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February 13, 2017

A commercial for Honda featuring talking yearbook photos of celebrities encouraging people to follow their dreams earned the top grade in the Michigan State University Department of Advertising and Public Relations’ list of best commercials aired during this year’s Super Bowl.

This marked the 20th year in a row the MSU faculty have rated Super Bowl commercials.


“It stayed in front the whole game because it was simple and clean and people could relate to it,” said Robert Kolt, professor of practice. “Who doesn’t have a yearbook story?”

Taking second place was a Turbo Tax commercial, a spot in which Humpty Dumpty lands in the hospital.


Third through 10th places for ads included:


  • T-Mobile – operator

  • Ford - electric car

  • Skittles

  • Avocados from Mexico

  • Audi – women’s ad

  • Coca-Cola – “America the Beautiful”

  • Bai

  • Kia Niro

“The unsuccessful ads are either too serious or too complicated for the event,” said Ross Chowles, professor of practice. “The ad has to be visual and easy to understand. That’s why Skittles works. You get the joke.”


This year the MSU faculty ranked ads on the following categories:


  • Brand Strategy - Aflac, Ford, Audi, Buick

  • Production Quality - Lexus, Weathertec

  • Socially Responsible - Airbnb, Audi, Anheuser-Busch

  • Creativity - Honda CR-V, Turbo Tax, Lifewater

  • Most Likely to Make a Sale - None

  • Super Bowl Ad with the Greatest “Cringe” Factor - T-Mobile, Mr. Clean