Why The Best Superbowl Commercial isn’t What You Think it is

March 6, 2017

After having a few weeks to reflect on the Super Bowl commercials, I’m finally ready to decide what I believe was the best commercial, and it’s probably not what you’d think it would be.

Let’s first give out some honorable mentions,

This was the one with the girl in a Soap Box Derby race passing boys as her father narrated. Great message… but 90% of the leadership at Audi is male… Lying about your values isn’t a great way to connect with people.

This was was great, very funny and memorable.

Very political but it hit at something people have strong beliefs in one way or another. A good story for only 60 seconds.

So now before I give my pick, let’s first describe the criteria of what makes a great advertisement.

  1. Gives feelings and is memorable.
  2. Connects with the audience and their values.
  3. High return on investment.

Brands and companies fight for one of the few spots to advertise their product or brand at the cost of $5 million per slot. So immediately, #3 becomes very difficult for even then the biggest brands to see that kind of boost in sales from a single commercial. Even though 1/3 of the U.S. population is watching.

So, without further adieu, here is the best commercial we saw during the Super Bowl that generates all 3 of the criteria mentioned above.

…It’s actually a 2-way tie as they both worked together to make one thing for the audience.

Lady Gaga’s Halftime performance & The Intel Drones.

You may not have even thought about this as a commercial but it definitely was, they just went about it in a much smarter way by creating content over creating an ad.


Let’s talk first about being memorable. For most pop fans and geeks, this was the most memorable part of the whole Super Bowl.

Intel gave a lot of us in their target audience a feeling of amazement. They took a technology we thought could only work a certain way and showed us a completely different use that they made possible. I personally spent the next day researching how they did that. Really amazing stuff.

Between 7:50 and 8:40 pm, Lady Gaga was mentioned 2.1 million times on twitter. If people are talking, they’ll also remember.


Not many things connect with people personally like music.


Neither Lady Gaga or Intel had to pay for their “ad slot” which makes the ability for ROI incredibly high immediately.

Immediately after the super bowl, Lady Gaga sold 24,075 albums for a 1,980% increase in sales. If albums sell for an average of $12, She generated about $288,900 in less than a day…. Not bad for a single day.

For Intel, I’m sure there was a cost to make the drones and coordinate their flight, but I bet it wasn’t $5 million. It’s hard to gauge what their return on investment will be but by keeping their costs low, they positioned themselves pretty well for the possibility of a return on their investment.

All this data and info aside. Lady Gaga and Intel did one thing that separated themselves from other ads to go from good to great… Instead of being what stands between a person and their desired content, they became the content.

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