Beyond standard healthcare branding

Emoji Score Card

February 7, 2019


We couldn’t have picked a worse year for our 2nd Annual Emoji Scorecard that ranks the best, the worst, and the most confusing Super Bowl commercials. Luckily for me, this blog can’t possibly be as boring as the game was.

Those of you that tuned in to see a whopping 1 touchdown throughout the 3.5 hour ordeal are part of the smallest viewing community in 11 years. Truth be told, this batch of commercials was on par with the gameplay—lots of washed up celebrities, aggressively competitive messaging, robots for the sake of robots, and the ever-popular nostalgia piece. The investment was there though—this year’s spend in advertising reached $382 million, according to Kantar Media’s preliminary estimates. Ironically, this was the third-largest spend in history, trailing only the 2017 and 2018 games.

But it’s time to give credit where credit is due—a Patriots win is a Patriots win and at least Bud Light gave us a dragon…




ADT | Real Protection


It’s fairly obvious that ADT planned for a smackdown against SimpliSafe, coining themselves as the most trusted name in security in order to plant doubt in the minds of new consumers. And while SimpliSafe tried to weaponize the overuse of technology in today’s day and age, ADT used technology to introduce its product benefits. In terms of overall approach, ADT has my vote.

Amazon | Not Everything Makes the Cut


Somewhat expected yet still super entertaining. I really do enjoy the perfect amount of self-deprecating humor. Also, the OG Han Solo. Enough said.

Bud Light | Dilly Dilly x Game of Thrones


Let me start out by saying I love what Bud Light did at the Super Bowl. Between the corn syrup call-out and the Game of Thrones tie-in, I think they knocked it out of the park. The controversy lies in how much they mentioned their competitors—giving them each their own moment in the spotlight. But it yielded the most tweets per minute during Super Bowl hours, which can only really be considered a massive win.

Burger King | Andy Warhol


…What just happened? I get that Andy Warhol is an icon and it subliminally underlines the idea that all types of different individuals eat their Whoppers in different ways, but the impact was lost on me.

Coca Cola | A Coke is a Coke


I’m disappointed in you, Coke. The spot was beautifully articulated and art directed, but the idea is so massively overplayed. At least they didn’t feature Kendall Jenner.

Colgate | Close Talker


Just another celebrity spokesperson. Nothing else stuck out to me.

Doritos | Now It’s Hot


Chance the Rapper can do no wrong. Literally nothing. Having him remix one of the most iconic pop songs of all time amidst a sea of rainbow paint and fast cars was the 90s-inspired mash-up I didn’t know I needed in my life.

Expensify | Expensify Th!$


First-time Super Bowl promoter Expensify spent only 5 of their 30 seconds actually telling you what the product is and does and still, despite that, left a pretty favorable impression on viewers. They probably wasted money hiring Adam Scott on top of 2 Chainz, but I guess I understand the comedic appeal.

Google | 100 Billion Words


Artificial intelligence and technology supporting humanity is a story that we’ve heard before and we’ll likely hear again, but even still, it felt like a bright light among somewhat dull competition. This particular effort could have felt even more meaningful if Google did something charitable or community-based to support this message. Maybe next year.

Hyundai | The Elevator


Comparing veganism to getting a root canal is an interesting angle… Good thing vegans aren’t traditionally super outspoken about their consumption habits and brand choices!!! (Sense my sarcasm…)

Kraft | Food Porn


This was Kraft Devour’s first year in the Super Bowl, and they made a pretty good first impression IMHO. Inappropriate humor is a gamble but I laughed out loud during some parts so I think it paid off.

M&M | Bad Passengers


I’ve always been a big Christina Applegate fan, but that was disappointing. Give your spot to Skittles next year. #BringBackDannyDevito

Microsoft | We All Win


I’m not crying, you’re crying……….
That’s not true, I’m actually crying a lot. I saw this once before the Super Bowl and even on my second watch through, I wept like a baby. Kudos to Microsoft. Owen and his parents hold a very special place in my heart.

NFL | The 100-Year Game


Standing ovation. I’m giving the Lombardi Trophy to the NFL for their 100-year anniversary piece. (See what I did there?) I’m admittedly not a huge football fan but this piece elicited all of the right emotional responses.

Olay | Killer Skin


Another first-time Super Bowl promotion and while I know that I may be in the minority, I actually liked the #KillerSkin campaign execution. It served up the trifecta: Face recognition software, unexpected humor, and overpromising results.

Pepsi | More Than Okay


SO MANY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. 1) Love the opening line—we’ve all heard that before. Super smart. 2) If Steve Carrell isn’t the most sought after celebrity spokesperson on the planet, marketers are doing something wrong. 3) Someone was bound to use Cardi B’s “OKURRR” and the linkage to Lil Wayne’s “OKKK” truly made me giggle.

SimpliSafe | Fear is Everywhere


A first-time-Super-Bowl-promoting safety and technology company capitalizing on the technology craze (and making people feel unsafe)—how original.

Stella | Change up the Usual


Smart celebrity matchup anchored by Stella’s #PourItForward community commitment campaign. Made me smile. Claps all around.

Verizon | The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here


This was the most watched Super Bowl spot on YouTube through 10 PM ET on Sunday—and it’s obvious why. Watching Anthony Lynn meet his first responding team is enough to reinstate your belief in humanity—far more than Coke or Google did with their animated and technology-based approaches.


I said it last year, I’ll say it this year, and probably again next year when the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl (New Englanders really are the worst, huh?)—I show up for the snacks and the pan-over shots of Gisele Bündchen, but I stay for the commercials. As a devout marketer, I can’t help but assess, critique, and even appreciate every single cultural jab, intended pun, or questionable casting call.

But it’s not all up to me. How did you rank this year’s commercials? Do you agree (or better yet, disagree) with my critiques? Want to get together and ugly cry over the Microsoft When Everybody Plays, We All Win spot?

Follow us on social media, and let me know.