5 Brand Parodies That Won the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is known just as much for its advertising as it is for behemoth men tackling each other. Yet over time, the game-day commercials have fallen into tired clichés—cowboys riding horses, women in bikinis washing cars, and every possible combination of puppies and babies.

Thankfully, some companies have been smart enough to realize the more than 100 million viewers who tune in are bored of seeing the same old spots. As a result, a few brands have added bite to their marketing by making fun of themselves, other companies, and the Super Bowl advertising machine as a whole.

Check out five brands that have successfully brought parody into the Super Bowl arena over the last few years:

1. SumOfUs

SumOfUs, a movement of consumers fighting against the power of big corporations, recently released a Doritos takedown: “A Cheesy Love Story.” Not only is this spoof hilarious, but it also slams the chip company for their irresponsible palm oil policies.

The parody of Doritos’ famously over-the-top commercials is especially impactful because it was released days before the Super Bowl. “The Ad Doritos Don’t Want You to See” already has over 1.5 million views. From the screen grab alone it’s easy to see why:

“Given the high profile nature of the Doritos Super Bowl campaign, we’re using the opportunity to educate consumers around the world about PepsiCo’s irresponsible palm oil sourcing policy,” SumOfUs’ campaigns director, Kaytee Riek, said in a statement. “Rain forests across Southeast Asia are destroyed every day to make way for massive palm oil plantations.”

Best line: “Doritos: May contain traces of rainforest.”

2. Newcastle

Newcastle beer claims that they can’t afford to air an ad during the big game. Therefore, they decided to crowdsource their Super Bowl campaign this year by teaming up with more than 20 other brands. While Newcastle might actually have the funding to make an ad on their own, this strategy is a great way to get more people aware of and interested in their company. Even better, they got the deadpan Aubrey Plaza to deliver their small business call to arms:

This commercial, which mocks everything about traditional Americana Super Bowl ads, is definitely better than 30 seconds of a cowboy petting a dog. And that’s saying something.

As if one commercial weren’t enough, Newcastle also released a self-described “underwhelming storyboard” for the “Mega Huge Football Game Ad” that they would have made with $4.5 million. The result is even funnier than if they went through with making the real thing:

If you still don’t totally understand the aim of Newcastle’s Super Bowl project, the banner on their website sums it up pretty well:

Best line: “But then, wait! Here come the CGI cats to save the day.”

3. Audi

Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA commercial is one of the most recognizable in history. Whenever anyone hears the strains of “Angel,” they know adorably sad pictures of abandoned animals are about to come onscreen.

Audi decided to take this cultural awareness and pair it with something a little bit different than homeless puppies—their cars. Surprisingly, Sarah McLachlan was down for the ride and agreed to appear in the spot.

The premise of the ad is a couple can’t agree on what breed of dog to buy. After debating for a while, they decide to compromise and create a mix between a Doberman and a chihuahua—a Doberhuahua, the most disturbingly cute creation you’ve ever seen:

The message of the ad? “Compromise scares us too.” Especially when that compromise is a dog with an enormous skull and the body the size of a rat.

Best line: “You could breed them together… Doberhuahua, you know what I mean?”

4. Pepsi Next

In 2013, Coca Cola pre-released their Super Bowl commercial, “Mirage,” online. You might recall the one-minute spot, which shows a groups of cowboys, bandits, and showgirls racing through the desert towards a fantastically giant bottle of Coke.

Since this commercial came out a few weeks before the big game, Pepsi had the chance to publish a response. And respond they did. The company paired with Funny or Die to create an online commercial that shows just how far actors would go for their true love—Pepsi Next:

This commercial does one better than show how dedicated people are to Pepsi. Instead, it completely calls out Coca-Cola as an inferior competitor. Oh, how I love brand wars.

As Pepsi’s VP of marketing said in an interview with Forbes, “Pepsi Next has a different objective—for people to be aware of it and get people to try it. It fits Pepsi Next to take this playful poke [at Coke].”

Best line: “I’m in a band.”

5. Samsung

Marketers avoid saying “Super Bowl” and team names during commercial breaks because they don’t want to be sued. Samsung took the advertising spoof game up a notch by making fun of this rule. Even better, they employed two men who don’t care that it exists: comedians Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd.

I vote for Rogen and Rudd to commentate the game every year for the rest of eternity (or as long as the NFL exists). Wouldn’t the Super Bowl be way more fun if we called it “The Big Plate” and made up crazy team names?

Best line: “Can we say the San Francisco Fifty-Minus-Ones?”

When the New England Nationalists take on the Seattle Ocean Birds this Sunday, brands may actually have some of the best opportunities in recent history to use satire in their ads. After all, there will be plenty of chances for parody about deflated footballs, Tom Brady wearing UGG boots, Marshawn Lynch repeating the same line to the media every day, and Russell Wilson resembling a robot who doesn’t understand the concept of personality. So get your popcorn ready, and let the mockery begin.

Image by SumOfUs

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