If you didn’t tune into Super Bowl LIV, one of television’s biggest nights, we can only assume you live under a rock — perhaps the rock featured in Reese’s Take 5 ad? Or, you might just find football uninteresting and dare I say, boring? *cue the crowd gasp*
Whether you enjoy the sport or not, many marketers and advertisers, as well as consumers, watch the Super Bowl purely for the ads. In past years, we’ve seen some funny, clever, emotional, and downright cringey ads come across our screens.
From Olay to Microsoft, the Super Bowl attracts all kinds of advertisers, but who can blame them? Super Bowl Sunday attracted over 98 million TV viewers and more than 32 million social media interactions last year, according to Nielsen.
Super Bowl advertising lives in a category of its own. The expectations are incredibly high for brands to perform well and push the boundaries of entertainment and creativity. This year, ads featured both veteran advertisers such as Cheetos and Amazon, as well as some newbies like Quibi and Hint Water.
These ads were a hot topic in our office this past Monday, so I asked our team to share their favorite (or least favorite) Super Bowl ads and loved hearing what they had to say. Keep reading to see which brands caught their attention and why. BONUS: I’ve included a link to each ad so you can watch them after.
Rania - Groundhog Day (Jeep)
The Jeep Gladiator commercial starring Bill Murray was hands-down one of the strongest commercials of the Superbowl this year. The creators so cleverly tied the movie “Groundhog Day” into the commercial; the twist being the addition of a bright orange Jeep. Murray takes the adorable groundhog- and viewers- on an amusing adventure with him every day, demonstrating the versatility of the Gladiator since no day is ever the same with the Jeep in tow. This commercial was a success in my book; it’s memorable, funny, and sold not just a product- but an experience and the emotions behind it (aka being excited to get out of bed every morning).
Extra Kudos for actually airing this commercial on Groundhog Day! Watch the ad here.
Daryl - Be The One / Katie Sowers (Microsoft)
My favorite commercial was the Microsoft one on Katie Sowers, the first woman coach in the NFL. This commercial wasn’t overly creative, but it left me feeling inspired, that anyone can do anything they set their mind to. Katie set it in her mind at a young age that she wanted to be involved in football and here she is being the first women coach EVER in the NFL.
As a father of a young daughter, it’s my aim in life to make sure she feels inspired to do anything she sets her mind to in this world. Age, sex, gender, race, it’s my belief that nothing can stop anyone from doing anything. It’s this mindset that we all need to inspire change in what seems like a world that tries to pull you down for believing in what you believe or saying what you want to say. Watch the ad here.
Julie - Typical Americans (Budweiser)
I happened to really like the Budweiser commercial. Budweiser is definitely seen as America’s beer in my eyes, so I liked their approach to showing “typical American” stereotypes, but showing videos that are positive, unifying, and contradict those stereotypes. It was a simple commercial that stuck with me afterwards. Watch the ad here.
Bernie - How We ‘Muss (Sabra)
Overall, I was pretty unimpressed with the creativity behind Sabra's Super Bowl ad. However, what really drew me in was their use of big-name influencers, particularly Charli D’Amelio and Brittany Tomlinson. Charli and Brittany have a combined following of over 24M on TikTok (the video app who's primary users range from 16-24 year-olds). The ad also featured social media influencers such as Zachary King, Amanda Cerny, and Doug the Pug.
The brand’s decision to tap into two of GenZ's biggest influencers says a lot about who they were trying to reach and why they did what they did. At first glance, I would have rated the ad a fail, but I think their use of influencers to target a younger generation was a great move. Watch the ad here.
Chris - Smaht Pahk (Hyundai)
I always appreciate a good impression of a Boston accent, so that immediately puts this commercial near the top of my list. Add in Jim Halpert (John Krasinksi) from The Office, a dog sighting and just an overall clever, memorable way to highlight a car feature, and you have a clear winner in my book. Watch the ad here.
Steph - Can’t Touch This (Cheetos)
Cheetos did a great job with this commercial for several reasons. 1. They used something they are already known for to introduce a new product (Cheeto dust). 2. They chose a popular song & artist that everyone (spanning generations) knows and loves. Not to mention it’s the perfect song to compliment the tone and concept of the commercial. 3. They used quirky and funny scenarios that everyone has probably experienced in their life to make it extremely relatable. Now I want some Cheetos… Watch the ad here.
Lauren - Yes, We’re Accepted (Discover)
When I first saw Discover’s “No” ad (for no fees) I laughed to myself and said, “too bad no one even accepts discover!” A few minutes later, they ran their “Yes” ad, which was a direct counter to my previous thought, with the message: Yes, actually 95% of retailers accept Discover.
While neither of the commercials were groundbreaking creativity-wise, the campaign as a whole is effective in laying out the groundwork to change public perception of the brand. By using the first commercial to establish its core value proposition of no fees and then following up with a commercial that directly responds to the brand’s most common criticism, Discover successfully made me wonder if the company may actually be competitive with the other credit cards. In my opinion, the fact that I gave Discover a second thought after years of writing the company off as inconvenient and out-of-touch makes it a successful campaign. Watch the ad here.
Steve - The Heist (Porsche)
I’ve always been a sucker for the distinctive style that defines Porsche, so to see the brand come back with their first Super Bowl commercial in over 20 years was great. This was a fast, fun commercial that reminds you of how Porsche became known as an icon on the racetrack and will continue to lead the conversation about luxury sports cars. Watch the ad here.
What were YOUR favorite ads this year? Do you think they lived up to expectations? Feel free to keep the conversation going by following Hudson on Twitter, or connecting with me on LinkedIn.