Super Bowl 51 commercials bring controversy, humor

Melissa McCarthy in a Kia Niro commercial for the Super Bowl


A 30-second ad during Super Bowl 51 costs $5 million, according to Advertising Age. In total, a record $385 million will be spent on advertising.

Take a look at some of the ads that will air Sunday, as the Atlanta Falcons face the New England Patriots in Houston. 

“King of Beers”

Budweiser opted for a serious commercial this year, depicting the immigration journey of their co-founder, Adolphus Busch. 

Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way” by budweiser on YouTube

“Budweiser made this a while ago, and it was really a story about the American dream, working hard to achieve your goals. But I think given the current political climate, it’s going to be read a lot differently,” Advertising Age reporter Jeanine Poggi said Thursday on “CBS This Morning.”

The beer giant is facing heat on social media with #BoycottBudweiser, even though the commercial was shot before President Trump won the election.  

“I don’t think they ever meant to take a political stand with this one,” Poggi said. 

Star power 

Celebrities help generate buzz around the commercials, including motor company Kia’s Niro ad with Melissa McCarthy.

2017 Kia Niro | “Hero’s Journey” Starring Melissa McCarthy by Kia Motors America on YouTube

“Normally celebrities are a mainstay of Super Bowl commercials. They are a driving force of the excitement. And as we see more marketers pre-release these ads, they are using celebrities to get the word out, to talk to their fans,” Poggi said.

All-New Honda CR-V 2017 Big Game Commercial - Yearbooks by Honda on YouTube

But do viewers remember the star or the product itself?

“It really depends on how well the creative is done and how much the brand is able to tie it back into what they’re known for,” Poggi said. “So yes, it does run the risk of it just being a show for the celebrity.”


Many of the commercials count on laughs to bring attention to their products, including these Avocados from Mexico and Skittles ads.

#AvoSecrets | Avocados From Mexico | Big Game 2017 Commercial | Secret Society by Avocados From Mexico on YouTube
Skittles: “Romance” Super Bowl 51 Commercial by SKITTLESbrand on YouTube

Read more about Super Bowl commercials on Advertising Age.