Monday, February 12, 2024

Monday Morning Quarterbacking the Ads from Super Bowl 58

What do you remember from Super Bowl Sunday? This year, the game went down to the final seconds in overtime yet, so for football fans, the game was a genuine contest. But for marketers and those who watch the game for the ads, there was not as much excitement.

There was no ad similar to Apple’s 1984 ad. There was no ad that was as memorable as Budweiser’s post-9/11 ad from 2002 with the kneeling Clydesdales. There were no animated Coca Cola polar bears, and there was no Tweet memorable enough to rival Oreo’s "dunking in the dark" from 2013. And one thing to note for this year's batch of ads: no brand mentioned the Covid-19 pandemic, which was a complete reversal from the ads during the 2021 game.

According to CBSNews, "This year's crop of Super Bowl ads featured dozens of top brands, from Anheuser-Busch's iconic Clydesdales to Uber Eats' spot featuring Jennifer Aniston and Victoria and David Beckham...This year's advertisers are not only spending $7 million to buy half a minute of airtime, but are also opening their wallets to secure stars like Jennifer Aniston and Snoop Dogg, as well as on glitzy productions. And many companies post their ads ahead of the Super Bowl, hoping to build buzz and capture attention."

According to Aimee Picchi, "Super Bowl ads command a premium because the game is typically the most-watched media event of the year. That gives brands a chance to reach more consumers at one time than anywhere else, and many companies use the opportunity to trot out new products or introduce a new slogan. There's another reason why brands are so willing to pay up: About 3 in 4 people say they are actually excited to watch the ads during the Super Bowl. Families and friends typically watch the game together, and often talk about the spots as well as the game itself — a discussion that can carry over at work the next day, experts say."

Jura Liaukonyte, marketing professor at Cornell University's SC Johnson College of Business explained further, "This shared experience can amplify the emotional resonance of advertisements, making them more memorable and effective. When viewers watch the Super Bowl, they are not just passive recipients of content — they are engaged in a communal event."

This quote from Landor Associates is timeless and worth repeating: "Here are three tips to help you, your dad, or even your football-crazed grandma decide which brands scored a touchdown with their commercials: Is the ad on-brand? Will you remember the brand tomorrow? And, does the ad speak to the times?”

Without further ado, here were the ads that stood out to me from this year’s group:

The theme of this ad was to support, encourage, and empower female athletes. The hashtag was #KeepHerConfident.

DUNKIN: This ad featured actor Ben Affleck, his friend Matt Damon, and his wife Jennifer Lopez. Since Affleck had appeared in previous ads for this brand, the appearance continued his brand storytelling and humor.

BEST FOODS MAYO: This ad featured a cat who became famous by saying MAY-O instead of meowing. For cat fans, this was a very amusing and memorable ad.

KIA: A young female ice skater wanted to skate in front of her father and someone else who was represented by an empty seat at a skating rink. It turned out that the girl's grandfather was in a wheelchair at home and unable to attend the performance at a rink. So the girl's father drove her to the grandfather's home and hooked up his EV9 vehicle to strands of lights to create a beautiful rink in front of the house. The girl and her father brought the skating performance to the grandfather, thanks to the EV9. This ad tugged at the heartstrings.

BUDWEISER: The brand's famous Clydesdale horses made a return appearance and also featured a dog, who helped guide the horses through the snow to make a beer delivery. While the horses and dog are wonderful brand ambassadors, this ad was not as memorable as previous ads.

Also, there seemed to be lots of movie ads, more than in previous years. However, I am looking forward to WICKED THE MUSICAL, the next Minions installment, the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and the next installment of Kung Fu Panda.

During the game, while sharing posts on Twitter/X, the following brands stood out with their posts: Pantone, National Park Service, Library of Congress, and Elmo. If you missed their posts, check them out.

A few timeless words from Jacques de Cock, a faculty member at the London School of Marketing: "The Super Bowl is a phenomenon unsurpassed in the world. It is one of the few national social events, which is also why social media traffic during the game is so high...What is also remarkable is that advertising is not viewed as something to skip but is seen by 77 percent of viewers as part of the entertainment, and therefore, more watched and engaged with than any other television advertising during the year."

A famous brand stood out in New York City and also on Twitter/X for those around the world:

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING: During the game, the building changed the color of its lights based on which team scored a touchdown, and at the end of the night, the top of the Empire State Building was lit up in red to celebrate the game's winner, the Kansas City Chiefs!

Today, the official countdown begins for Super Bowl 59, scheduled for February 9, 2025, at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, the 11th time that New Orleans has served as host city. Will we see an ad or two that will go down as the best of all time? We'll have to wait and see.

Image credit: Pantone.

To read any of my previous Super Bowl ad recap posts, search #DebbieLaskeysBlog using the term “super” to access all the links.

To watch all the ads from Super Bowl 58, here’s the link:

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