Team Take: Super Ads of the Super Bowl (By Joey)
One treat I look forward to every year is the ads that come with watching the Super Bowl. Sadly, I’m a cord-cutting millennial who could not watch the Super Bowl this year… Thanks, Fox. As a person, by trade, who works in both the advertising industry and the video production industry, this night is a great representation of new industry standards and techniques. Every year has its winners and losers. I’m looking at you Crypto.com. So, after doing my research and watching a 45-minute Super Bowl commercial compilation video on YouTube, I was ready to decide on this year’s winners.
Star power and nostalgia were at the forefront this year. From Will Farrell to Maya Rudolph, the stars were out most certainly during the big game. Two commercials really stood out to me in terms of both star power and nostalgia. The first was Pepsi’s Great Acting or Great Taste campaign. This was a series of two separate commercials that aired throughout the game, with a few teasers that were released leading up to Sunday.
Pepsi’s Great Acting or Great Taste is a campaign about, well, acting. Starring Ben Stiller and Steve Martin recreating their famous film personalities, the commercials are a spoof of modern Hollywood and the actors that adorn the screens. Filled with visual effects and cliches, the spots are a perfect blend of humor and brand awareness.
I had never heard of PopCorners before, but after watching their Super Bowl commercial I am interested in picking them up next time I’m in the store. PopCorners also leaned into star power and nostalgia with its brilliantly done Breaking Bad spot.
Reviving their characters from the TV show, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul once again enter the world of Breaking Bad. Even though the show has been off the air for nine years, it is still beloved enough to make its way into a Super Bowl commercial. As a fan of the original show, this spot had my attention and did its job of making me want to try the product it was promoting. Well done PopCorners, for playing on my constant need for nostalgia and pop culture.
Team Take: A Love Letter to Canada, Signed by the United States, in Dave Grohl’s Voice (By Nicole S.)
Who knew Canada had its fingers in so many of our favorite brands and activities? During the 57th Super Bowl, Crown Royal’s ad reminded us to give thanks for all that we love from The Great White North — from actors and food items to even some of America’s most beloved sports.
Why This Ad Worked
Picture this: You and your closest friends are sitting around the 70-inch 4k Samsung, shoveling homemade buffalo chicken dip down your throat while drinking your favorite malt beverage, and Dave Grohl tells you that the sport you’ve all gathered for that evening was actually invented North of the Border. Cue the “O Canada” theme song.
The ad starts by ripping “O Canada” on an electric guitar while Foo Fighters drummer, Dave Grohl, lists off some of the most iconic Canadian superstars. Not that they need it, but Seth Rogen, Celine Dion, and Michael Cera get their milliseconds of fame featured in this ad.
Grohl then goes on to list some of America’s favorite household tools and supplies. Do you have a fresh coat of paint on your freshly renovated guest bathroom? You have Canada to thank for the paint roller! Are you starting a new position at your company? You probably want to look your best! A freshly iron-pressed shirt is all thanks to Canada.
The next list Grohl starts to rattle off really surprised me! He starts listing off food items that actually, contrary to popular belief, were invented in Canada. You probably thought Hawaiian pizza started in Hawaii (as did I). WRONG! I guess the Canadian ham really takes a higher ranking than the pineapple. And Those instant mashed potatoes your college teen decided to bring to Thanksgiving as their “contributing dish”? Canada.
I think the honorable mention of the ad that really raised millions of eyebrows on the night of the Super Bowl, was that football was actually developed by our Northern neighbors. Not only does Grohl mention that Canada created football, he then follows up with “Look it up!” as if the millions of sports fans watching wouldn’t believe him.
The ad performed as it was predicted to! On Twitter, hundreds of triggered users shared screenshots of them Googling the question that just blew their minds. Many people were admitting that they couldn’t believe it, myself included! As soon as I heard this questionable statement, I took my texting fingers to Google to fact-check; lo and behold, Canada is the answer.
Not only did Crown Royal pay homage to Canada the night of the most watched “American” sporting event, but they proved that advertising works — because everyone is talking.
Team Take: 2023 Marketing Ads — A Millennial’s Wet Dream (By Nicole F.)
As we all know, Millennials are becoming the future Gen Xers. Boomers are dying out (morbid thought but imperative to mention) and Gen Xers are of the age or becoming of the age where they’re not as prevalent in society as they once were. We’re the generation becoming the new bosses, the workers in their late twenties, thirties, and early forties. We’re the consumers that are making big purchases, that have experienced the errors of generations past, and who are currently living through those errors.
However, we’re also the generation attempting to prevent a repeat of our parents’ mistakes — more so than any other generation before us. So that’s a lot of work we’re taking on: breaking generational habits and progressing society positively. Naturally, marketing strategies for companies need to keep up, but what’s one thing they can rely on? Millennials and our love for the ’90s and 2000s.
I think a majority of our society loves this era because we were able to have fun and experiment in ways that weren’t the norm for older generations. We had progressive fashion, fun toys, and technology, although the technology wasn’t as accessible and intricately woven into society as it is today. So how do companies successfully tap into that carefree feeling? Through pop culture, of course.
I’m convinced pop culture didn’t have as big of a footprint for previous generations that it has for us Millenials. Companies are taking that into consideration and are essentially praying on our weakness because..capitalism. Take, for example, the Rakuten ad from Super Bowl Sunday. What did it showcase? One of the most impressionable movies from the ’90s, Clueless.
Here’s why it was successful, in my opinion. They leaned on the characters, the scenes (when Cher chooses her outfits through that simulator? Iconic.), and the dilemma between saving money and wanting nice things. So, what better character(s) to feature than those in Clueless? It creates a desire to be back in our tweens, teens, and childhoods, where we didn’t have to face the struggles of inflation, corruption, or just an overall feeling of jadedness that we have today.
I think this type of marketing has never been as obvious as it is now. Or maybe I’ve never been this analytical until I started working at a marketing agency. Although what you won’t catch me saying anytime soon is, “Back in the good old days,” because our generation won’t strive to be back in the past. Instead, we’ll celebrate it for what it was and enjoy it while we can, but what we’re working towards is a future that’s “too school for cool” — thanks Pink — for the younger generations to come.
So kudos to you Rakuten, or Rakuten’s marketing team. You’ve got me pinned, I downloaded your app. Now, where’s my fashion simulator?
Team Take: This Year’s Winner Of The Super-est Super Spot® Is… (By Kenny)
The Super Bow–…eh, I mean The BIG Game arrives each February, and part of the grand tradition that is Super Bo-(sigh…goddammit) NFL Championship Weekend is the festive gathering of friends, foes, families, and fans each year. It doesn’t matter if your team is in it (although it sure does crank the experience up to 11 if they are) or even if you have a team, really. What matters is the good time with great company. Regardless of what teams are playing or which one ultimately gets to hoist the Lombardi trophy at the end of the contest, the real winners are the fans… brand fans.
The other game that is going on during the S**** B*** is the game for advertising bragging rights. Each year, corporate sponsors roll the dice and gamble BIG money on advertising and marketing during the broadcast. In an age where commercials are usually skipped as soon as the option becomes available or virtually omitted altogether with subscriptions or software, the annual tradition of group consumption and judgment of the way brands choose to advertise has continued on. This is the only time of year that viewers actually look forward to advertisements interrupting the main event and the stakes are never higher for advertisers than they are during that super special Sunday each February.
The expectations are always high, and both the production and talent shoot for the stars, boosted by budgets that stretch even the most liberal accounting departments’ purse strings. Co-workers are just as (if not more) likely to discuss which commercial was the most memorable as they are about what they thought of the halftime performance or the outcome of the game. It’s a phenomenon that has been as big a part of the Super experience as the actual game itself.
So which Super Spot® was the winner this year? For me, it was a spot that came on during the 4th quarter, that directly followed a dramatic game-tying touchdown with only a few minutes remaining in the game. High drama and world-class athleticism were on full display and the crowd whipped into an uncontrollable frenzy. What could be done to calm the coming storm of the finale? It would need to have that special combination of quality production, a surprise cameo, and a roller coaster of emotions to take me away from the drama of the game itself.
This is the classic recipe for a great Super Spot®. This is the way.
The “Buschhhhhhhhhhhhh” can pop and mountain man character aren’t new concepts for A-B InBev’s 5th most popular beer in its stable, but they certainly let their ad team take it to the next level with this entry. Kicking off a campaign based on The Busch Guide, they chose Canadian legend Sarah Mclaughlin as their comedic twist — using her 1997 hit “Angel” to misinterpret the Busch Guy’s declaration about food, drink, and “shelter” (queue the music), and encourage us (once again) to send “just dollars a day” to pluck our heartstrings and coax us into helping our local animal shelters.
It was a fun spot on a night full of good efforts, and this year’s winner of the Super-est of Super Spots® award from yours truly. I think I’ll go see if I can help get Buschhhhhhhhhhhhh Lite past their sibling “Natty” Light in the A-B InBev hierarchy. Can’t wait to watch the commercials next February. Actually, I’m pretty sure I can.
Team Take: The Super Bowl Sprints to the Past with a Heaping Spoonful of Nostalgia (By Ryan)
Alright, the Super Bowl concluded last night and I no longer have to listen to very loud and overconfident Eagles fans boast about their team for another year (although I do have to hear them complain about officiating). I was at a neighbor’s house for the first half taking notes on, well… Apple’s Notes app until I decided I needed someplace warmer and someplace quieter to finish my scrutinization of advertising’s big night. So without further ado, the ad that I will be unpacking in this particular blog will be none other than the debut trailer for “The Flash” (Sorry Avocados From Mexico. You were a close second, and you always do such a terrific job.).
Michael. Fucking. Keaton. Need I say more? I don’t, but I will. That’s right, this movie is called “The Flash,” and the thing that grabbed me the most was Michael Keaton (looking spry in his old age with some movie magic) reprising his role as Batman. For those of you that don’t know, Batman is the first movie that I ever saw in a movie theater in 1989. I had to be accompanied by my older cousin because it was PG-13 (I felt very cool). Another fun fact, The Flash is my favorite superhero. This movie already has a lot going for it.
On the downside, when I initially watched Ezra Miller as The Flash in a previous movie, I thought his running mechanics looked very robotic for a hero whose powers rely on speed — and running plays a big part in that. Can we get the kid a running coach or something? One thing that I did think he nailed flawlessly was Barry’s wisecracking nature that I enjoyed during the Justice League animated series. This iteration seems to focus on Barry’s ability to travel through time (cosmic treadmill requirement?), so there will be at least two Barry Allens. I think I also saw Grant Gustin from The Flash TV series on the CW make an appearance in the IMDB credits, and I hope that’s true because he was amazing in that show and I was a huge advocate for him making a leap to the silver screen in that role. Similarly, my hero Bruce Wayne will have several actors playing him throughout the DC multiverse since the trailer showed at least Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck (Batfleck) will be present, and there’s speculation that Christian Bale may also be in this one as well.
Michael Keaton’s voiceover at the beginning of the trailer poses a question to Barry asking why he chooses to be in this timeline if he can be in any timeline. He replies that it’s the one where his mom is still alive, but Barry remarks that time has a pattern, which may imply that it’s only a matter of time before she dies in this timeline too. Ben Affleck’s Batman warns The Flash about the dangers of changing the past, and it sounds like that’s good advice because Barry soon laments that he “broke the universe.” We then see a familiar foe in General Zod. After the 2 versions of Barry get an introduction to the OG Batman in the Batcave and we see him do a swan dive, we get to see a familiar motorcycle amidst some traffic before seeing a really cool sequence where each Flash goes back-to-back with some stellar lightning effects, creating a maelstrom with their fist, and then we see… laser vision?!
That’s right, no Cal El in this one. No Clark Kent. No Superman. We do, however, get introduced to Kara (Zor-El), AKA Supergirl. We see her emerge from an icy prison, flying around, easily taking out guards with her fists in what looks like a hospital gown. Later we see her flying next to a plane that Barry and Barry are in, and she is in a suit similar to Superman’s as Barry is recording her with a smartphone (for posterity). The trailer ends as she flies away, leaving a sonic boom in her wake.
But who could the villain be? In the CW show, they addressed this early on. What will James Gunn and the DC crew decide to do with this blank canvas that many have said could serve as a way to start fresh with the DC Universe on the big screen? And what will I do? I’ll tell you what I’ll do… I’ll buy 3 IMAX tickets on opening night and watch the hell out of this movie! That’s what I’ll do!