Who Really Won The Super Bowl?

Nearly 1/3 of the United States watches the Super Bowl, our annual gladiator games. Super Bowl 50 was no exception to the spectacle (including a visit from Effie Trinket aka Lady Gaga). Yes, Peyton Manning can retire in peace with a sizable addition to his jewelry collection, but who really won?

Beyonce. Ladies, get in formation.

With increasingly expensive advertising spots in the most-watched event on television, every brand struggles to make the best impression, the funniest ad. It's the equivalent of the advertising Olympics.

But Beyonce beat them all. And make no mistake, she's a company too. Who else has the star power to drop a single out of nowhere the day before, perform at the Super Bowl, and blink-and-you'll-miss it announce a world tour. On top of that, "Formation" isn't just a song; it's a strong political statement on being black in America. I can summarize my reaction with an enthusiastic tweet (echoed by thousands of others)

Her personal brand is so strong she doesn't need an ad. She doesn't need marketing buzz or a leak of that ad the week before, like the majority of what we saw. She doesn't need anything. Her community of followers means she can just BE(yonce.)

So before  I launch into my favorite ads from this year's event (the real winners of the game), let's be clear: Beyonce. Is. Queen.

Mini Cooper | Defy Labels

This spot tops my list for several reasons, but mainly because of its message: the mini doesn't have a label, and neither should you. The juxtapositions between the celebrities often stuck in certain labels and the car itself made me laugh and think, rare for an ad. Serena and Abby crank the badass factor up to 11, making it definitely #mediawelike.

Hundai | A Dad's Gotta Do

I laughed so hard at this commercial--every teenager's worst nightmare. Kevin Hart hamming it up makes this one I remembered the next day, even though it was one of the first spots shown.

Nintendo | Train On

As a huge Pokemon fan, I loved this spot. Mostly because I had no idea it was about Pokemon until the very end. I thought it was a Nike commercial at first. With Pokemon now 20 years old (WOW) I spent much of the late evening rummaging around for my old GameBoy Color and Pokemon Yellow. An inspiring pump-up and nostalgic tip of the hat to one of the best games of all time (and oh, by the way, they have a re-release that I might just go buy.)  

Campbell's Soup | This One's For Mom

As an athlete, this one struck a nerve with me. I always looked for my parents in the crowd. The first person viewpoint made it even more emotional. Maybe I even teared up a bit. Not telling.

Audi | The Commander

This spot deals with a lot of emotions all at once: aging, losing what you had, living the glory days, caring for an elderly parent. Then the car. My far and away favorite, the comparison between driving an Audi and driving a rocket is an apt one. The tribute to our space programs AND David Bowie made this one both emotional and gratifying. They're saying: who doesn't want to be an astronaut? Who doesn't want an Audi? 

I know there are many more spots worth talking about in this post, like the domestic violence and water PSAs, Alec Baldwinthe Prius 4 chase, or avocados in space. I'm trying to wipe the images of the Super Bowl Babies and Puppy Monkey Baby out of my head forever. I won't even link it here for you, they were so awful.

For a definitive ranking, check out this best and worst list from ESPN.