The MVCs (Most Valued Commercials) of Super Bowl LIII

Let’s face it – regardless of who’s vying for the Vince Lombardi trophy on the gridiron, the truth of the Super Bowl matter is - there’s a secondary competition that takes place in the ad-o-sphere on Super Bowl night!

The advertising focus for Super Bowl LIII shifted - to speak more directly to the increasing female audience during the game, and the NFL in general. The NFL estimates that 45 percent of its fan base is female, and AdAge reported that 47 percent of Super Bowl viewers in 2018 were women.

With 2019 being perceived as the ‘year of the woman,’ so-to-speak, in terms of the target audience during the Super Bowl, America saw new, female-focused brands entering the commercial line-up for the first time. They included Proctor and Gamble’s Olay face cream starring actress Sarah Michelle Geller, and online dating site, Bumble, starring professional tennis player Serena Williams. Returning brand Toyota promoted the automaker’s new RAV4 with a spot that included Toni Harris, one of the few women ever to receive a college football scholarship.

The distinction regarding audience demographics is important because 30 of the 58 commercials that aired during the Super Bowl resonated more highly with women, according to USA Today's Ad Meter. In fact, the top 26 ads in this year’s winning line-up received higher marks by female voters, while male voters preferred 20 of the commercials that ranked from No. 27 through No. 58. Participants were required to register in order to vote, and they were required to vote on every ad in order for their vote to count toward the results.

Here are USA Today’s Top 5 Super Bowl commercials of 2019:

No.1 – National Football League "The 100 Year Game"

The NFL’s funny and light-hearted preview of the league’s upcoming 100th Anniversary features a banquet room full of NFL legends who demonstrate they still have the game in their blood when the football topper of an anniversary cake falls to the floor in a “fumble.”

No. 2 – Amazon Alexa "Not Everything Makes the Cut"

Amazon Alexa was a fan favorite again this year with a celebrity-packed spot that featured fictional products in which Amazon had beta-tested Alexa and failed. Those products included a battery-operated toothbrush, a hot tub shaped like Alexa and a dog collar that resulted in actor Harrison Ford’s dog ordering a truckload of food. Even retired astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly witnessed a beta test fail from space.

Amazon Alexa made a strong return after finishing at No. 1 in 2018 with a spot that featured celebrities filling in for Alexa when she lost her voice.

No. 3 – Microsoft "We All Win"

Microsoft was one of several brands that took a different approach and focused on “real consumers,” rather than celebrity endorsements. The third highest-rated Super Bowl spot features children with various health conditions or disabilities who, through the use of Microsoft’s adaptive controller video gaming device, were able to bypass their setbacks and engage competitively with other players while gaming.

No. 4 – Hyundai "The Elevator"

Hyundai appealed to Super Bowl fans’ love of humor and variety, with an ad that plays to the automaker’s “shopper assurance” program that streamlines the car buying and test drive process for prospective customers.

No. 5 – Verizon "The Coach Who Wouldn't Be Here"

Verizon tugged on the heartstrings of fans, with a grateful nod to first responders in its series of 12 vignettes that feature the individual stories of 11 NFL players and Los Angeles Chargers head coach, and former NFL player, Anthony Lynn. Each story reflects on a traumatic incident in the individuals’ lives, as loved ones and first responders also think back to that moment.

The return of multiple rivals from the beer, soft drink, auto and wireless carrier industries competed with very different creative approaches. This year’s advertisers promoted not only new products, but also industries that made their Super Bowl debut.

At a record cost of $5.25 million per 30-second spot this year, there’s no doubt that brands are rooting for any additional post-game exposure of their ad they can get. Pre-game curiosity sparked millions of views of the ads online and there’s no doubt that advertisers are hoping post-game visits will take those numbers even higher.