Each year millions of people around the world are glued to their TVs to watch the Super Bowl. Often, many of them aren’t tuning in for the football, but for the ads. Companies not only spend millions of dollars on the media buy when it comes to the Super Bowl, but fork out even more on filming, talent and editing the commercials to make them Hollywood blockbusters in their own right.
With the dawn of another Super Bowl upon us, here are my six favourite Super Bowl LVI ads, with number one as my top pick.
When looking for the best commercials I took a few things into consideration. Most importantly was if the ad was memorable; you want consumers to remember both your ad and company or product. Going hand-in-hand with this idea is if people are going to talk about it later? Maybe the commercial was a cinematic masterpiece, maybe it was a taboo subject, or maybe it was just plain ridiculous. If people are talking about it, that is ultimately global publicity.
Does the ad provoke an emotion? Emotion is one of the most efficient persuasion techniques in advertising. And finally, when contemplating the effectiveness of an ad, we need to ask: did it do a good job of selling? Amid the celebrities and extravagant plots, it is easy to lose sight of the goal, which is to promote the company and its products or services.
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Simplicity is crucial. The more simple the ad is, while still accomplishing its goal, the better.
The six best ads of the Super Bowl
Featuring two comedy legions, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, the Lays commercial sets the bar high to entertain — and doesn’t disappoint. Incorporating many life moments that we have all shared with friends, and some more left-of-centre ones, the ad keeps the audience engaged while placing Lays front and centre. The abrupt cheesy ending could possibly have been edited out, but it provides a nice behind-the-scenes feel to the ad, perfectly tying back to the light-hearted “Stay Golden” slogan at the end of the ad.
5. Planet Fitness
The Planet fitness commercial has many celebrities sprinkled throughout, including Star Trek’s William Shatner, former basketball player Dennis Rodman, Jeopardy’s Buzzy Cohen, and actor Danny Trejo. But the star that steals the show, no pun intended, is early 2000s teen icon and actress Lindsay Lohan. The ad pokes fun at Lohan’s delinquent past by making references to her late night partying and DUI’s, all the while referencing the benefits that come with joining a gym.
I love this ad. It stands out because it’s simple and clearly states the benefits of Planet Fitness’ services. It is memorable, and many people will be talking about it later due to Lohan’s presence and the reference to her string of events that made international headlines (all for the wrong reasons).
This just goes to show that you don’t always need a spokesman with a squeaky clean record, sometimes the opposite can get you even more publicity.
4. Sam’s Club
The Sam’s Club ad stars comedian and actor Kevin Hart. With all of the roles Hart has had over the past few years, this commercial doesn’t fail to disappoint. He is a great and relevant choice for the creative. When Hart runs around the store announcing all of the VIP benefits, it makes all of the benefits of Sam’s Club VIP abundantly clear — something that all TV ads strive for. Overall it’s very funny, entertaining and conveys the message easily.
The Vroom ad shows great commercials do not require a plethora of celebrities. The commercial is clever because it gets the information across but does so in an enjoyable way.
The ad speaks to customer’s concerns when selling a car and reassures them that they will not be let down. It also emphasises the emotions of excitement and disappointment in an exaggerated way to get the point of how easy and reliable Vroom is. They do this through singing and choreography. This is a great choice given the number of musicals that has been released in the past year as recorded productions or movies, including In the Heights, West Side Story, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, Cinderella and Come from Away.
Salesforce has splashed out this year for its Super Bowl ad with A-list actor Matthew McConaughey. This commercial focuses on trending topics, including space exploration, concerns about the environment, and advancing technologies like virtual realities. A great strategy to get people talking about your ads is by ‘newsjacking’ or including popular current events to boost publicity. This ad, in contrast with the other ads on the list, is not specifically meant to make you laugh. It’s motivational and inspiring, but equally memorable.
My only critique? It helps get the Salesforce name out there, but does not help tell what the company is or does.
Amazon recruited A-list actress Scarlett Johansson and her new husband Colin Jost to be a part of the commercial. This was a perfect choice considering Scarlett starred in the 2021 movie Black Widow and was in the news due to subsequent contract disputes between her and Disney. The ad itself is funny and simple, which are two great qualities. It keeps with the recurring joke making it easy to understand. The commercial also subtly but effectively shows features of the Alexa products, including activating appliances, turning on the lights, setting reminders, playing music, and making announcements.
Commercials are normally something that people are forced to watch and want to skip over, but watching Super Bowl ads has become a sport itself. These TV advertisements have become as iconic as the game itself and as entertaining as the halftime show. People are always excited to see what the big companies create which often lead to trends that carry through for the rest of the year and beyond.