Favorites and Fumbles: Our Picks for the Best (and Worst) Super Bowl Ads
Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday… or as we know it, the Oscars of advertising! From the snacks to the half-time show, we all know there’s more to the Super Bowl than just the game itself. Whether you were rooting for the San Francisco 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs, we can all agree on one thing: the conversations around the commercials sure were flowing!
Commercials can sometimes be the best part of the big game (especially if the on-field action is a snooze-fest). At just over $5 million per 30-second spot, these pricey endeavors seem to get more and more buzz every year. Several brands “leaked” their ad(s) early, creating additional opportunities for consumers to weigh in on social media before, during, and after their short lives on national television. These spots can make or break a brand, garnering enough attention to drive revenue for their whole year or falling completely flat.
Super Bowl Sunday is the one day a year where the whole world is tuned in to how the biggest brands market themselves — and the winners and losers are talked about long after the game ends. As with all competitions, someone’s gotta win and someone’s gotta lose. In that spirit, we asked our team to pick their winners and losers:
Hyundai, Smaht Pahk
With a little help from actors Chris Evans, Rachel Dratch, and John Krasinski, Hyundai made its Smart Park technology the star of a wicked fun (and wicked smart) ad.
Rocket Mortgage, Jason Momoa
Turns out, everyone — even Jason Momoa, an actor best known for his superhero strength — just wants to peel away the stress of the day and relax at home.
If you haven’t seen this one yet, grab tissues. You’ll need them. The tech giant’s poignant, touching ad showcases the capabilities of Google Assistant in a memorable way.
T-Mobile maintained its reputation for comedic brand storytelling with a commercial you’ll want to tell your mama about, along with your neighbor, your coworker, and basically anyone else you see this week.
Jeep, Groundhog Dog
The brand geniuses at Jeep capitalized on Super Bowl coinciding with Groundhog Day by delivering a madcap sequel to the classic 1993 comedy — and convinced Bill Murray to tag along for his very first nationally televised commercial.
Facebook, Ready to Rock?
What do you get when you combine a catchy Twisted Sister anthem, niche hobby enthusiasts, Chris Rock, and Rocky? Answer: a promotion for the social networking site’s new product that connects users in person, instead of just online.
Budweiser, Typical American
No surprises here: Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad stayed true to the brand’s American roots. Unscripted footage is paired beautifully with a voice-over script that conjures atypically strong emotions.
Walmart, Famous Visitors
Sadly, no surprises here, either. The general concept behind this ad seemed too similar to the brand’s grocery pickup campaign ad from 2019 for our team’s taste.
Mountain Dew Zero Sugar, As Good As The Original
We’re not certain how this riff on “The Shining” is supposed to sell sugar-free soda. We’ll stick with Coke Zero.
Tide, #LaundryLater (series)
Repetition in advertising can sometimes be a good thing. Other times, it can create confusion. Tide’s many ads and brand collaborations only diluted their message, resulting in a messy narrative.
Heinz, Find the Goodness
We’ll give Heinz credit for their creative approach to running multiple ads for the price of one. Unfortunately, we were so busy trying to figure out what was happening in each quadrant that we missed any strategic message that they hoped to convey.
St. Archer Gold, Patience
This ad focused so heavily on its competitor, that our team thought it *was* an ad for its competitor.
Procter & Gamble, When We Come Together
This ad was a bit of a spill for a brand known for its ability to clean up messes. The catchphrases were rushed, the jokes were flat, and the volume of product references made for sixty confusing seconds.