Attention during the NFL’s annual championship game is sometimes divided between advertisements and the actual competition. This year, it’s safe to say that the game itself was the biggest draw: After falling down 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons, the New England Patriots rallied back to win 34-28 in the first Super Bowl to ever go into overtime.

As thrilling as the game was, there was still some talk about this year’s commercials. Here are a few of the trends we noticed and what they say about the state of marketing and advertising in 2017:

 

Advertisers are Embracing Controversy

Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” was a striking visual retelling of the true story of how founder Adolphus Busch traveled to St. Louis from Germany to start a brewing company. In the current political climate, its pro-immigration message was an unmistakable one. The spot had mixed results – the ad led to some deciding to boycott Budweiser over its decision to make a comment on social issues instead of sticking to its usual fare of Clydesdales and frogs.

84 Lumber, a Pennsylvania building supply company, upped the ante with an ad that was so controversial that FOX didn’t even show the full commercial during the game. The 5-minute segment documents the journey of a mother and her daughter crossing Mexico in the hopes of entering the United States. Whatever your views, it was obvious that this year’s Super Bowl ads were more political than any in recent memory.

 

The Instant Nature of Our Culture Permeates TV

Everyone in the marketing world knows that speed is of the essence. We’ve seen this tenet on full display in America’s biggest game before: in 2013’s Super Bowl XLVII, when the power in the New Orleans Superdome went out for over half an hour, Oreo famously reassured followers on Twitter that they could still “dunk in the dark.”

This year, Snickers filmed a live, wild west-style commercial with Star Wars actor Adam Driver that was designed to look like a complete meltdown. Keeping with their longtime “You’re not you when you’re hungry” slogan, the company later tweeted an “apology” that Driver’s hunger had gotten the best of their spot. Hyundai shot a similar live commercial with U.S. military members in Poland watching actual game footage. We’re betting other companies will follow this model in future Super Bowls.

 

Influencer Marketing is Still a Thing

One thing that wasn’t new this year was the presence of celebrities. Justin Bieber, Christopher Walken, Justin Timberlake, Jason Statham, Joe Montana, Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart and the list goes on. For decades, we’ve seen the biggest sports and Hollywood stars hawking everything from soda to gum to cell phones, a trend that’s not likely to go anywhere. As digital channels become increasingly more relevant than commercials, we see this trend playing out on social media in the form of influencer marketing, a practice expected to continue growing this year.

At Comit Developers, we believe in the importance of capitalizing on marketing tactics used in all forms of media – from television to digital to print – to provide our clients with the best possible results.