Up until yesterday, I did not even know who was playing in yesterday’s big matchup. Being from Omaha, a city without a professional football team within 180 miles, I find it hard to get into a game that might only have one Nebraskan playing in it.

Commercials, on the other hand, are a different story. Commercials are my jam.

Just as historic as the match-ups (and the upsets) are the prices for commercials during the game. At $5 million a spot, that comes down to $166,667 a second. And that’s a bargain considering your reach. Here is my breakdown of the best Super Bowl ad performances, and why I thought they were effective.

Local Winner: Baxter Auto

First off, I thought the Baxter Auto commercial was first rate. I found myself instantly identifying with the landmarks, the milestones, the teams, and the community. I am especially happy that #NebraskaHumaneSociety made the cut. While it may not make me want to run out and buy a car this second, it certainly will help Baxter be front of mind when that time comes. (For the record, that’s exactly why commercials like these work).


National Winner: Mr. Clean

In my mind, Mr. Clean did a great job of redefining the brand and adding humor to the message. It does a great job saying what many of its target audience are thinking while keeping the brand message in alignment. I loved how they refreshed a long-standing cleaning brand and modernized it a funny and clever twist (and a few dance moves). Most impressive was the way they tied the media integration; the commercial trended well on traditional TV as well as social media with the #MrClean hashtag. In this way, Mr. Clean really does shine.

Half-Time Special Mention: Lady Gaga

These days, a personal brand is just as important as a corporate one, and Lady Gaga did not disappoint. She captivated. She held her own without special guests. And she identified with her target audience in a way that made Americans proud. And she did it LIVE. She also managed to convey a message without saying it overtly, which is something clever marketers have been doing for years.

Please share your thoughts….What was your favorite?