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Who Were the Big Winners at the #BrandBowl?

Published: February 06 2017

This year, the 51st Super Bowl not only made football history in its exciting fourth quarter comeback, but also saw history being made in commercial advertising, which was known this year as the #BrandBowl.

Viewers from all over North America tuned in to watch the event, either for the football, for the half time shows or strictly for the highly anticipated commercial breaks.

The Super Bowl allows for marketers to go all out in crafting commercials that will capture the attention of millions and promote their brand. Each 30 second spot is worth millions of dollars and brands have to deliver a segment that will stand out among all of the other big budget promotions. With the purpose of catching the viewer's eye, this year it seemed that many brands chose to use their commercial time as an opportunity to challenge the norm.


84 Lumber 

This commercial follows a mother and daughter on their trek through Mexico to cross the American border. When arriving at the border they are stuck at a wall. It seems that they have been defeated, only to find a wooden gate that welcomes them in. 84 Lumber promotes that they welcome people in.  

This segment was deemed “too controversial” for the whole commercial to be shown on television. 84 Lumber used their moment to entice viewers into the story that they had created and drove them online to see the rest of the story. Shining a light on current events, 84 Lumber did a great job at going for it and for getting a message across.



Promoting the journey of immigrant founder Aldolphus Busch, the commercial tells the story of his journey to America to pursue his dreams. Budweiser conveniently told this story at an opportune moment in current events, and showcased America as a place for pursuing dreams. The brand has since received backlash as some viewers deemed it as a topic of illegal immigration, to the point where the hashtag #BoycottBudweiser has been seen on social channels. The commercial has certainly created buzz.



Audi chose to use their time between plays to discuss the gender pay gap. The advertisement gets straight to the point and promotes that Audi, above all, is for equal pay. The commercial is presented from a father’s perspective about how he is going to tell his daughter that her life will be difficult because it is not as valued as a man’s. Kudos to Audi on their decision to spend their time and money on creating a piece that spoke to millions and addressed a controversial topic. Their campaign gets the point across that they will be a part of the solution to this issue.



The brand Bai (pronounced bye) had Christopher Walken saying the lyrics to N’Sync’s Bye Bye Bye, while sitting on a couch with the band’s star, Justin Timberlake. This commercial perfectly utilized influencers to catch and hold our attention as we wondered “What is going on here?” The question is, did it help to bolster the Bai brand or was it just fun to watch?

Which #BrandBowl commercial was your favourite? Do you think that the controversial ads created trust and pride in the brands that presented them? Or was the brand lost in the topic? Creating a conversation is key to brand awareness, and these brands certainly did that. Ultimately, these brands were message masters and all came out as our #MarketingWinners in the 51st Super Bowl. Oh yeah, and snaps for Tom Brady too.