Sunday’s Super Bowl 51 game was an exciting one for many viewers based on a number of reasons. It would be the New England Patriots’ ninth appearance at the big game – a record that ended in a major game comeback; Patriots’ Quarterback Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl game – another record; a half-time show performed by the extravagant Lady Gaga; and a number of ad campaigns sparking controversy surrounding President Trump and his ideals.

From a marketing standpoint, a handful of commercials stood out not for controversial messaging, but for their creativity, relevance, and brand positioning. While it is said that overall, advertising during the Super Bowl does not lead to a massive increase in sales, these brands all committed to spending at least $5 million for their spots during the broadcast. Why? Because the audience of 110 million viewers builds the perfect platform to showcase brand differentiation and innovative thinking. The TACK10 Tuesday Top 5 Super Bowl 51 Ads are as follows;

1. Snickers: A Live Super Bowl Commercial
Snickers presented Super Bowl viewers with a first this year, creating a live commercial. Skeptics put their doubts aside when the star of the commercial, actor Adam Driver, announced the game’s score while the ad played. Using the power of celebrity (which Snickers is well known for), comedy, and innovation, the brand succeeded in stepping outside of the box to deliver something never-before-seen. They also stuck to their slogan, “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” incorporating it naturally into the commercial’s message.

2. 84 Lumber: The Entire Journey
Perhaps one of the more controversial commercials this year, 84 Lumber presented the story of a woman and her daughter, purportedly from Mexico, journeying to the United States only to find a giant wall blocking their entry. Through further inspection of the wall, the pair find a wooden door which they then use to cross the border. It is easy to see the link between the commercial and Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, but upon further thought, the ad creates a great link between the 84 Lumber brand, and the notion of hard work and perseverance. Originally deemed “too controversial” for television, 84 Lumber aired a shorter version of the commercial during the game, prompting viewers to head to the 84 Lumber website to view the rest of the story. So many people were intrigued that the website crashed for a period of time during the broadcast.

3. Budweiser: Born the Hard Way
Budweiser’s Super Bowl 51 ad has also been the subject of political controversy over its subject matter. This commercial follows the immigration journey of Adolphus Busch from Germany to the United States, where he meets a man named Eberhard Anheuser. The duo would later form the company we know today as Anheuser-Busch, brewers of over 55 beers including Budweiser. While it seems the ad is commenting on the importance of immigration, the company maintains they simple wanted to express the story of their origins, evoking feelings of nostalgia in their consumers. Budweiser’s commercial is being praised across multiple platforms as one of the “winners” of the Super Bowl ad lineup.

4. Mr. Clean: Cleaner of Your Dreams
One of this year’s most entertaining – and perhaps surprising – Super Bowl commercials was developed by Mr. Clean. The personification of the Mr. Clean brand has been known by generations, but this year received a bit of a makeover. “Sexy Mr. Clean” helped position the brand in a more modern light, with an enviable product line. Mr. Clean takes a page from the Axe playbook in this ad, making an exaggerated “claim” to its male viewers that its products would make them more desirable to women. While we know this is not rooted in facts, it is a fun and fresh positioning taken by the brand. This was the first Super Bowl ad for the household product brand, who continued the conversation on Twitter after its commercial aired, using Mr. Clean’s new sexy persona to comment on other brands’ spots.

5. Avocados From Mexico: #AvoSecrets
Avocados From Mexico created a Super Bowl ad dripping in comedy and pop culture references – but that is not all. The brand also developed a digital strategy to coincide with their big game commercial, which received over 2 billion impressions before the ad was even aired on television. Leveraging both traditional marketing and the power of social media, Avocados From Mexico was able to prove that excellent user experience and influencer marketing are what build engagement and ultimately brand loyalty.