marketingsquirrelFew would argue that this year’s Super Bowl had more hype than substance. With all the gold that appeared in the ads leading up to Super Bowl 50, viewers expected amazing TV ads. But while Denver Broncos fans left Northern California in a festive mood, most who live and breathe marketing and branding on a daily basis were disappointed when all was said and done. There was nothing that rivaled Apple’s 1984 ad, and there was nothing memorable on Twitter that reminded the Twitterverse of Oreo’s Tweet when the power went out at the February 2013 Super Bowl. However, there were a number of ads with a common theme, so some might say that this year’s ads went to the dogs.

Subaru’s ad entitled, “The Puppy,” presented a scenario that was easily identifiable with many parents. A dog was driving his Subaru around the neighborhood at night with his puppy in the back seat’s car seat. The puppy finally fell asleep until the parent dog pulled into the house’s driveway. The puppy woke up and began barking, so the parent dog put the car in reverse and started driving again. The ad was cute – especially its tagline of “Dog Tested. Dog Approved.” Watch the ad here:

Doritos featured a group of dogs who desperately wanted to enter a store to purchase some Doritos (possibly for a Super Bowl party), but no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t get into the store as paying customers. In a final attempt, they dressed up in costume as one tall person. The ad was funny – especially with the wagging tail at the check-out stand. Watch the ad here:

And then, of course, there was the weird phrase “Puppymonkeybaby” for Mountain Dew. It seemed as if the creators of this ad were trying to recreate the Budweiser frogs from many years ago that said the name of the beer in three short sounds: “Bud, Wise, Er.” Or, it’s also possible that the ad’s creators were attempting to recreate the buzz generated by the “Wassup” campaign also by Budweiser. Either way, the dog was a cute pug. Watch the ad here:

PR Week reported that brand tracking companies differed over who “won” the PR battle during the Super Bowl, but all pointed to Doritos, Hyundai, and Budweiser being among the best at engaging the public and social media users. Brandwatch tracked social media brand mentions during the game’s four-hours and crowned Doritos the winner with 89,000 mentions, followed by Pepsi with 38,000 mentions. Pokemon, Mountain Dew and Budweiser made up the rest of its top five.

Jacques de Cock, a faculty member at London School of Marketing, said the game will have been watched in half of US households. “The Super Bowl is a phenomenon unsurpassed in the world. It is one of the few national social events, which is also why social media traffic during the game is so high…What is also remarkable is that advertising is not viewed as something to skip, but is seen by 77 percent of viewers as part of the entertainment and therefore more watched and engaged with than any other television advertising during the year.”

What about you? What ad stood out on your ad radar? Please chime in.

Image Credit: Thanks to Tom Fishburne for use of his cartoon with this post.