Super Bowl Ads Recap: the Good, the Bad, and the Memorable 

The Super Bowl. 

Arguably the only day of the year we gladly gather to watch advertising, rather than actively trying to avoid it. With weeks of anticipation, we find ourselves looking forward to the ads. You get more “shhh’s” during the breaks than the actual game. Hundreds of millions of eager eyes are glued to the screen for the same reason: to feel something. A fourth-quarter-come-from-behind-win from-a-team-that-hasn’t-won-in-50-years kind of feeling. I’d say the game outshone the commercials but there were definitely some standouts that will be remembered for a long time. And isn’t that the point? To be remembered? 

There were the typical brand manifestos—kinda boring. 

Brands standing up for causes—some hits and misses. 

Celebrities galore—some smartly used, and some not so much. 

And what about all those movie trailers?

Plus, in the Chicago market, we saw three different healthcare system commercials—a sign of a new trend, perhaps?

They say the general rule for creating a great Super Bowl ad (or any ad, really) is to “keep it simple, stupid.” This year, like in the past, many took “stupid” a little too literally. (I’m not naming names, but you know who I’m talking about).

Shout-outs to Google, Rocket Mortgage, Hyundai and Alexa—those spots were awesome. But in my humble opinion, Groundhog Day by Jeep was the standout. It was smart, timely, perfectly executed, and the product was central to the idea. Plus, it pretty much had the trifecta when it comes to a perfect Super Bowl ad: 

  • Celebrity—Bill Murray… what a get!
  • Animal—a groundhog, on Groundhog Day! 
  • Baby—no baby, but a baby Bjorn! So it counts.

Overall, a total home run during the Super Bowl–sorry, wrong sports analogy.

Kudos to all the advertisers that surprised us, made us laugh, made us cry, and inspired us. You did it. You connected with us and made us feel something. And that’s why we will ultimately remember those spots. Because that is the point. 

—Jim Larmon