The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions.
OK, but who really won Super Sunday? Companies. And advertising agencies. The biggest day on the sports calendar also doubles as the biggest day for people paid to sell consumers things—whether it be the next big car, the next big movie or just some fine alcoholic beverages.
And sometimes even some non-alcoholic beverages get into the mix.
For those who love puns and 1990s boy bands, Bai tea had an ad that was tailor-made to your tastes. The spot featured Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken reciting the lyrics to the 'N Sync hit "Bye Bye Bye."
It, of course, elicited an excited reaction:
On the flip side, not every ad elicited a positive reaction. Rodger Sherman of The Ringer was concerned about Busch raising beer prices after paying for their Super Bowl commercial:
ESPN.com's Darren Rovell and others who were less concerned about beer prices seemed to buy in:
Perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of the Super Bowl advertisements was the message of acceptance and multiculturalism that permeated multiple ads.
Audi and Airbnb sent the loudest messages, with the former promoting women's equality and the latter pushing acceptance within races and genders.
Perhaps no commercials drew louder praise:
Coke and Budweiser also had social messages in their commercials:
Back on the funny side of things, Kia and Melissa McCarthy perhaps stole the show. McCarthy, whose Saturday Night Live appearance a night earlier drew raves, went around the world and essentially saved the planet—in the most side-splitting way possible.
Here is a snapshot of the reaction:
Tide and Terry Bradshaw also pulled a fast one on some fans, as what looked like an accidental stain on the Fox broadcaster's shirt turned out to be a clever commercial:
Ford offered a glimpse into the future perhaps with its concept for a self-driving car. The company debuted its look after a series of examples of human error.
Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press commented on the company's vision:
When companies weren't trying to sell products, they were trying to get you to view their products at some point in the future. The Fate of the Furious, Stranger Things, Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean received the most attention: