SALT LAKE CITY — Many watch the Super Bowl for the love of one of America's favorite pastimes, but the advertisements themselves draw in a crowd of viewers.
We already know who won the game, but what about all the buzzworthy commercials?
Cheers and boos erupted from the office of Richter7, a Salt Lake-based marketing and communication agency, as the company declared its picks for the best and worst of Super Bowl LII's ads during its annual Ad Bowl Monday.
"This is our world. We live this and breathe these ads all the time, and this is the biggest stage. When you're in the advertising world, this is the Oscars of advertising," Richter7 President Tim Brown said.
The pungent smell of spicy chicken wings filled the cramped conference room, or the "Ad Bowl Arena," as two Richter7 employees wearing referee costumes took score of their co-workers' choices.
The company has held its post-Super Bowl celebration for the past 23 years, Brown said.
"They look forward to this after-game party … (to) take away all the football and focus in on the ads and see who really scored," Brown said.
The office gave Tide's "It's Yet Another Tide Ad" the title of "Most Valuable Ad." The ad featured actor David Harbour dressed as Mr. Clean as he danced and announced, "It's a Tide ad."
According to Richter7, the best ad made on a relatively low budget was Verizon's "First Responders," which shines a spotlight on emergency medical personnel who "answer the call."
Kia's "Feel Something Again" won Richter7's title of "Celebrity Sack," or best commercial with a celebrity appearance. The commercial shows rocker Steven Tyler reverse-age as he drives the 2018 Kia Stinger.
As the Richter7 staff watched each commercial and voted on a scale of 1-7, each ad seemed to elicit a strong response, whether positive or negative.
But what makes an ad good or bad?
One commercial that initiated a negative response, in the Richter7 office as well as on Twitter, was the Dodge commercial that features parts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Drum Major Instinct" speech.
Richter7 gave it a low score, naming it "Should Have Punted."
"With the Martin Luther King one, I was feeling inspired by it. This is Martin Luther King, an icon, a legend, an inspirational leader in this country, and he continues to do so decades after his passing. I thought, don't make this commercial. Don't commercialize this. And sure enough, at the end, it was a Dodge Ram truck," Brown said.
"And it wasn't just a subtle thing. It was big. In that same speech, he was actually talking about 'don't commercialize things.' So I'm thinking: Where did they miss the mark there? Where did they not see that was the thing?" he added.
The marketing company president believes succesful commercials "connect with the audience" and "connect with emotion," making viewers feel inspired. They also may "relate to something (people) are going through," Brown said.
As a contrast to the less-than-successful Dodge commercial, Brown remembered one memorable ad. In 1980s "Mean" Joe Greene commercial for Coca Cola, a little boy gives the ornery football star a bottle of soda, and in return, the football star gives the little boy his jersey.
"We all relate to being a little kid wanting something," he said. "'Mean' Joe Greene had a tender heart. It's simple. It touched your heart."
This year, however, Coca-Cola may have missed its mark. The "Creative Fumble" title — for a commercial that tries and fails to appeal to viewers — went to Coca Cola's "Because I Can," which shows a young woman dancing as she drinks a can of soda because, as she says, she "can't help it."
An ad's use of humor can also bring a strong response, Brown said.
The commercial that garnered the most laughs from the Richter7 office, NFL's "Dirty Dancing," won the title "Championship Chuckle." In the ad, football stars Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. perform the famous dance from the film "Dirty Dancing."2 comments on this story
The title of "Illegal Use of $$" for the ad that may have used its budget less-than-effectively went to Turkish Airline's "5 Senses," in which Dr. Oz talks about the human body as the screen moves from cinematic scenes around the world.
For viewers, the commercials are easy entertainment. However, stakes are high for the companies involved.
Highly coveted ad time costs well over $5 millionper 30-second spot this year, according to Superbowl-ads.com.
"If you can tell a story, then you've gotta do it in 30 seconds, and because the price tag is so high … that's why it's so critical," Brown said.