Who’s going to win the Ad Bowl this year?

Is it the most entertaining or the spots with the most social impact?

By Gary Sloboda, Partner/Executive Creative Director

Once again, it’s the biggest game, but this time, it’s on not so much merely the biggest stage, but a stage surrounded with controversy and hot topics from within and outside the world of sports. There’s the NFL itself, with the lingering Colin Kaepernick saga, which caused numerous performers to bow out of participating in the halftime extravaganza (Notice how I substituted for the word, “show?”). Then there’s all the other stuff that’s out there: #MeToo, the Wall, etc.

So, in the face of all of this, some of the biggest brands have chosen to do something a little different this year with their $5.1 million to $5.3 million for 30 seconds.

Just look at Coke. For the first time in about a decade, Coke will not air a spot during the game, but instead has chosen to air a :60 animated spot prior to the National Anthem about “Unity.” This, of course, is totally on brand for the same people who, “Taught the world to sing in perfect harmony” many years ago.

Pepsi, on the other hand, is the sole sponsor of the Halftime Show. Also spot on brand, aligning with celebrities as it has in the past.

Gillette will be honoring the #MeToo movement by airing its controversial spot that asks the question, “Is this the best a man can get.” Some are blasting this effort from Gillette, while others are calling it a huge success for the company.

And, it wouldn’t be the Big Game at all without a make-you-warm-and–happy-all-over spot from Budweiser. But, this year, the brand has also chosen to tout a cause it cares about to the tune of Bob Dylan.

Lest we forget, Anheuser-Busch is also here to entertain.

This one event gives brands their biggest single audience of the year, so what an opportunity. People gravitate to brands they feel good about. We also know that this often means brands that support causes that are important to their markets. And, don’t forget, people just love to be entertained, too.

All week, we’re going to feature commercials aimed at creating social impact, as well as commercials only meant to entertain that will be running during this year’s game. Keep an eye out.