Super Bowl commercials: Carmax, H&M, RadioShack are retail's winners, Amazon, Subway miss the mark

The Super Bowl has come and gone and while everyone is talking about the blowout, I'm still thinking about the few retailers that made the most out of their $4 million commercial investment. While the retailers were few and far between this year, none of them caused the kind of buzz you'd expect from a Super Bowl spot. Despite the underwhelming retail presence, RadioShack, CarMax and H&M were the night's retail winners.

CarMax (NYSE: KMX) combined all the elements that make for a memorable commercial—humor, community and cutness—and kept the customer talking by premiering a second commerical as a web-only exclusive during the game. The ad featured a man who had just purchased a car, and as he drives it off the lot, his decision is met with a slow clap by everyone he passes on his way home. The car salesman, the mailman, a few kids at a lemonade stand and even an elderly man getting rescued by a fire fighter. The company followed up the ad with an even more entertaining online-only commercial that swaps out the human characters for, you guessed it, puppies. (There were lots and lots of puppies this year). 

H&M turned a lot of heads with its David Beckham Bodywear commercial, featuring Beckham himself in nothing but his boxer briefs jumping off of buildings and zip lining through the city shirtless. As if a shirtless Beckham wasn't enough, H&M also got customers talking by asking for their help in deciding the commercial's plot ahead of the Super Bowl. The retailer hosted a pre-Super Bowl campaign leading up to the big game that asked fans to weigh-in on whether Beckham should wear underpants or his birthday suit. I'll assume you already know which option won. To drive engagement even further, H&M partnered with Delivery Agent, an ad tech company, to allow customers with a Samsung smart TV to shop the products directly from the commercial. Bravo, H&M, bravo.

Perhaps the most entertaining ad came from RadioShack which made fun of itself for being an outdated retailer. The commercial features a store employee who gets a phone call and states, "the '80s called" and "they want their store back." Seconds later, legions of '80s characters, including Hulk Hogan, Kid 'n Play and American Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Rhetton break through the doors and rip old VHS players and bulky computer monitors off the shelves. The end of the ad fast-forwards to a modern, gleaming retail store and the brand's new tagline "Do it together." 

Subway, McDonalds (NYSE: MCD) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) also aired commercials during the Super Bowl, although the memory of their ads is already fuzzy just a few hours after the game. In the McDonald's ad, NFL'ers Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh, and Joe Flacco chit chat in high-pitched voices about burgers and fries, while Subway advertised their newest product, the Fritos Chicken Enchilada with the help of Olympic athletes Michael Phelps and Apolo Ohno (who I certainly don't believe keep up their elite athlete bodies by eating cheesy subs topped with corn chips). Amazon's Kindle Fire spot that mocked the iPad Air was a repeat of an ad they've been running since the holidays.

Watch these retail Super Bowl commercials below.

For more:
-See this AdAge article
-See this International Business Times article

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