This is a banner day for opinions at the water cooler. There was an obvious theme of the night: humor, with several brands relying on comedic actors (Jeff Goldblum, Steve Harvey, Seth Rogen, and Amy Schumer, to name a few). Oh, and Pharma should avoid any future ads about bodily functions during the biggest food indulgence party of the year.

Before we talk about our favorites, let’s talk about how to make a damn good 30-second ad.

8 tips for creating a great :30 spot

  1. 50 to 60 words. That’s the max for a good :30 script. The spot shouldn’t be wall-to-wall voiceover: you need beats of breathing room throughout, but definitely in the beginning and end. Challenge yourself to cut out a fifth of the words.
  2. Great spots have a “turn” moment. That moment when there’s a bit of a twist.
  3. But don’t “M. Night” it. A good “turn” moment doesn’t have to be overly dramatic. That feels forced.
  4. The parts of the video that you make excuses for? Delete those. “Well, the client really wanted this part in.” “We spent a lot of time on this drone shot, so we wanted to include it. Even if it doesn’t really add anything.”
  5. The VO doesn’t need to tell the whole story. That’s what animation and shot direction and visuals are for.
  6. People won’t remember what the script said. They’ll remember how it made them feel.
  7. One thing should win. If it’s a great music track, let that carry the ad. If it’s amazing visuals, let those be the focus. If it’s a compelling script, let that drive. A spot that tries to emphasize all three will only lose attention.
  8. If you’ve got a really good idea that breaks the rules above, the hell with them. But it better be a damn good idea.

Winner: Jeep. The “We don’t make Jeep, you do” spot honoring its 75th anniversary was simple and powerful. Who knew a Jeep commercial could be so moving?

Loser: Dew Kickstart. Puppy-monkey-baby—sure, people are talking about it, but it was weird. And it was really hard to make the connection between that dancing thing and the brand. Note that today, no one’s talking about the actual product.

Sleeper hit: Amazon Echo. Actor Alec Baldwin and football legend Dan Marino brainstorm ideas for the #BaldwinBowl, but the Echo and its virtual assistant Alexa steal the show. An appearance by Missy Elliot never hurts either.

Funniest: It’s a tie. Heinz’s “Weiner Stampede,” because it’s obvious, right? (Has no one really ever done a bit with dachshunds and hot dogs before)? And Doritos, because what’s funnier than a man eating Doritos during his wife’s ultrasound appointment?

Video tips courtesy of Ologie’s Video Director Mark Love