The millions of dollars that Super Bowl ads command have turned the commercials into a spectacle in their own right. They also provide great marketing case studies–what would a company do if it had one shot at reaching the broadest audience it could. This year, there was a fair share of funny, naughty, cheesy and inspiring spots as well as a few tear-jerking and even depressing ads. Technology was pervasive throughout many ads both from tech and non-tech companies.
The most impressive spot in terms of special effects was from Mophie, maker of the Juice Pack that was more of a must-have when iPhones had smaller batteries. The company, which has seen plenty of competition, aptly demonstrated an apocalyptic scenario caused by God’s smartphone going dead, which raises the question, “Can the Almighty make a smartphone so power-hungry that even He cannot charge it?”
Microsoft, the biggest tech company to advertise, had a heart-warming brand spot about a tech-filled bus that brings computing experiences to underserved kids. That’s all well and good, but it was somewhat surprising that the company, which is trying to refocus on innovation, didn’t take advantage of the airtime to promote such initiatives as its new ownership of the Lumia handsets from Nokia, its forthcoming Windows 10 operating system, or the crowd-pleasing forthcoming HoloLens. Intuit, which hosts the Turbotax.com filing Web site, kept things lighthearted with a Boston Tea Party spoof that suggested the Revolution might have been avoided with the free filing it offers. Alas, Seahawks fans would come to see that there would be other reasons to party in Boston later that night.
Mobile apps were to this year’s Super Bowl what dotcom companies were back in the late ’90s. A trio of war-themed mobile apps–Clash of Clans: Revenge, Heroes Charge, and Game of War: Fire Age. The first two featured a generous amount of animation footage; Clash of Clans won the day with Liam Neeson comically taking on his revenge-obsessed persona from the Taken movie franchise while the latter featured model Kate Upton in a live-action medieval war backdrop.
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