Super Bowl commercials 2015: This year's top 10 best ads

Football still takes a backseat to splashy, mid-game ad premieres for many Super Bowl viewers. Here are our picks for the most buzzworthy big game ads of 2015.

Super Bowl XLIX ads took viewers on an emotional rollercoaster, prompting tears and laughter in equal measure

Budweiser brought the cute factor to football once again this year with a heart-warming 2015 Super Bowl commercial that makes a strong case for the phrase 'if it's not broken, don't fix it.' (Budweiser/YouTube)

It’s not by chance that the Super Bowl always manages to attract more viewers than any other game during the regular NFL regular season (or any other major U.S. sporting event period, most years.)

Whether it’s for the promise of a can’t miss half-time show, a game-day party with friends, or the chance to go nuts on a Super Bowl snack spread, scores of people who wouldn’t regularly be interested in watching football tend to swell the big game’s audience each year — even if their eyes are glued to their phone for most of the event.

Yet, as Google data shows, not even imported $140 pizzas can hold a candle to what gets the majority of non-sportos paying attention to the world of football for one day each calendar year: Super Bowl commercials.

Canadians are a particularly ad-savvy bunch when it comes to the Super Bowl, according to Google Canada. In fact, we’ve been outpacing our U.S. counterparts in searches for "Super Bowl Commercials" on YouTube for the past five years — likely because Canadians can’t view U.S. commercials as they air (yet.)

Fortunately for those outside of the U.S., more and more brands are choosing to release their Super Bowl ads online before, during, or after the big game each year in an attempt to get the most brand-boosting bang for their buck.

Many of 2015’s most high-profile spots were indeed released days or even weeks before Super Bowl Sunday, and while there were certainly some shockers that premiered during the game itself, the majority of this year’s most critically-acclaimed ads had already hit YouTube well before kickoff.

Social reaction during the game (which was won by the New England Patriots, by the way) indicates that the ads of Super Bowl XLIX sent viewers on more of an emotional roller-coaster than usual, prompting tears, laughter and thousands of confused tweets at every commercial break.

Celebrities played a major role in winning audiences over once again this year, but a number of ads managed to stand out even more than Bryan Cranston and Kim Kardashian, simply by packing more substance than we’re typically used to seeing in a 30-second Super Bowl spot. 

Based on critical reviews, online reactions, comments from Canadians and YouTube metrics, here are our picks for the top 10 best Super Bowl Commercials of 2015:

Dove Men+Care's "#RealStrength" 

Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube

Dads took centre stage at the Super Bowl this year, as evidenced by several well-received commercials (like Nissan's and Toyota's) that focused on fatherhood. Dove's minute-long spot, created as part of its #RealStrength campaign, was simple in its execution — the only words spoken throughout the entire ad were either "dad" or "daddy." Still, it managed to tear at millions of heartstrings both online ahead of the game and when it aired during the 2015 Super Bowl.

Nationwide "Invisible Mindy Kaling" 

It was a hit and a miss for Nationwide Insurance at the 2015 Super Bowl. The first of the company's two very different ads to run during Sunday's game — a light-hearted spot featuring actors Mindy Kaling and Matt Damon — was hailed as "cute," "funny," and "charming." A second commercial, aired later in the game, revolved around a dead child mourning the life he'll never get to live. While the ad is clearly meant to educate audiences about preventing accidental childhood deaths, many of those who viewed it on Sunday were seriously bummed out by the story it told. "Make Safe Happen" is currently being floated around the web as a contender for "the worst Super Bowl ad in history." "Invisible Mindy Kaling," on the other hand, is a solid hit.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Bud Light's "Real Life PacMan"

Bud Light's ambitious 2015 Super Bowl spot — comprised of footage from a life-sized PacMan stadium built by the beer brand in early January — took an early lead in the race to win the most YouTube views, thanks to plenty of early social media buzz. While the actual commercial only boasts about 13 million views as of Sunday evening, videos featuring content from the PacMan shoot brings Bud Light's YouTube impressions to well over 100 million for this ad alone.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Loctite Glue's "Positive Feelings​"

Straight from out of left field, the first-ever Super Bowl ad from Loctite — a 52-year-old German glue company — managed to win big on Twitter by playing to the Internet's collective fondness for all things offbeat. Loctite's perfect combination of normcore fashion, stone-faced dancing, branded fanny packs and the finishing quote "Loctite Glue saved our marriage" made for an unexpected, yet incredibly refreshing Super Bowl ad.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Clash of Clans' "Revenge" starring Liam Neeson

The fact that Finnish video game company Supercell could afford to run a 60-second-long Clash of Clans Super Bowl commercial (estimated to cost about $9 million US this year) and hire film legend Liam Neeson to star in it says a lot about how far the mobile gaming industry has come in recent years. Regardless, the company's investment on behalf of its top-grossing app appears to have paid off. The 2015 Clash of Clans Super Bowl commercial is being circulated widely online right now by fans of both Neeson and the game itself, racking up more than one million views on YouTube alone in less than 24 hours.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Mophie's "All-Powerless"

This commercial from Super Bowl new-comer Mophie was being pegged as a front-runner in the annual ad race by critics well before it actually aired on game day. The spot essentially taps into the sense of chaos and horror that many of us now feel when our cellphone battery dies (a problem that Mophie, purveyor of battery-charging phone cases, hopes to help eliminate.) The sense of urgency created within the ad, combined with some eye-popping Michael Bay-style special effects, make for one impressive Super Bowl commercial — especially given that it was produced by a lesser-known brand.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)'s official Super Bowl ad

A PSA produced by the public awareness campaign made history this year as the first ever Super Bowl commercial to address domestic violence and sexual assault. Released Jan. 26, this chilling spot generated a significant amount of media attention last week. To date, it's generated more than five million views on Youtube, — as well as plenty of discussion around the web about domestic abuse scandals within the NFL.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Budweiser's "Lost Dog"

Budweiser brought the "aww" factor to football once again this year with a heart-warming Super Bowl commercial that makes a strong case for the phrase "if it's not broken, don't fix it." The beer brand's iconic Clydesdale horses star alongside a painfully cute Labrador puppy once again in this spot, which has already racked up more than 20 million views on YouTube and likely twice as many tears. We won't spoil it for you, but it's got some definite Homeward Bound vibes — which means that you probably shouldn't watch this right now if you're wearing mascara.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Snickers' "The Brady Bunch"

With what might be the best use of star power in any Super Bowl commercial this year comes a Snickers remake of a scene from The Brady Bunch, starring actors Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi (as Marcia and Jan Brady, respectively.) This 30-second ad boasts a perfect blend of nostalgia, humour, digital trickery, character acting, and absurdity. From the moment it hit YouTube on Jan. 29, "The Brady Bunch" by Snickers has been touted as one of this year's best Super Bowl commercials — and it continues to earn strong reviews from critics as lists of 2015's top ads roll out.

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Always' "Like a Girl"

The empowerment of young women is far from a traditional Super Bowl commercial theme, but it was an Always ad about subverting the phrase "Like a Girl" that managed to steal the show this year. A condensed version of the roughly three-minute-long #LikeAGirl video that went viral after being uploaded to the Always YouTube channel in June, the feminine hygiene brand's 2015 Super Bowl spot is a resounding hit among ad critics and consumers alike. "On a day that glorifies masculine athleticism, Proctor & Gamble is making viewers consider female strength, as well," wrote Maura Judkis for the Washington Post. "There’s no mention of Always’ products in the ad: Instead, it’s a PSA for all of womankind. A heavy-handed one, perhaps — but put it next to the Carl’s Jr. ad, and it’s easy to understand why."

(Can't see the video? Click here to view on YouTube)

Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts on which commercials won the Super Bowl ad game this year by tweeting us at @CBCNews.


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