small child OK? Pepsi is more than OK,” Carrell says.
Rappers Lil Jon and Cardi B then step in and offer their versions of the word “OK.” In the end, this causes both the waiter and customer to want Pepsi, which is by now “more than OK.”
“I gotta come up with my own catchphrase,” opines Carrell, after failing miserably to mimic Cardi B.
Forget the horses – this year, Bud Light recruited dragons by teaming up with HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
The commercial begins at a medieval jousting tournament, an extension of the Anheuser-Busch company’s previous commercials in the same universe. But even though the people of the kingdom clearly expect the Bud Knight to triumph, he’s quickly knocked from his horse.
To the crowd’s horror, “Game of Thrones” character the Mountain kills the Bud Knight, before a dragon swoops in and lays waste to the jousting grounds as the HBO show’s theme song plays.
The commercial ends by displaying the hashtag “For the Throne” and the April 14 premiere date of the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones.”
Burger King went a quieter route than most with its Whopper commercial, but it doesn’t seem to have paid off, with most of the reaction overwhelmingly negative.
The commercial pares down a 15-minute piece of documentary footage of famous artist Andy Warhol eating a hamburger from the 1982 film “66 Scenes from America,” according to Ad Age.
The largely silent 45-second ad shows Warhol unwrap a Whopper, add ketchup and eat the hamburger. It ends with the hashtag “Eat Like Andy.”
Burger King says the ad was supposed to show that anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, can enjoy a burger, Ad Age reports. It was also intended to stand out from the typical Super Bowl commercial.
"It’s like a silent assassin in the clutter of the Super Bowl,” said Fernando Machado, Burger King’s global chief marketing officer, according to Ad Age.