The Results Are In!

“One thing we can say for sure is that the ads were better than the game,” said Steve McKee, president of McKee Wallwork & Company. “It’s not surprising that consumers and branding experts would disagree on the commercials, because they’re looking for different things. Fans just want to have fun, but brands have objectives to achieve. Time will tell who the real winners are.”

Among a panel of branding experts assembled by ADBOWL® there was no consensus favorite Super Bowl commercial. But few agreed with consumers’ choice of the best commercial of the game: Budweiser’s “Puppy Love”
(although one of them granted the spot the nod for the best hashtag, #BestBuds).

Leesa Eichberger, CMO at Jenny Craig, captured the formula of the winning spot well, saying, “Budweiser won before the game was played with their sweet puppy/Clydesdale friendship story. Who doesn’t love puppies and horses?”

Although there wasn’t a clear standout, a handful of consensus favorites emerged:

  • Audi’s “Doberhuahua”.  “Clearly the best spot,” according to Daniel Andreani, MWC creative director. “Great storytelling. Great USP. Funny. Soft sell. Smart delivery. Win.” Mindjet chief marketing officer Jascha Kaykas-Wolff agreed: “Great narrative. Well placed celebrities. Funny and just the right amount of serious.”
  • Joe Saracino , CMO at Erwin Penland, thought Radio Shack had the best ad overall with “The ‘80s Called” because it addressed a perception with which the brand continually struggles. “The spot embraced the problem and went at it head on.” he said. “It was bold, and it worked.” Shane Hutton, founder and creative director of Arcana Academy, said, “I love it when brands know who they are, who they’re talking to, what the benefit is and are honest about it. RadioShack hit on all four of those cylinders.” Nigel Dessau, CMO at Stratus Technologies, brought the point home, “It might actually make me look in their new look stores.”
  • Cheerios was another winner. “Brave spot acknowledging a changing America” said Timothy Mahoney, Global Chevrolet CMO. Christopher Krohn, president and CMO of, said the commercial “delivered a pitch perfect brand message,” and John Lopes, president of Andretti Sports Marketing said, “Cheerios is part of the story of our families and it is on our tables as part of the story of our lives. Their story was touching and authentic.”

Tony Wells, CMO at ADT Security Systems, summed up the consumer/expert divide well:“While every viewer wants entertaining Super Bowl ads, brands have to make sure it ladders back to their brand or product story.”

Other members of the panel (and some of their thoughts on the ads) Included:

Kirk Cornelius, VP, Advanced Media Strategy, Specific Media
“My personal favorite, was the Bob Dylan ad for Chrysler. I have never seen him promote a brand like that, and it really resonated. We all want Detroit to come back, and between Eminem and Bob Dylan, we love an underdog and would love nothing more to see Detroit come back from the ashes.”

Sam Decker, CMO, Mass Relevance
“Hyundai Sixth Sense. It grabbed your attention, looking like viral videos at first. Then set an emotional theme. Then paid off that theme into the product and brand benefit.”

Marcello Coltro, EVP/COO, Chello Latin America
“Coca-Cola – It’s Beautiful. It got huge positive and negative response reaching millions of people and attention from the press. It broke paradigms and showed the diversity of America. I am for one a great fan of the ad. Better being noticed and remembered.”

Gordon Plutsky, CMO, King Fish Media, LLC
“Many of the ads seemed to have a main goal of evoking emotion without a real tie to the products value proposition. The use of animals, cute kids, celebs and heart wrenching stories is getting old. We like to say helping is selling and very few of these ads helped consumers in any way. Many try too hard to be funny.”

Thom Kennon, Chief Strategy Officer, Brabble
“Axe Peace: Horribly chauvinistic collapsing of discomfiting and paranoid icons and clichés of the past 50 years in global war with all appropriate boogeymen standins for Soviet strongmen, homicidal commie dictators, unctuous, threatening Arabs and spooky jungle-draped VCs. Until Axe solves for it all with “Peace”. Get it? Yeah me neither, sorta.”

Teri Lucie Thompson, SVP University Relations and CMO, University of Arizona
“It looked like most creative teams either didn’t or weren’t allowed to stretch far enough. Many with good copy missed their target market; many with beautiful images neglected copy; many with high production costs left us wanting a real message. Is it a trend that we’re too easy on our teams?”

Erin Levzow, Director of Digital, CRM and Social Media, Wingstop
“A lot missed the mark. I am not sure I understand why in an energetic Super Bowl game you would choose to have a very slow paced downer commercial. I did really also enjoy the Radio Shack commercial as I felt it was on brand and spoke to the point they were trying to make.”

Paula Hare, Creative Director, HS Design Lab
“Bud was a miss with the puppy adoption spot. All they needed was a cute baby and they would have used every trick in the ad book.”

Serena Lyons, Director, Marketing and Business Development, Lovelace Health System
“[An ad] that stood out was the Turbo Tax “Prom” commercial. Very clever and entertaining trying to capture the audience whose teams did not make the Super Bowl. What was most surprising was the spot was for Turbo Tax. I did not see that coming.”

McKee Wallwork & Company has been bringing ADBOWL® to sports and advertising fans since the site first launched in 2001. Visit to catch up on the last decade+ of advertising excellence.

ADBOWL Winners 2002-2013:
2013 – Dodge Ram “Farmer”
2012 – Volkswagen’s “Dog Strikes Back”
2011 – Volkswagen’s “Imperial March”
2010 – Snickers’ “You’re Not You”
2009 – Bridgestone’s “Taters”
2008 – Budweiser’s “Clydesdale Team”
2007 – Bud Light’s “Rock, Paper, Scissors”
2006 – Bud Light’s “Hidden Fridge”
2005 – Anheuser-Busch’s “Applause”
2004 – Budweiser’s “Donkey Dream”
2003 – FedEx’s “Castaway”
2002 – M&M’s “Chocolate on Your Pillow”


The ADBOWL Branding Expert Panel
Daniel Andreani, Creative Director, McKee Wallwork + Company
Timothy Mahoney, CMO, Global Chevrolet
Tony Wells, CMO, ADT Security Services
Leesa Eichberger, CMO, Jenny Craig
Christopher Krohn, President, CMO,
Kim Downing, Advertising Manager, Allegiant Air
Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO, Mindjet
Patricia Tang, Vice President of Marketing, Salamander Hotels & Resorts
Rod Brooks, VP & CMO, PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company
Chris Lorence, EVP/CMO, Independent Community Bankers of America
Henry Stoever, CMO, National Association of Corporate Directors
Kirk Cornelius, VP, Advanced Media Strategy, Specific Media
Sam Decker, CMO, Mass Relevance
Marcello Coltro, EVP/COO, Chello Latin America
John Lopes, President, Andretti Sports Marketing
Nigel Dessau, CMO, Stratus Technologies
Gordon Plutsky, CMO, King Fish Media, LLC
Thom Kennon, Chief Strategy Officer, Brabble
Teri Lucie Thompson, SVP University Relations and CMO, University of Arizona
Shane Hutton, Creative Director, Founder, Arcana Academy
Jason Katz, SVP Marketing, Qello LLC
Erin Levzow, Director of Digital, CRM and Social Media, Wingstop
Paula Hare, Creative Director, HS Design Lab
Sonny Ganguly, CMO, Wedding Wire
Joe Saracino, CMO, Erwin Penland
Serena Lyons, Director, Marketing and Business Development, Lovelace Health System
Ryan Pamplin, Co-Founder & CRO,


Steve McKee (505) 385-1918 
Daniel Andreani (505) 417-8884


ADBOWL is a registered trademark of McKee Wallwork & Company, LLC