These Brand Partnerships Were The Real Winners of the Super Bowl

Unexpected brands teaming up surprised viewers and became the real success stories of last night’s game…

Advertisers played a high-stakes game last night. Super Bowl LIII brought in $382 million in advertising, according to Ad Age, with spots selling for a reported average of $5.25 million. But with all that money at play, there weren’t too many stand-out commercial moments.

Last week, we gave you a sneak peek at the big trends that you would see during the big game’s ad breaks, and they all held true. Nostalgia was rampant, with the Backstreet Boys, Carrie Bradshaw, and The Dude all making appearances. Artifical intelligence, in the form of smart speakers and robots, were an odd recurring theme. Celebrities were everywhere (whether they made sense appearing in the same spot or not). And in a move some called risk-averse, most brands stayed away from politics, keeping things light or feel-good during an event that’s become increasingly politicized.

Overall, much like the action on the field, the approach was deemed a bit of a snooze. And, because so many of the ads were released in advance of the game, there weren’t too many surprises—with a few notable exceptions. These brands managed to stand out from the crowd, not necessarily for being edgy, but for teaming up in unexpected ways. On a night that’s usually about brand competitions, these partnerships were the real winners:  

Bud Light & HBO

Bud Light surprised (and delighted) viewers with their co-branded Game of Thrones Super Bowl ad. In the spot, the latest installment of Bud Light’s viral “Dilly Dilly” commercials, a jousting match between the Bud Knight and a rival is beginning—it all seems to be following the same script as previous ads in the campaign, when suddenly The Mountain from Game of Thrones slays the Bud Knight,…


Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?

The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies