Super Bowl LII: Who scored, and fumbled, on TV's biggest stage

The Super Bowl has long since gone well beyond being a game, becoming more of a national holiday that celebrates the ...

Posted: Feb 5, 2018 11:56 AM
Updated: Feb 5, 2018 11:56 AM

The Super Bowl has long since gone well beyond being a game, becoming more of a national holiday that celebrates the collective love of football, television and the advertising that helps make both possible.

Still, a bit like the game on the field, there's another high-stakes contest for the hearts and minds of consumers, playing out on TV's biggest annual stage.

So who scored, and who fumbled, in capitalizing on their super showcase, one that set advertisers back $5 million for a 30-second in-game commercial? Here's a by-no-means-comprehensive breakdown:

Who scored

Netflix. Living up to its reputation as a disruptive, unpredictable force in the entertainment business, the streaming service not only promoted its recent acquisition of the sequel "The Cloverfield Paradox" but proceeded to drop the movie immediately after the game -- thumbing its nose not only at conventional distribution models, but NBC's grandiose postgame plans. If the principal goal is to use the Super Bowl to get noticed, Netflix achieved that and then some.

The Winter Olympics/NBC. The last time a network aired the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics in the same year was 1992, and NBC was determined to use the showcase to let people know that there will be another huge sporting event kicking off in a few days. Not all the spots were terrific -- although one featuring music from "The Greatest Showman" was -- and in broad terms, mission accomplished.

The NFL. After a difficult, controversial year, the NFL capped its season with a terrific, high-scoring, wildly entertaining game that reminds people why they love football, while sidestepping any peripheral dust-ups. Moreover, the league topped that off with one of the day's best ads in its "Dirty Dancing" spoof.

Tide and Australia tourism. Both of their commercials playfully spoofed the excesses associated with Super Bowl advertising -- the former featuring David Harbour, aping other ads; the latter, by initially disguising itself as a movie spot -- in a way that cleverly cut through the clutter.

Movie studios. This year's aspiring blockbusters were out in force, with Disney wielding the biggest stick by promoting its twin titans "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Solo: A Star Wars Story," stoking already heated anticipation for those titles. Granted, not all the movies looked like winners, with "Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom" -- which, technically, aired right before the game began -- among the other standouts.

Premium TV. While Netflix made the biggest news, other premium services also seized on the opportunity, including HBO ("Westworld"), Amazon ("Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan") and Hulu ("Castle Rock")

T-Mobile. Promoting diversity is nothing new in Super Bowl spots, but T-Mobile's ad using babies to celebrate people's differences felt like a higher evolution of the similar ad that Coke ran later in the game.

Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. NBC's broadcast team for the most part avoided any conspicuous screw-ups and made several astute observations, including Collinsworth comparing the game to "fast-break basketball" and identifying Philadelphia's fourth-down trick play as "breathtaking." Michaels, meanwhile, accurately summed it all up by saying, "What tension. What emotion. What a game."

Who fumbled

Ram Trucks. Whatever the good intentions of its ad using a Martin Luther King Jr. speech -- an image-enhancing exercise, tied to its "Built to serve" campaign -- the net effect raised the specter of trivializing the civil-rights icon's legacy in order to help sell trucks.

NBC's "blackout." OK, so NBC said it didn't lose any money when a glitch made the screen go dark. Any snafu on a stage of this size is going to look considerably magnified.

Budweiser. Yes, the beer marketer aired a moving spot for its emergency-relief efforts, along with more annoying ones for Bud Light. But the bottom line is whenever you come away from the Super Bowl without Bud ads being near the top of the list, they've fallen short of their rich history as the game's highest-profile sponsor.

Keanu Reeves/Squarespace. Just in terms of Advertising 101, Reeves' don't-try-this-at-home stunt did nothing to explain the product, or what on Earth riding a motorcycle down a barren road had to do with it.

Kia/Steven Tyler. Beyond the absurdity of driving one's car backwards at a ridiculous rate of speed, the computer-rendered younger version of Tyler that emerged actually looked a whole lot worse than the current edition.

Justin Timberlake. The pop star's Prince tribute actually wasn't that bad -- and turning Minneapolis purple was a pretty inspired touch. But once the "Prince hologram" rumor leaked out and was denied, it was a virtual certainty that a lot of people would react badly as soon as the late singer's image appeared, and despite its high energy, the rest of the by-the-numbers show wasn't enough to compensate for that.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
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