Super Bowl ads are like the Super Bowl of marketing. They appear once a year, there is a lot of momentum building up to the grand event, and in the end – there are both winners and losers. In the marketing world, it is truly a fun and fantastic moment to behold when some of the biggest brands and budgets compete for the attention and hearts of consumers. This year’s Super Bowl LVI had over 112 million viewers, up from last year’s 96 million. In the end, there is a lot at stake to make sure each commercial is an absolute touchdown.
An informal discussion around the Wendt office found that some staff felt that the ads this year seemed a bit lackluster compared to previous years. It was suggested that, in fact, what really stole the show wasn’t the ads themselves, but the halftime acts. Our morning meetings prior to the Super Bowl kick-off found us laughing over memes about how Millennial and Gen X parents were going to have to explain to their children why they were “getting lit and dropping it like it’s hot” in their living rooms during the show. Generational humor aside, there were some fascinating takeaways from this year’s ads to note.
CELEBRITIES GIVE ADS A BOOST
It was noticed that this year’s ads saw an increase in celebrity faces in promotions. Amazon’s “Mind Reader” featuring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost and Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage’s “Dream House” featuring Anna Kendrick brought humor and celebrity affability to these brands.
NOSTALGIA AND BABIES STILL SELL
E*Trade resurrected their E*Trade baby commercial with their adorable “Baby Off the Grid” piece. Our Senior Account Manager, Kattie Meyer, particularly appreciated this commercial for E*Trade’s ability to review what they had created in the past, but then renewed it into something fresh — and she’s right, it still works.
STUDIOS DEVELOP NEW TECHNOLOGIES, AND APPLICATIONS ARE LIMITLESS
Anyone who’s watched an episode of “The Book Boba Fett” on Disney + is well aware of the mind-blowing Luke Skywalker deepfake created by YouTuber, Shamook. (He apparently has a job now as a Senior Facial Capture Artist with Lucasfilm.) Not a deepfake, but still new and exciting technology, Sway Studios used new CGI animation technologies and puppeteering to create their energy filled “Bring Down the House” commercial.
LESS IS MORE AND THAT BOUNCING QR CODE
Finally, and possibly the most intriguing Super Bowl LVI commercial this year was Coinbase’s bouncing QR code commercial. Literally, that was it — a bouncing QR code in changing colors. Brilliant? Yes, we think so! Our Creative Director, Kara Smith, was particularly impressed that this commercial showed little to no production at all. In fact, the ad was so successful that Coinbase’s app crashed.
Whether your team was the Los Angeles Rams, or the Cincinnati Bengals and you spent Super Bowl afternoon elated or disappointed, this year’s ads, be they winners or losers, showed us that nostalgia, humor, and celebrities continue to resonate with audiences. And they teach us how new technology and simplicity can produce remarkable results. Overall, even if most Super Bowl LVI ads may have generally underwhelmed us, there were some impressive highlights that make us excited to be creative marketers.