Who Won? Who Lost? Rating Super Bowl LVII Best and Worst Commercials
We can all agree that this year's Super Bowl was a great game (unless you were an Eagles fan.) Hopefully, you had a great party, tasty food, and you enjoyed seeing Rihanna somehow perform 100 feet in the air while pregnant. As an advertising agency, like so many of you, we love to watch the ads. There are always winners who got a bargain for the money they spent. Then there are the losers who would've been better off piling the money up and lighting it on fire like the Joker.
Top Three Winners From Super Bowl LVII
#1: Tubi - Interface Interruption Length of Ad: 15 seconds Estimated Placement Cost: $3.5 Million Tubi is by far the big winner of Super Bowl LVII. By our estimates, it was both the shortest ad and had the cheapest placement cost of any ads listed here. Every Super Bowl commercial is made with the intention of getting attention but this one stood out. Why? Unexpected surprise. It was so unexpected that you could hear millions of people yell "Who's messing with the remote?!" at the same time. Then the joke landed as the commercial ended and everyone realized what happened. This has us asking how we can get more unexpected surprise in the ads we run.
#2: Popcorners - Breaking Good Length of Ad: 60 seconds Estimated Placement Cost: $14 Million I have to admit that I'm a little biased here. Breaking Bad is one of my favorite shows of all time but as Chandler always says, "Nostalgia is a hell of a drug." Seeing these beloved actors back on screen together made my Super Bowl. The twist of this ad wasn't that we were seeing Walter and Jesse make meth but instead pop chips! Nostalgia hooked our attention, the familiar story kept us engaged, and the surprise twist of the cook made us remember. This nostalgia-triggered advertising reminds me of Trainual's ad a few years back. They had characters from The Office promote their product which is all about office training and systems. What nostalgic thing could your brand tap into to hook your audiences and stop the scroll?
# 3: Bud Light - Hold Length of Ad: 60 seconds Estimated Placement Cost: $14 Million This ad was as wholesome as it gets. No movie star had a bigger year than Miles Teller. Bud Light was smart to use his rising star power to hook our attention. This ad gave us Risky Business vibes and turned an annoying situation into a fun family memory. If you haven’t seen this ad yet, don’t get too excited. You won’t catch Miles Teller in his tighty whities but you will see a character dealing with a familiar situation. Bud Light brilliantly positions itself in this ad as a family member there to help you make life's little aggravations a little more fun. Does your current advertising position your product as the hero here to save the day or are the sidekick here to help? Everyone wants to be the hero. Help them be it. Now, let's talk about the losers.
Top Three Fumbles of Super Bowl LVII
#1: DigiDaigaku Length of Ad: 30 seconds Estimated Placement Cost: $7 Million To watch a company throw $7 Million down the drain is enough to hurt the feelings of any seasoned marketing professional. This ad was just lazy. My only explanation for this ad's existence is that DigiDaigaku made so much money in 2022 that they had to spend it here for the write-off. . . Otherwise, how do you explain running a recycled in-game spam ad on the world's biggest stage? This ad is a good reminder that generating awareness without emotion is always going to be a waste of money.
#2: Fan Duel - Kick of Destiny Length of Ad: 30 seconds Estimated Placement Cost: $7 Million (+$10M Payout) This ad had so much potential but just fell short. FanDuel did a great job building hype around the $10M Kick of Destiny leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. Any FanDuel better who put down $5 or more would win a share of the $10M if Gronk nails this kick. They presented this as something that would happen during the actual game, on the actual field. Instead, they live-streamed the kick during an ad break. I understand that the logistics of getting this kind of on-field stunt organized during the game would be a stretch. The problem is that they advertised it this way! Our takeaway from this ad is that it's great to build people's expectations up but you better make sure that you deliver on them. Otherwise, we're going to keep placing bets on Draft Kings.
#3: TurboTax - Dance Length of Ad: 45 seconds Estimated Placement Cost: $10.5 Million I liked TurboTax's 2023 slogan of "Don't Do Your Taxes." It's a great play on words that perfectly encapsulates our feelings every tax season. They rolled out a slew of ads to promote this slogan before the game and succeeded with that message. The problem with this ad wasn't the slogan but instead the delivery. This ad concept was stolen from one of my favorite ads of all time. Remember the old dancing man promoting Six Flags? I loved that ad when I was a kid! This poor imitation turned the nostalgia in me against TurboTax. There is nothing new under the sun. You still need to differentiate your ads. We shouldn't automatically think of your inspiration while watching your ad.
Your list may look different than ours and that's ok. We can still be friends! It is a ton of fun to speculate on whether these ads hit their mark or missed. Especially, since the average cost to run an ad during the Super Bowl has skyrocketed 18,567% since the first game in 1967. What do you think? Which ads stood out the most to you?