Feb 11, 2022
Without a doubt, the Super Bowl is responsible for some of the most exciting, jaw-dropping, impactful, and downright dazzling feats of advertising in marketing. Every year the industry looks to the creative feats that go into making amazing ads that are poignant, inspirational, or humorous - or a mix of all three, told through expert storytelling.Whether some of these big-budget promotions are worth the $6.5 million the most expensive Super Bowl ad can cost to air is out for debate. And when brands fail to score a promotional touchdown, the results can prove disastrous, as we’ll discover below.
As Super Bowl 2022 has just reached its exciting climax and the dust settles on the big event, let's explore more closely some of the more creative ads from this year and see what we can learn from them.
Some quick mentions for comedy and charm - General Motors’ Austin Powers reboot, the apparent return of Jim Carrey in Sprint's The Cable Guy 2, and Zendaya selling seashells in the SquareSpace segment. In a year that featured many crypto brands, we have to tip our hat to Coinbase's minimalist ad which featured a bouncing QR code containing a time-limited offer: the staggering response led to their app crashing and first class publicity.
This year, we’re definitely seeing ads that reflect peoples’ post-COVID behaviors and aspirations Booking.com’s Super Bowl Ad reflects a desire to travel again while some of the picks in our list hone in on the will to gather, reunite, and reminisce.
In our hyper-digital age, social media platforms are now a standard part of the Super Bowl advertising mix—paying for ads via their own platforms (or those of their competitors), like Twitter, to drive more engagement.
The Super Bowl has entered a new dimension: it’s no longer just about the TV ad, it’s about connecting with football fans across a multitude of touchpoints. And, the scope for subject matter has broadened too.
Are you ready to dive into the action? Okay, let’s go.
First up, we’re going to look at the best ads of the Super Bowl 2022. These four brilliantly crafted feats of advertising match the offbeat, crowd-luring brilliance of 2021’s five-second Reddit Super Bowl ad or the creative flair of Budweiser’s 2019 eco-friendly offering. Let’s check out these 2022 contenders.
Part buddies-reunited sequence, part creepy zombie-bride narrative, the popular potato chip brand Lay’s gives us one of this year’s show stoppers with a Super Bowl ad that is slick, funny, and slightly unnerving.
Hollywood legends Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen appear as buddies who share epic memories: each of which feature a golden bag of Lays chips, before a slightly spine-chilling zombie conclusion.
Here the brand positions itself as a memory maker (a product you have to hand through the best and worst times)—and this year, Lays has hit the nail (or indeed, chip) on the head.
Takeaway: By honing in on your core message to deliver to your audience, placing it at the heart of your campaign, and building a lighthearted narrative around it, you can deliver an advert that strikes a real chord with your intended audience while representing your brand’s tone.
This year’s UberEats (or should we say, ‘Uber not Eats’) Super Bowl commercial, we’re invited to laugh and cringe at this star-studded munch-a-thon.
To shine a light on the fact that Uber delivers more than just food alone, the brand has created an ad that features A-list celebrities chomping on household items, including a light bulb, a diaper, lipstick, and a scented candle (yes, one of those Gwyneth Paltrow ones).
Here, the premise revolves around people eating freshly delivered domestic items out of confusion because they think that UberEats only supplies food—and it works wonders. Oh, and the small print disclaimers such as “don’t eat lightbulbs” really add that extra touch of humor (it’s solid advice, too).
In case you’re wondering whether Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s Mom) actually ate a lipstick, here’s the star talking about the Super Bowl ad.
Takeaway: If you’re looking to expand your brand’s commercial scope or pivot your business in any way, using your ad to shine a light on your new service or USP in an eye-grabbingly creative way will spark engagement while really driving the message home. A little influencer marketing muscle doesn’t hurt either.
Move over Coors, take backseat Budweiser, because this year, Quaker Oats has moved into the epic beer-style ad space (yes, you read that correctly).
With all of the key ingredients of an classic emotive Super Bowl beer ad (panoramic shots of hop fields, perspiring brewers, and Shawshank Redemption-like music), Quaker has urged the general beer-swilling audience to “pre-grain before the big game.” An excellent play on words coupled with a bold concept that delivers on every level.
Takeaway: When it comes to ads, being bold often pays off, as long as you have a strong hook. Creating a strong tagline and emulating another industry’s ad tone) will turn heads and attract new audiences. For instance, if you’re an energy drinks brand, you could try adopting a tech-style approach to your ad. Be brave, be bold, and creative—just make sure you do your research first.
Featuring football star Jarod Mayo (a nifty move), Hellman’s literally tackles food waste in this humorous and fast-paced, yet enlightening ad.
To showcase the brand’s commitment to sustainability while positioning itself as the condiment to jazz up leftovers, Hellman’s lets Jerod Mayo literally take down food wasters while making recipe suggestions.
A thoughtful yet playful ad that inspires, informs, and raises a few chuckles (or some eyebrows) along the way—a pretty impressive thing to do in less than a minute.
Takeaway: If you offer your audience practical value in your ads, setting up a pressing problem while positioning yourself as the direct solution in the process, you will pack a big commercial punch. As long as you’ve got a strong narrative or an entertaining concept up your sleeve, the sky’s the limit. For inspiration on how to tackle the really big topics, check out our guide to approaching social issues on social media.
Some years produce a few red herrings: ads that are dull, directionless or completely miss the mark. But 2022 has been a solid year for Super Bowl ads—the general standard has been very good.
So, as promised, let’s show you some examples of how not to create a Super Bowl ad.
While the Planters' 2019 Super Bowl offering had all of the elements of a great ad - the Planters mascot driving a peanut-mobile like a mad man in the same neighborhood as Charlie Sheen and an adrenaline-pumping hair metal soundtrack (the advertising slogans were fairly witty too), it failed to hit the mark in terms of impact.
Yes, the ad was well put together but its messaging was a little convoluted and while it was mildly entertaining, Planters’ effort was drowned out by many other showy, celebrity- centric offerings on the night.
Takeaway: Having a solid soundtrack, an amusing hook, celebrity endorsement, and big-budget production is certainly helpful in creating a successful ad, if you don’t have a clear cut direction or message, your efforts are likely to fall flat.
Even though this 2019 advert stars the inimitable Steve Carrell and boasts a star-spangled mix of cameos, it feels like it should have been funnier and more exciting than it actually was.
The central strapline—‘more than okay’—had legs but as the ad failed to make the impact it promised, it failed as the campaign itself was just ‘okay’ and ‘so-so’. Moreover, by focusing on the fact that Pepsi ‘is more than okay’, the brand also ran the risk of making people feel that its direct competitor, Coca-Cola, is actually better—and that’s not great for brand growth.
Takeaway: If you’re in a situation where you have a strong direct competitor, researching their efforts and initiatives and investing your creative efforts in producing a campaign that not only shines your brand in an incredibly positive light but is completely unique is the only way to win on the commercial battlefield.
Now that we’ve seen some of the best and worst examples of Super Bowl advertising, we thought we would explore how much Super Bowl ads actually cost.
As mentioned, the average Super Bowl commercial costs around $6 million to air on the big night. TV network NBC is charging $6.5 million for 30-seconds of Super Bowl airtime—a record-breaking price tag. So, if your ad is one minute long, you can expect to pay a whopping $13 million—a gargantuan increase from the $37,500 it cost to air big game ads in 1967.
While there is no concrete data on how much Super Bowl ads cost to make, studies show that a national television advert typically costs between $63,000 and $8 million. Based on these figures, a one-minute big budget ad with a premium Super Bowl slot can cost up to $21 million. For that price, you had better get it right.
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