I don’t usually do event postmortems.

If you’re in the U.S. market, then you know the Superbowl is one-half game, one-half ad event, and 100-percent hype. (Yes, I know the math doesn’t really add up, but that’s the point of hype isn’t it?) I usually ignore the ads and watch the game, but this year for some reason I paid more attention to the advertising than usual. Hence, a few observations from Superbowl 50.

Budweiser won big.

It wasn’t puppies or ponies, but it was effective. The Superbowl 50 ad with the most online views was “Give a Damn,” Helen Mirren’s blunt message about drinking and driving. It is an ad wrapped in a public service message delivered with straight talk in the middle of one of the biggest ad-buy blocks of the year. It was interesting to see Budweiser break from tradition and take a risk — and I wish more brands would do the same.

Celebrities sell.

We may say we’re cynical of celebrity pitches, but we’re paying attention. That’s part of why we watched Helen Mirren. I love the Ryan Reynolds car ad. Apparently, I am not alone.

Cision also reported that Betty White doing the “dab” in a celebrity-studded Superbowl 50 intro was mentioned over one million times.

Sometimes it helps when you (and your brand) don’t take yourselves too seriously.

A well-placed local ad can leverage the national audience.

That’s what Washington-area plumbing company Michael & Sons did with a spot-on local ad featuring Mike Tyson. Well, maybe not a national audience. But the ad spot certainly drew a larger-that-usual regional audience and garnered national media attention. The Washington Post has the backstory on how the company’s founders made it happen.

Not every product is Superbowl smart.

Superbowl 50 was an excuse for a big party (aka, lots of food and drink). But when you’re in the middle of it, you don’t want to be reminded of the fallout. I spotted three separate pharmaceutical ads involving some kind of gastrointestinal distress — and each time reached for the mute button. It was just wrong.

Feature photo by torbakhopper (Flickr).