JC Penney and Coke steal Super Bowl ad spotlight

JC Penney and Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl marketing campaigns sparked outrage and praise during last night’s match (2 February) making them among the most-talked about ads in the game.


The hotly anticipated match-up between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos ended up becoming a one-sided affair as the former steam-rollered their opponents to claim their first Super Bowl trophy. Despite not having much to talk about by way of match highlights, fans and in some cases brands took the opportunity to air views on some of the more polarizing campaigns from Super Bowl advertisers.

Department store JC Penney attracted lots of attention for two (seemingly) clumsily written tweets about the earlier plays in the game. One post read: “Toughdown Seadawks!! Is sSeattle going toa runaway wit h this???”


Observers were quick to pounce on the nonesencal tweets with some claiming that the person managing the Twitter account was either drunk or had been hacked. Kia Motors tweeted: “Hey @jcpenney need a designated driver”, while Coors Light posted: “.JCPenney We know football goes great with Coors Light, but please tweet responsibly”.

The department store’s fleet-footed riposte to the observations signaled its initial tweets had been planned all along with it revealing it had actually been “tweeting with mittens” on – a plug for its Team USA mittens ahead of the Winter Olympics later this week (7 February). The tweet generated more than 31,000 retweets and 11,800 favourites.


Elsewhere, Coke’s bid to communicate more pointed diversity messages divided Super Bowl viewers. The drinks maker ran an ad, titled “It’s Beautiful”, featuring people from different religions, ethnic backgrounds and individuals in classic scenes of American life including two male partners and their daughter going roller skating. The ad (see below) is soundtracked to a chorus of children singing “America the beautiful” which starts off being sung in English before also being sung in languages such as Hindi and Arabic.

The ad, which is the first Super Bowl spot to feature a gay couple, was one of the most talked-about during the game with reaction from fans who hated it and those who loved it. Some Coke fans tweeted they would never drink the brand again as a result of the song being sung in foreign languages, while others praised the ad for trying to tackle political subjects such as gay marriage.

Coca-Cola, 'America is beautiful', by Wieden + Kennedy

This year’s Super Bowl was billed as the battle of the real-time marketers as brands looked for their own Oreo “Dunk in the Dunk” moment. The efforts were stunted by the game’s lack of real talking points and so brands turned on each other to spark conversation.

Jaguar took a swipe at Maserati’s spot for its new Ghiblu ad (see below) with the tweet: “Did you know that #ghibli means hot air? Seems appropriate. CC: Maserati_HQ #GoodToBeBad”.

Maserati Super Bowl ad, featuring Quvezhane Wallis.

Meanwhile, Doritos and telecoms firm Verizon exchanged playful chides during the game.



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