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Best Super Bowl Commercial? 'It's A Tide Ad!'

John Kiesewetter
Procter & Gamble

Congratulations to Procter & Gamble, which swept the top Super Bowl commercials, according to ADWEEK.

"Tide, which aired four brilliant commercials across four quarters… easily won the night with the best campaign," ADWEEK wrote. 

The headline says "Tide was the runaway winner."

There must be lots of high fives at P&G headquarters today – especially since the Tide ads didn't make the top five in USA Today's annual "Ad Meter" viewers poll. But somebody at USA Today liked the P&G spots, because the Tide ad with the Old Spice guy sitting on a horse holding the laundry detergent was at the top of the USA Today story Monday morning.


USA Today's poll put Amazon's "Alexa loses her voice" first, which placed second in ADWEEK.

ADWEEK gushed that P&G "really raised the bar this year" with perfect acting and pacing. Actor David Harbour ("Stranger Things," "The Newsrooms," "Suicide Squad") appeared in what looked like car, Budweiser, Old Spice and Mr. Clean commercials only to point out everyone's spotless clothes and declare, "It's a Tide ad!" In my viewing experience Sunday night, P&G made every commercial a Tide ad… because I started closely watching the clothes in all commercials, waiting for Harbour to appear. Very clever. (See all five Tide ads on the ADWEEK site here.)

ADWEEK says:

"We could have put all four Tide spots in our top five, but we’ll give other marketers a chance by counting this as one campaign.

"There’s so much to love about this work. It springs from a clever idea that feels fresh and unexpected. It knowingly comments on Super Bowl advertising itself, which viewers always love. It ropes in other P&G brands, wonderfully so, and even tweaks a non-P&G brand (Budweiser). It calls back classic ads like Mr. Clean and Old Spice (which, trivia alert, never actually ran on the Super Bowl). The media plan built the enjoyment out over the course of the evening, making each successive spot that much more delightful. The acting and pacing were perfect. And all the gags were different from each other yet felt totally cohesive.

"It’s been a while since we’ve had such a consensus choice about the night’s best Super Bowl ad—probably not since 2011’s “The Force” by Volkswagen. Congrats to Tide, P&G and Saatchi & Saatchi for winning the evening with work that was clever, amusing and fun. It really raised the bar this year."

The 90-second Alexa commercial featured the virtual assistant's voice replaced with plenty of attitude from chef Gordon Ramsay, actress Rebel Wilson, rapper Cardi B and "Silence of the Lambs" actor Anthony Hopkins. 

The top five for ADWEEKS included the dueling Doritos Blaze/Mountain Dew Ice spots with Peter Dinklage, Morgan Freeman, Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes; the revelation that Chris Hemsworth's "Crocodile Dundee" sequel was really an Australian tourism campaign; and the NFL's series of Eli Manning touchdown celebration spots with Odell Beckham Jr. and other players. 

On the USA Today Ad Meter,the Manning-Beckham NFL spot finished second, followed by Budweiser canning water for disaster relief; Doritos/Mountain Dew Ice; and a Toyota spot about Paralympian Lauren Woolstencroft.

Niether story explained the one spot many are talking about -- 15 seconds of nothing, just a blank screen. It wasn't a flub by WLWT-TV here, the black screen aired nationwide on NBC. Here's what a WLWT-TV engineer posted on Facebook  (since removed), according to Jerry Galvin's Facebook page:

"Somebody lost track of how many TV time-outs there were in the game. Al Michaels tossed to a break that didn't exist, and in the truck, they faded to black. For an agonizing 10-15 seconds, they just sat on black. (During this time, someone in New York was telling the production truck that there wasn't a break and that they should come back up and get back on the air.)….

"I'm an old pro at this. I knew it wasn't our Local break for several reasons: It wasn't half-time yet, and there just aren't local commercials until halftime in most football games; there was no network promo, which is always a timing device for the local affiliates; if it had been a local break, there would have been a peacock popping up in the middle of the screen over the black. So I knew the problem was all theirs….

"I just hope that no operators at other affiliates panicked and rolled their break, only to see, to their horror, NBC come back up from black. Because… those local breaks aren't cheap, either, and advertisers don't like having their ads interrupted by an abrupt return to the game."

What was your favorite? Did ADWEEK or USA Today get it right?

Copyright 2021 91.7 WVXU. To see more, visit .

John Kiesewetter joined the WVXU news team as a TV/Media blogger on July 1 2015, after nearly 30 years covering local and national broadcasting for The Cincinnati Enquirer. He’ll be posting news about Greater Cincinnati TV, radio and movies; updating your favorite former local TV/radio personalities or stars who grew up here; and breaking news about national TV, radio and media trends. You’ll also learn about Cincinnati’s rich broadcasting history.