In most years, the advertising industry would have a hard time keeping up with something as epic as the 2017 Super Bowl.
After all, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots stormed back from a 21-3 halftime deficit against the Atlanta Falcons to not only force the first overtime in Super Bowl history but to pull off the greatest comeback of all time, winning 34-28.
This wasn't most years, though.
In a highly politicized environment, ad agencies came with heartfelt messages. Funny messages were on full display as well, but the overarching theme wasn't hard to see by the time regulation ended.
Budweiser's "Born the Hard Way" is the one most will recall first:
Audi wasn't far behind with "Daughter." The effort, featuring a plea for equal pay, went viral within seconds of its conclusion:
A sampling of the reactions:
Aisha Tyler @aishatyler
Aaaah this Audi USA commercial on equal pay is every single freaking excellent thing in the world.2017-2-6 01:42:57
Nikki & Brie @BellaTwins
Audi ❤ Chills everywhere. Great commercial! N #SuperBowl2017-2-6 01:40:25
The most controversial—and emotional for most—ad went to 84 Lumber's "The Journey Begins," which Fox chopped up.
The tale of a mother and daughter's travels featured an image of a border wall, prompting a censored version of the commercial to appear during the Super Bowl broadcast:
ESPN.com's Darren Rovell was one of many to note the company didn't get what it paid for in the pricey slot:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
Doesn't get 84 Lumber ad that they paid $10 million for. Goes to website to find conclusion. Site is down.2017-2-6 01:12:53
Sunday wasn't just one big emotional message, of course. Funny ads were sprinkled throughout the broadcast, tipping the scales into a mostly perfect balance.
Companies such as Buick brought the heat with a commercial featuring Cam Newton:
And what's a Super Bowl without Brett Favre?
A bad one, that's what. Buffalo Wild Wings made sure the legend got involved with a solid offering:
As if that wasn't enough star power, Kia trotted out Melissa McCarthy for some hilarity:
This one had mixed results:
A few other ads deserve major nods.
The NFL made an anticipated return with its Super Bowl Baby Legends campaign. Avocados From Mexico put forth another brilliant offering. Both Coca-Cola and Honda gave viewers poignant messages in some of the best contributions of the day as well.
These must-see commercials are as follows:
Considering each 30-second spot costs about $5 million, according to Adweek’s Jason Lynch, it is safe to say everyone on the list here made the most of their chances.
These aren't the only ads that aired Sunday, of course. Bleacher Report's Andrew Gould provided a comprehensive look for those who want to relive every commercial.
Viewed in total, Sunday was one of the best days in terms of commercials in modern Super Bowl history. It's fitting, really, given how special the game turned out to be and how necessary it seemed for the global event to have a positive theme when the world needed it most.
The bar for next year now sits high, though if these same companies and a sprinkling of innovative newcomers step up to the task again, it is easy to imagine they'll put on a repeat performance.