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Yesterday was one of the most anticipated events of the year in the United States: The Super Bowl.

Not only were sports fans excited to see their favorite teams (or biggest rivals) play, but marketing enthusiasts everywhere were eager to see what commercials had been produced for the game.

With millions of viewers, airing your commercial during the Super Bowl could be the Holy Grail of your marketing career. You want to be memorable, impactful, and positively surprising.

That’s why it was such a thrilling moment when small business GoldieBlox earned a 30 second spot last year (sponsored by Intuit) to empower girls to take interest in subjects like engineering.

So who is to say your small business couldn’t be next? Let’s take a look at this year’s collection of commercials – organized by category – to inspire you for when it may be your turn for a game-changing marketing opportunity!

Most Anticipated Commercials
Because of the internet, many commercials are now shared before game time. And being the stubborn marketer that I am, I did my best to wait to see them during their intended Super Bowl spot. After all, they were intended to be seen in a 30-second timeframe while surrounded by friends, food, and drinks.

Here are my reactions to two commercials that had a lot of buzz before the game…

Doritos has made their mark by holding a contest each year for consumers to produce their commercial’s concept; the prize being a chance to have it air during the Super Bowl.

This year there were two winnersMiddle Seat and When Pigs Fly.

While they were funny and relatable, it didn’t really cause much of a stir. But, it was great for Doritos to stay true to their brand, and their customers, by continuing the tradition!

Then there was Budweiser’s  “Lost Dog” spot.

With teaser GIFs and lots of Twitter chatter before the game, many people were excited to see what Budweiser came up with next for their iconic Clydesdales and puppies.

The commercial did not disappoint by taking the viewer through a range of emotions; sad for the dog running away, scared for the dog meeting a wolf, and happy for the Clydesdales coming to the dog’s rescue.

Once again, thanks for pulling on our heartstrings, Budweiser!

Most Powerful Commercials
Budweiser wasn’t the only brand to rely on emotions during this year’s round of commercials. There were others that tried to evoke powerful feelings and leave you talking about them the next day (mission accomplished).

Nissan targeted dads featuring the iconic song ‘Cats in the Cradle.’ If you have never heard the song, the lyrics are incredibly sad and talk about an estranged father-son relationship.

While many may have been touched by Nissan’s message when the father comes through at the end of the commercial, many tweeted about how the songwriter, Harry Chapin, actually passed away in a car crash. Therefore, many were left thinking Nissan was insensitive rather than sentimental.

Similar sour feelings were felt towards Nationwide’s ad titled, “Boy.”

The commercial followed a little boy talking about how he was never going to be able to do a series of things throughout his life. At the end, we find out it is because he died of an accident; an overflowed tub and the text “The number one cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents” displayed across the screen.

Combining serious topics and kids is always a risky move, and I’m not sure this will pay off for Nationwide. During such a fun occasion (and many other sad commercials), it was just too upsetting for people to respond positively toward the brand.

Interestingly enough, the commercial for NOMORE.ORG, while serious and unsettling, had a much different reaction.

The difference here lies in the product. Nationwide has many subjects to talk about being an insurance company. NOMORE is an organization hoping to create a conversation about the end of domestic violence. Not to mention, their commercial was depicting a true story that recently happened, not a fictionalized character invented to conjure a reaction.

While neither subject is one that people enjoy talking about, NOMORE was, in the end, a PSA (public service announcement) and not a company trying to sell something.

Most Successful Commercials
In my opinion, surrounded by such heavily emotional videos, there were two commercials that set themselves apart and took the trophy home for most successful commercials during the Super Bowl.

Did you all think your TV cable connection went out right before the game? So did I.

But quickly we figured out that it was Chevy who was behind the mischief.

First a blank screen, then “What would you do if your TV went out” scrawled across your screen; in the end it was a promotion for built-in Wi-Fi in the new Chevy Colorado.

Putting that commercial at the very beginning of the game was daring, memorable, and started a fun conversation on Twitter.

Great job, Chevy!

But the brand that I thought had the most effective campaign for the Super Bowl is McDonald’s. The spot was a kick-off to a new campaign, “Pay with Lovin’.”

Through February 14th (Valentine’s Day) McDonald’s will randomly select customers to pay for their food with “lovin’.” The commercial features cashiers asking people to dance or call their moms to tell them that they love them.

But, that’s not all.

McDonald’s continued the love on Twitter.

Knowing that Twitter is highly involved in the conversation around the Super Bowl, McDonald’s showed their love for EVERY product advertised during the game.

After each commercial aired, the fast food company asked users to retweet their tweet and have a chance to win something from that particular brand. Just take a look at the examples below.

Twitter - McDonalds - Super Bowl

McDonald’s knew that they could “win the Super Bowl” by sharing the love with others (brands and customers alike); and let me tell you, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

See all the commercials on and share your most and least favorites with us in the comments!

About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on the Webs Blog and Twitter.

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