Which commercial won the Super Bowl broadcast?

Sources: Ads by Proctor & Gamble; T-Mobile; Audi; 84 Lumber
Feb 06, 2017
Tom Ryan

With 30-second spots costing $5 million a pop, advertisers had a lot riding on the commercials placed during this year’s Super Bowl broadcast. Many, as in years past, fumbled the opportunity while others scored big. Here’s a list of top spots identified in reports from around the web.

USA Today’s Ad Meter ranking gave the five best commercials to:

“Hero’s Journey” from Kia.
The comedic spot starring Melissa McCarthy had the actress using the automaker’s Niro crossover vehicle to get to environmental trouble spots to try and save whales, old growth forests, the ice caps and rhinos.

“Yearbooks” from Honda.
The spot animated old photos of celebrities set within yearbooks. The stars included Tina Fey, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Missy Elliott, Stan Lee and others, who offer advice to those with big dreams today.

“Daughter” from Audi.
This ad effectively made the case for equal pay for equal work, which is part of the German automaker’s personnel policy. The commercial featured a father’s voice-over discussing the reality of gender inequality in workplaces while providing a compelling video demonstrating that worth has nothing to do with being a male or female.

“Born the Hard Way” by Budweiser.
The spot followed Adolphus Busch as he made the journey from his native Germany to the United States. On arriving in America, Mr. Busch was greeted by anti-immigrant sentiment until he finally found his way to St. Louis and a meeting with his future business partner, Eberhard Anheuser.

“BradshawStain” by Tide.
This commercial starred former Pittsburgh Steeler great Terry Bradshaw in need of a clean shirt just before he and his colleagues are getting ready to go on set for the broadcast of the Super Bowl. After a journey, the quarterback turned broadcaster wound up at the door of actor Jeffrey Tambor who used the laundry detergent to return Mr. Bradshaw’s shirt to its original brilliant white condition.

Advertising Age gave four stars to:

  1. Honda – “Yearbooks”
  2. It’s a 10 Hair Care – “Four More Years”
  3. Bai – “Gentleman”
  4. Squarespace – “Calling JohnMalkovich.com”
  5. Clean – “Cleaner of Your Dreams”

Adweek’s five best spots were:

  1. 84 Lumber – “Journey”
  2. It’s a 10 Hair Care – “Four More Years”
  3. Audi – “Daughter”
  4. T-Mobile – “#NSFWireless”
  5. Clean – “Cleaner of Your Dreams”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What were your favorite and least favorite ads from this year’s Super Bowl broadcast and why?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"At a time when politics is divisive, it was good to see so many advertisers urging us to come together."
"While not on any most-popular list I’ve seen, Ford’s mini-movie “No One Likes to Get Stuck” was probably my favorite overall."
"Did I miss a Doritos spot?"

Join the Discussion!

13 Comments on "Which commercial won the Super Bowl broadcast?"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Max Goldberg

I like the Budweiser spot for its rich story. I also like that so many of the ads were inclusive and saluted America’s diversity. At a time when politics is divisive, it was good to see so many advertisers urging us to come together.

Cathy Hotka

This time the game itself upstaged the ads. But from the uplifting (Journey) to the mobilizing (Audi) to the hilarious (50 Shades of T-Mobile) there was plenty here for everyone. Did I miss a Doritos spot?

Adrian Weidmann

“Born the Hard Way” from Anheuser-Busch and “Journey” from 84 Lumber were my favorites. I think 84 Lumber was the big brand awareness winner!

Richard J. George, Ph.D.


  • Kia and Mr. Clean — both entertaining, memorable and on-message.

Least Favorites:

  • Michelob Ultra — the only thing going for it was the Cheers music;
  • Budweiser’s Spud MacKenzie — a long way from its award-winning Super Bowl ads.
Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)

Kia and Squarespace get my votes as each presented product/service offerings that solve problems and presented the brand in a memorable way. The Bai beverage ad should be applauded for the leveraging of the Old Spice Real Man ads.

David Livingston
3 years 1 month ago

I thought many were in poor taste having some kind of political or social message. With many I had no idea what product or service was being advertised. The one that really surprised me was 84 Lumber. They have been around forever but I have never seen one of their commercials before. I was wondering if they were still around.

Tom Redd

For we men who demand some house rights back, the Mr. Clean ad was great and the Yearbook ad (for us geeks). In our own homes, we guys get our space taken by kids, our garages overrun as storage. These are dude spaces — not storage — and we see the bathroom closets fill with too much girl and guest stuff! So when we clean, we demand some thanks. Go Mr. clean. (No, I am not sure about his outfit.)

Sky Rota
3 years 1 month ago

My mom and entire family were screaming and cracking up at the Mr. Clean one. My Mother said, “it’s about time they made his actions go with his look and keep it real.” I didn’t understand the 84 Lumber one, I don’t even know what that is. I didn’t love any of the commercials. I loved seeing the movie previews, they were fantastic.

Ed Rosenbaum

The Anheuser-Busch and Yearbook spots get my vote. But on a side note I did not find this year’s group of ads to be as memorable as past years.

Bart Foreman

Not a lot of consensus. My big question is, when did we get away from the art of selling products and migrate to making ads social commentary? I expected more humor this year but only Kia, Tide and Mr. Clean hit home runs in my opinion. Squarespace was cute and funny, but I still don’t know what they do after watching the ad.

James Tenser

While not on any most-popular list I’ve seen, Ford’s mini-movie “No One Likes to Get Stuck” was probably my favorite overall. It portrayed a variety of real-life frustrations (stalled ski-lift; kite caught in tree; traffic jam; car stuck in snowbank) and then how Ford was working on solutions that will make life a little better. Light humor and a relevant message from a company that wants to be viewed as a progress leader.

Least favorite for me was the disturbing Humpty Dumpty spot from TurboTax.

John Karolefski

My favorite was the Budweiser commercial which provided a solid story to back the brand. My least favorite was Spud MacKenzie. I bet most Millennials have no idea of the original commercials years ago, so much of the impact was lost for much of the viewing audience.

Naomi K. Shapiro
This year’s ads didn’t deliver. They broke into groups: Cars, food and drink, technology companies, movies, household products, insurance and services, etc. Most of the ads were obtuse and antithetical to action. I thought the “historical” ads (except Yearbook) were blurry and unclear. My favorite was McDonald’s. I realized that my mouth was watering and wanted to go out and get one immediately, which is a sad commentary on the rest of the ads which should have been more “impressive” (as in, making an impression). Maybe with a side of avocados from Mexico, which was was engaging, entertaining, appetizing, and effective. The car ad for Mercedes with Peter Fonda (Born/Built to be Wild) was a nice upgrade on what Wild Bunch graduates might ride. Least favorite: The Melissa McCarthy ad was frantic, misrepresentative and NOT FUNNY, especially if you’ve ever nearly been fallen on by a breaching whale (I have), walked on a glacier and NOT fallen in, chopped wood, etc. Smarmiest: Febreze bathroom break (even though they get credit for “tackling” this subject). And… Read more »
"At a time when politics is divisive, it was good to see so many advertisers urging us to come together."
"While not on any most-popular list I’ve seen, Ford’s mini-movie “No One Likes to Get Stuck” was probably my favorite overall."
"Did I miss a Doritos spot?"

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