AdBowl 2015: La Chupacabra, Rogue CEOs & Poorly Dancing Sharks

David Smith, Associate VP, Marketing Strategy

Rampant debate on the Seahawks goal-line call aside, the dust is beginning to settle on AdBowl 2015.

Coke used the power of positivity (and hashtags) to make us smile. Nissan made us want to call our dads. And, Katy Perry unintentionally(?) made us think about public service campaigns by evoking NBCUniversal’s “The More You Know” star in the finale of her halftime performance.

Here are some of our highlights from the up and down evening.


One of the most surprising spots of the night saw Mexico selecting “Avocados” in the First Draft Ever. The spot is equal parts campy, charming and clever, and it was a hit with TV audiences.

More impressive was how the brand continued the story on Twitter, tweeting the subsequent draft picks with a companion video and pick-appropriate sweepstakes.

The end result? Tons of great, shareable content, extensive brand engagement and the successful launch of a fresh campaign for the brand.

Also, getting the chupacabra in the 4th round was a total steal.


Any time T-Mobile is involved, it can be difficult to tell what’s serious and what’s not. And an evening that saw seamless executions paired with highly visible, seemingly disconnected social gaffes provided more questions than answers.


Shortly before the game a handful of Twitter handles reported receiving selfies from Kim Kardashian(!), seemingly by magic. A spot in the first quarter of the game revealed this to be a technically impressive (if questionably tasteful) promotion of its Data Stash product via the and a companion social media blitzkrieg.


Less than an hour later, Twitter was in an uproar over the brand’s second spot, which featured an edgy quip – “Sorry, it’s a boy” – from Sarah Silverman. While many chalked it up to the “risk” that comes with incorporating personalities like Silverman and Chelsea Handler, it’s likely the comment’s backlash was a bit unexpected.


To complete the trifecta, T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, capped the evening off by trading insults with Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure via Twitter. After a night that appeared so carefully scripted, the impromptu flame war was either a classic case of Legere spontaneously poking the bear, or a calculated crescendo to a conversation-driving night.

The Uncarrier’s penchant for innovating, challenging the status quo and occasionally taking things a little too far are among the things that give the brand its appeal. And all three were unquestionably on display Sunday night.


Much was made of Newcastle’s continued anti-Super Bowl strategy going into its second year. We even previewed it last week when the brand began gathering compatriots.

In classic Newcastle fashion, the spot was clever, tongue-in-cheek and deftly balanced self-deprecation with ambition.

Most compelling to us was the diverse cross-section of names that ultimately got on board with the beer maker.

There were blue chips (Dixie, Hunt’s and Brawny) alongside challengers (JackThreads, Match and Gladiator) and legacy names (Lee, YP and Sharper Image) all of whom took advantage of the high-visibility campaign and Newcastle’s cache with a young, affluent audience.


Thirty seconds into the “Teenage Dream”/”California Girls” set of Katy Perry’s performance, Left Shark won the Internet’s collective heart and launched a brand all its own. Simultaneously balancing complete ineptitude with an undeniable charm, the likable backup sea creature spread like wildfire.

Independent artists made action figures. Pepsi posted this gem of an animated .GIF:

Two of the palm trees even did a community-requested AMA on Reddit the next day, where Left Shark was a heavy topic of conversation.

While the meme’s fifteen minutes of fame will be up soon enough, in the short term the footprint that it has garnered is a study in organic social engagement.

Update: 2.11.15 – Barely a week after his initial appearance, the ever-opportunistic ESPN has made Left Shark the star of its latest “This is SportsCenter” TV spot.


Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, whose personal brand has been hotter than a supernova over the last few years, provided us a science-based personal play-by-play via Twitter.

Those of us who were only at Super Bowl parties for the snacks enjoyed nearly two dozen bite-sized factoids to share across the Twitterverse. And, deGrasse Tyson ensured his scientific street cred only went up during one of the most visible events of the year.

Also, this analogy kind of blew our mind.




David Smith

David Smith Associate VP, Marketing Strategy