This year’s Super Bowl wasn’t any different. There was a dramatic match between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams; an entertaining halftime show for everyone alive during the 90’s with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and more. Plus, all the million-dollar commercials to keep us entertained during slower moments.
The commercials might be a fleeting moment for viewers, but this is a massive opportunity to raise awareness of their products for companies. These 30-second advertisements come with a substantial price tag. Over the years, the price of Super Bowl commercials has risen to an average of 6.5 million.1 Although we enjoy watching these commercials, is this the best use of marketing budget?
The commercials are always iconic and often become legendary (people even watch them way after the Super Bowl), but recent social media meme culture has made these commercials even more of a social phenomenom.
While there is a game going on on the field, there is also a competition happening between brands all fighting to become headline-worthy. Each Super Bowl commercial is unique in its own way. But at GesitM, we had to judge them based on their content, effectiveness, and of course, if the money spent was worth it. Here’s what we thought.
Lay’s ” Golden Memories”
For its first ad in 17 years, it was definitely memorable for a potato chip brand. The commercial revolves around Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan reliving memories of their time spent together and how Lay’s Potato chips were always there for them. They go on an adventure that includes a road trip, plane crash, being abducted by a stalker, stumbled into a turf war, and own a house that has been haunted by a ghost, the one constant being these delicious potato chips that come in numerous flavors.
The natural humor and chemistry of these two Hollywood stars shines through in the ad and it really makes you crack a smile, think of your friends, and an open a bag of potato chips. This advertisement was the perfect one for brands that have been somewhat forgotten – so it was definitely money well spent.
Amazon Alexa “Mind Reader”
Scarlet Johanson flexes her comedic muscles in a lighthearted black mirror-esque advertisement. A world in which your inner thoughts are exposed and hilarity ensues as Alexa exposes all the little faux pas you experience on a daily basis. You have to admire how Amazon took the idea of obsession over data and technologies overreach into our lives to put a sweet little twist on it. The harsh reality of Alexia possibly being a “Mind Reader” while reminding Colin Jost to “fake his own death” during Johanson’s play reminds us that not all our white lies should be laid bare.
Cryptocurrency has been a hot topic recently and when this exchange platform for buying and selling crypto came up, our expectations were high. This ad reminded us of an old DVD player that had basic colors bouncing across your screen while you waited for it to insert perfectly into the corner, but it never quite did. Although this triggered nostalgia and mystery – most people did not know what they were getting and it was also a BIG letdown for its price. The code would lead them to a site offering $15 million in free bitcoin if they set up an account. With an offer like it was obvious viewers would click on it but it wasn’t too long before the website crashed and traffic was halted because of the huge demand. Although this was a genius marketing move it made us question if the money would have been better spent on improving the site.
Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda
This dystopian land of flavors with a tyrannical mayor and minions throughout a different dimension is just alright, confusing. With Guy Fieri as the mayor and his minions all wearing the same hairdo, it doesn’t do too good a job at promoting this Seltzer Hard Soda. We know that the Seltzer sales have been declining over the years 6 and thought that this week’s early release would put on a good show, but were sadly disappointed. They are screaming for flavor, but are they screaming too much? With references like Times Square and the iconic VJ-day photograph, there is just too much going on with too little entertainment.
“Welcome to the Irish Spring”
We were surprised that this ad made it past the second draft. For a brand that hasn’t been heard of in years, we were curious as to why they would spend millions of dollars for something so forgetful. The story of a man going down a river to a mystical land where “stinkiness is unwelcome” hints at Irish stereotypes such as poor accents and vaguely Irish flute music but only adds to the confusion. The ad continues onto a somewhat cleansing ritual with Irish Spring Deodorant being abnormally large in the center while people dance around it – a trope we were happy to have not seen in a while.
After looking at all of the Super Bowl ads, we can say some were great and brands got their money’s worth, but most were a letdown. Ultimately, the star power drove the commercials across the goal line.
For brands looking for more traditional advertising, then slotting a commercial during the Super Bowl might be the highlight of the year. But for most brands, this money could have been better spent on a more modern approach. At GeistM, the #1 MarTech company, we can help you get the most of your campaigns through by telling your brands story through data-driven content marketing campaigns.