Interview: SpotBowl’s Dave Shoffner Talks The Best & Worst Super Bowl Ads of the Game

Were you glued to the set in between the Raven’s leading the 49ers 28-6, the Beyonce and Destiny’s Child reunion at halftime and the power outage in the third quarter of the Super Bowl just for the ads? We all knew that Sunday night’s game would be historical, but who knew what an impact it would have on advertisers? If you cried during the Clydesdale ad (they get me every year) and were extra proud that your grandfather was a farmer during the Dodge commercial, we weren’t alone!

Pavone’s Dave Shoffner joined me today to talk about how this year’s Super Bowl ads ranked in the 10th annual SpotBowl ad poll. For the first time one of the leaders ended up in the bottom three, how did your favorite ad rate?

Pavone's Dave Shoffner discusses how your favorite Super Bowl ad ranked in the 10th annual SpotBowl! Image courtesy of

Pavone’s Dave Shoffner discusses how your favorite Super Bowl ad ranked in the 10th annual SpotBowl! Image courtesy of


Candace Rose: What were some of the top ads featured during the Super Bowl?

Dave Shoffner: “Well, I think the big question for us is always which is better, the game or the ads? And last night the game was better. The ads this year were just okay, a little underwhelming, but some of the top performers- we some some good things from Dodge. The ‘God Made A Farmer’ spot took a lot of us by surprise and in our opinion here at SpotBowl is it was easiest the best of the night, and I think a big reason for that is because they didn’t release it ahead of time, they didn’t even give any information out ahead of time. It just sort of snuck up on you and it was really impactful.”

Candace Rose: We were watching “The God Made A Farmer” commercial, and someone mentioned that he felt that the commercial could have been shorter and that it was hard to figure out who the commercial was for- at times you didn’t know if it was for farmers or possibly even Case. Do you feel it could have been shorter or was it important to have the commercial run two minutes?

Dave Shoffner: “It was two minutes long and it felt either longer or shorter depending on who was watching. I agree, I think one of the keys to a good Super Bowl commercial is to integrate your product into it so people after the commercial a day later or a week later remember the product when they think of the commercial, and that one may have violated that rule as great as it was, epic and impactful as it was. You’re right, you had to wait until the very end to figure out if it was Dodge. I talked to a lot of people who say when they were watching it they were wondering who was it for- was it for Farmers? Is it a milk commercial? Some people thought it was for blue jeans. And then of course at the end it was Dodge, but you’re right, I can see how a lot of people could be confused by that.”


A gentleman featured in Dodge's 'God Made A Farmer' ad.

A gentleman featured in Dodge’s ‘God Made A Farmer’ ad.


Candace Rose: How did Oprah’s Jeep ad do? That was a sentimental one as well.

Dave Shoffner: “That was another Chrysler spot (Chrysler owns Jeep and Dodge) and they were quiet about their Oprah spot, and they were quiet about their ‘God Made A Farmer’ spot. That one came right at halftime, and we almost missed that because we don’t usually track the halftime commercials, they usually just use local commercials. It’s in the middle of the pack somewhere, which is not surprising. It was a poignant spot, but I don’t think it was nearly as strong as the farmers spot.”

Candace Rose: Do you think that the 34 minute power outage had any kind of effect on advertisers or on ads?

Dave Shoffner: “Well, I was thinking that as soon as the power outage occurred it might definitely interfere with the scheduling of the ads because they’re on a very restricted schedule, they know how many ads they have and how long the game is. But believe it or not it was a half hour power outage and they only went to one commercial break during that half hour. They didn’t have to use a lot of their ad inventory. And then later on in the game (in the fourth quarter) I noticed they had re-aired a couple of the ads that they’d aired earlier in the game, so they probably had to make up for that unexpected commercial break during the outage. But no I don’t think it had a big impact.”

Candace Rose: I heard Oreo did something different this year and they ended up getting 22,000 Instagram followers. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Dave Shoffner: “Yeah, Oreo of course had a Super Bowl commercial that pitted fans of the cookie vs. fans of the cream, but they wisely during the blackout, did some work on their social media page, posting I ‘You Can Still Dunk In The Dark’. It was very smart and very timely, and they were very quick about it. And you’re right, it ended up paying off big for them in social media.”

Oreo's BRILLIANT "You Can Still Dunk In The Dark".

Oreo’s BRILLIANT “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark” image featured during the Super Bowl blackout. Image courtesy of


Candace Rose: What were fans reactions to the Anheuser Busch Clydesdale commercial?

Dave Shoffner: “They were well received here, as we expected them to be. In the SpotBowl polls they’re ranking third and the polls are still open for another hour. It was a real strong showing from them. It was really the only highlight for Anheuser Busch, unfortunately they had a really bad night. The bottom three in our SpotBowl’s right now are all Anheuser spots, the ‘Black Crown’ and the ‘Goldfish’ singing to Beck Sapphire. We’re not used to seeing Budweiser that low, they’re usually in the middle to the top of our rankings.

And even their Bud Light spots- the one with Stevie Wonder doing the voodoo thing, the Bud Light spots were pretty low in our polls. So bad, bad night for Anheuser Busch.”


Candace Rose: How did the other ads with celebrity cameos do?

Dave Shoffner: “It’s interesting, I’m looking at the top ten right now and there are no celebrities in our top ten. The top ten spots are devoid of cameos. But also the bottom five were also devoid in general. So I think the celebrities in general are kind of in the middle of the pack. My personal favorite was ‘The Rock’ in the spot for milk- He’s ignoring a bunch of crisis situations (he’s usually the super hero) because his one goal is to get some milk for his kids. I thought that one was a really fun spot and did a good job of communicating the product.”

Candace Rose: How did the Montana stain commercial rank?

Dave Shoffner: “Montana Stain- I liked that one. I think from a branding standpoint and marketing standpoint was one of the smartest spots of the night. That one is currently number five in the SpotBowl poll. I really liked that one a lot.”


The notorious "Montana Stain" from Tides' Super Bowl commercial. Image courtesy of

The notorious “Montana Stain” from Tides’ Super Bowl commercial. Image courtesy of


Candace Rose: I remember from last year that Volkswagen typically does well during the Super Bowl. Did they do okay this year?

Dave Shoffner: “They are just outside of our top ten right now. And you’re right, the last two years Volkswagen has won. This year they had the somewhat controversial spot with the white guy with the Jamaican accent encouraging his coworkers to get happy. That one’s done generally well. If you can get in the top 10 or 15 in a poll like SpotBowl you’re doing something right. It didn’t lead the way this year.”

Candace Rose: You mentioned that Anheuser Busch didn’t fare well overall. What were some of the other least favorite ads?

Dave Shoffner: “Well, not surprisingly Go Daddy which is always near the bottom of our poll. Go Daddy’s very awkward kiss commercial is the fifth worst, although it has bragging rights because the three Anheuser Busch spots are right below it. You know you’ve had a bad night if Go Daddy beats you. And that spots easily the most cringeworthy hard to watch one of the night.”

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?

Dave Shoffner: “Right now the surprising leader in the SpotBowl poll is- and it’s down to the wire because a lot can happen in the next half hour to an hour- the M&M’s spot. It’s the one with the red M&M singing ‘I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that,’ and that one’s leading. There must be a lot of people that love M&M’s. But I have a feeling the ‘God Made A Farmer’ (Dodge Ram) spot is going to make a strong push because I’ve been watching it the last two hours and it’s been climbing, and M&M has been slipping. I think the fans are speaking loudly right now and we’re going to see a shift.


Candace Rose: Where can viewers go for more information?

Dave Shoffner: “You can go to If you missed any of the commercials, you can watch them all and you can check out the final results posted there. We encourage everyone to go there and have some fun.”

The SpotBowl polls have closed since Dave and I spoke an hour ago, and it looks like the Dodge “God Made A Farmer” ad was the fan favorite. Be sure to visit for the entire list of results.




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