2016 Super Bowl Ads – Part 1: Celebrities and Pop Culture References Prevail

This year’s Super Bowl game might not have been all that memorable, but the ads are definitely worth talking about. Many commercials made us laugh, some commercials stirred our emotions, and other commercials left us scratching our heads (puppymonkeybaby??). Among this diverse list of TV spots, a common ad strategy emerged: the use of celebrities and pop culture references. Several brands incorporated famous personalities or funny memes into their ad’s message, effectively capturing the viewer’s attention and leaving a lasting impression of the product. Continue reading to find out which RLF staff members identified their favorite ads in this category.


Heather Ebert, Communications Specialist

Favorite ad: Beyoncé – “Formation World Tour”

Beyoncé gave us one of the most epic Super Bowl experiences yet – she released a new song and video just one day before her performance at SB50 and then announced her world tour just moments after leaving the stage with this commercial. Since she released her self-titled album in 2013, Beyoncé has been using a strategic surprise strategy to market herself and so far, it looks like it’s paying off.

Greg Monroy, Creative Director

Favorite ad: Acura NSX – “What He Said”
My favorite might have been the Acura NSX ad. Great use of an internet meme that is almost viral but hasn’t been overused. The unfiltered vocal makes you feel like there is a great distilled essence to that car and also harkens back to when the first NSX came out.

David French, Vice President of Client Strategy & Service

Favorite ad: Bud Light – “Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen for Bud Light Party”
My favorite: the Bud Light Party with Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan. It was funny, entertaining and memorable; all hallmarks of good advertising. And really, who DOESN’T like Paul Rudd?

Alice Lee, Communications Manager

Favorite ad: Avocados From Mexico – “#AvosInSpace”
My favorite was hands down the “Avocados from Mexico” ad because it pokes fun at pop culture and ordinary experiences from a futuristic perspective. It shows that in years to come, people may look back and find what we do now to be trivial, stupid and absurd, but some things may stand the test of time, like avocados.

Marissa Pierre, Communications Manager

Favorite ad: T-Mobile – “Restricted Bling”
Drake’s “Hotline Bling” is the meme that will live on forever, and for good reason. The Toronto rapper produced the “Hotline Bling” video with the intent to spur an internet craze, and his strategy worked – so well, in fact, that he landed his own Super Bowl commercial. It was a great choice by T-Mobile to play up this meme, but in my opinion, Drake is the real brand winner.