Puppymonkeybaby, Chip-Craving Fetus Stand Out in Ad Lineup


Advertisers played it safe and light with the most expensive ever Super Bowl ad slots on Sunday, shunning previous years' attempts to be outrageous, emotional or thought-provoking.

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Mountain Dew rolled out a creature made from a puppy, a monkey and a baby while Doritos had a fetus on ultrasound reaching for a chip, in two of the most unusual spots.

The commercial which drew the most tweets was shown by Allstate Corp's Esurance unit before the game, promising viewers a chance to win $250,000 if they tweeted. More than 2 million had done so as of late Sunday night.

The low-risk approach may have been a reaction to last year, when Nationwide Mutual Insurance drew heat for featuring a dead boy speaking to viewers in an ad about child safety.

“Brands played it safe, using a lot of levity and humor,” said Derek Rucker, professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “We didn't see too many emotional or too many deep ads. Most of them played it really safe, really light-hearted," he said, noting the contrast to Nationwide's 2015 spot.

PepsiCo, which owns the Doritos and Mountain Dew brands, went furthest into the strange. Doritos ads inspired 238,770 tweets during the game, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence, a marketing technology company. About 47 percent were positive mentions, the highest among the most-tweeted-about ads, Amobee said.