Each year we write a short post about our favorite big game ads. I try to only go with ads that caught my attention so of course this is completely an opinionated post. And I'll say, these ads this year did not disappoint. One commercial in particular will rank as one of my all time favorite Super Bowl ads. I'm not sure how my family feels about me hushing them during commercial breaks, but even they were entertained by these 5 commercials. You can also gauge the success of a Super Bowl ad with a quick Google or social media search to see how news outlets are reporting or how the mass majority of people are responding to the ads. Take a look at our breakdown of why we believed each ad worked.
5. Michelob Ultra - Superior Bowling Ads
Typically, I'm not a big fan of celebrity (or in this case celebrity-athletes) driven ads. I think brands often lean too hard on the celebrities and don't put enough credit into the story or into the messaging. With Michelob Ultra's Superior Bowling ads, the messaging was a little off, but the story-telling with one of the best acting-athletes (Peyton Manning) made up for it. This ad felt more like a cameo-filled ad for a neat bowling alley rather than Michelob Ultra and I am all for it!
What worked for this ad? This ad's success came with the music choice and minimal speaking roles. The lack of dialogue actually made this ad stand out even more. Of course Peyton Manning is a great focal point for any Super Bowl ad, but bringing in the other athletes like Jimmy Butler, Brooks Koepka, Nneka Ogwumike, and more allowed for some fun moments. Finally, I'm always a sucker for a teaser at the end of spot. Seeing each athlete slowly look up as a new individual walks in and for that individual to be revealed as Serena Williams puts the icing on the cake.
4. Pringles - Stuck
Relatable ads always seem to work out well during the big game. And what is more relatable then getting your hands stuck in a Pringles container? But what makes this spot better? The silliness of all the scenes in which the main character moves through while still having his hands stuck in the Pringles container. It may have been over the top, but the point resonated. By the end of the commercial you realize, yes getting a stack of Pringles is worth getting your hand stuck in the container.
What can businesses learn from this ad and apply to their own marketing? You can take a simple relatable concept and add some storytelling to it to make your marketing standout. Some of the most popular TV shows and movies start with one small arc and then add in the rest turning them into the enjoyable stories. You can do this with your marketing as well.
3. E*Trade - E*TRADE Baby “Off The Grid"
Babies and puppies are always a great way to win over viewers. E*Trade has a history with using babies to sell their product. I think the parallel for using babies include "it's so easy, a baby can do it." But this particular ad really felt like a sequel to previous Super Bowl ads by E*Trade.
What I liked about the ad included the production value. It felt like a movie starring a baby. The purpose of the ad was definitely to entertain. A learning experience here is to not be afraid to entertain with your marketing. The goal is to get viewers to remember your brand so that when they are ready to buy a product or service you offer, they turn to you. Entertaining works as long as you leave the viewer knowing what you do, and what your brand is.
2. McDonalds - Can I get Uhhhhh
Most of my household missed this pre-game ad, but it caught my attention with it's truth and stayed in my head the rest of the game as one of my favorite ads. I think the truth to this ad is very relatable. How often do you go through McDonald's drive through and have that "uhhh" moment? For me, its almost every time. I think the relatability is what made this ad so memorable and such a success. But when you do a short search for this ad, you also learn that there were a few famous cameos (Ryan Reynolds?) which makes this ad even more deserving of a top 3 spot on our list. From a production standpoint, the transitions, the flow, and the pacing were perfect for this ad.
What can other companies take away from this ad? As businesses, we often think we need to jampack our ads with every offer and service, but in reality, a memorable and relatable ad that flows quickly with impact will work out better. Our key takeaway is to understand your audience and keep ads simple and relatable.
1. Coinbase - Super Bowl Ad
The QR code has returned. And it's a no brainer that Coinbase's ad was the real winner of Super Bowl 56 (sorry Rams). When this ad aired, I immediately whipped out my phone to scan the QR code, even before the ad was remotely close to being over. I turned and told my wife that this ad was going to be the most talked about ad from this Super Bowl. My father-in-law pointed out how the ad reminded him of The Office and how the box was finally going to fit perfectly in the corner. And sure enough, I learned that some households even cheered when the box hit that corner and the Coinbase logo popped up. This ad wasn't just a success for engaging people in the moment. Coinbase had so many users that the app crashed. Conversations on platforms like LinkedIn (where I would believe a lot of Coinbase's target customers hang out online) were about this Coinbase ad.
This ad was a bold move by Coinbase. To spend the kind of money you have to spend for a national spot in the Super Bowl and then have almost 28 seconds worth of a QR code just floating on screen was a big risk. But that risk paid off. Key takeaways for businesses include being bold with your marketing by taking a chance to standout. Because if you do standout, you may just crash your app. Which in this case is a good thing.
The Super Bowl is not just a football game. It's an event. It offers some of the biggest brands to speak to a mass audience unlike any other event. But for businesses who may not be able to afford a Super Bowl ad, watching, taking notes, and learning from the ads can help you produce better attention-grabbing marketing material for your own brand.