Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone, and we all know who the big winner was: the New York Giants. Oh, sure, fill-in QB Nick Foles led a scrappy Philadelphia Eagles team to a 41-33 victory over Timeless Tom Brady and the New England Are You Tired Of Us Already? in the actual football game. Who, on the other hand, actually watches the broadcast to see football?
New York Giants teammates Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning won the most important battle, the one to get the biggest laugh out of the 103.4 million viewers who tuned in to watch the commercials that aired during breaks in the on-field action (mostly long pass completions followed by cutaways to New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and his all-world beard).
Here at Certification Magazine, of course, we don’t even care about watching all of the commercials — which, let’s face it, are the real draw. Companies aren’t spending $5 million for 30 seconds of air time (to say nothing of the money actually required to create and produce the ad itself) because they think you’re going to get snacks from the kitchen during the commercial breaks.
The commercials that tickle our fancy are the ones that are at least tangentially related to IT services and products. We already listed the tech-aligned commercials scheduled to air during the game, so now we’re just here to keep score. And there’s a clear No. 1 among our Top 5 IT Ads of LII:
1) Amazon survives an Alexa outage
The “smart speaker” home assistant who responds to your every spoken wish loses her electronic voice, leading to emergency participation from a roll-call of fill-in assistants. Best Moment: Anthony Hopkins is clearly the featured celebrity, but Rebel Wilson in a bubble bath steals the show by “setting the mood” for a late-evening wine tasting soiree.
2) Groupon supports local businesses
Deal-hawking recommendation service Groupon is rather controversial (to say the least), so perhaps that explains the image-rehabilitating “we support local businesses” angle of this admittedly amusing ad. Best Moment: Two anonymous football players execute a kick that’s right on target.
3) E*Trade makes fun of old folks
Sometimes you go for the low-hanging fruit and everyone just kinda rolls with it. We don’t endorse laughter at the expense of geezers, but the extreme age of the ad’s actors does make E*Trade’s point that the time to plan for retirement is now. Best Moment: The old firehose gag where someone gets whipped to and fro by a gushing hose is always good for a (cheap) laugh.
4) Keanu Reeves motorcycle surfs for Squarespace
Squarespace helps you build a website for … whatever you need a website for. Keanu Reeves goes motorcycle surfing on a two-lane highway in the California desert. It remains unclear how these two premises are related. (The John Malkovich ad last year was better.) Best Moment: When he finally gets back down on the bike like a sensible person?
5) Websites by Wix with Rhett and Link
Watching web comedy duo Rhett and Link use Wix.com tools to create a website turns out, somewhat surprisingly, to be a marginally less effective approach to selling website software than watching Keanu Reeves ride a motorcycle in the desert with no hands. Best Moment: Um, a half-second (or so) of groovy dancing by the hosts right at the very end?
Sidenote: Rhett and Link’s commercial has 78.9 million (!!) views on YouTube. So maybe using popular internet personalities is a smarter approach than hiring Keanu Reeves (750,000 views) after all.