Earlier this week, I published my annual "ADdicted: Super Bowl Edition", where I showcase my most and least favourite Super Bowl ads and try to explain the reason for my picks.
But there's a big caveat to that list: it only contains ads that aired BEFORE the big game, because as a Canadian, I don't get to see most of "the good ads" during the game itself.
(That's such a huge loss for Canadians, which I wrote about a few years ago here.)
But now, five days after the Big Game, I've had a chance to watch the full slate of Super Bowl commercials from this year's game, and as an addendum to my original post, the following are the top ads I missed that deserve some praise and recognition.
Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage - Dream House with Anna Kendrick and Barbie
I saw the teaser for this ad that was posted prior to Super Bowl Sunday, and to be frank, I wasn't impressed. It was good for a laugh, but it didn't have any substance.
But the teaser was misleading... because the full ad has everything you could want from a Super Bowl spot, and became one of my favourites from this year as soon as I saw it!
Humour? Check, courtesy of the wonderful Anna Kendrick!
Childhood nostalgia? Check and check, thanks not only to Anna's co-star (Barbie) but also to guest appearances by He-Man and Skeletor!
Humour? You were reading those last two sentences when I told you Anna Kendrick, Barbie, He-Man, and Skeletor were in an ad together, right? Check!!
The spot even has an Easter Egg: did you notice one of the children in the ad is wearing a T-shirt with a QR code on it, under which you can read "StockX"? Well, StockX is a resell platform whose mission "is to provide access to the world’s most coveted items in the smartest way possible." What does StockX have to do with Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage? Not much... except all three companies were founded by the same person (Dan Gilbert). If you scanned the QR code in the ad, you were taken to a StockX landing page that allowed you to bid on exclusive prizes. Three companies in one ad? Now that's stretching your Super Bowl media spend!
The ad is funny. It's memorable. But most importantly, it very clearly outlines the benefits of using both Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage to find and secure your "dream home". What more could you ask for from a Super Bowl spot?
Hyundai IONIQ 5 - History of Evolution
Humans have evolved significantly over time... and the evolution of our journey as it relates to our transportation is a Hyundai IONIQ5.
That's a clear message delivered clearly, and while my appreciation of all-things-Jason-Bateman might be biasing my opinion here, I thought this was a cute and clever ad.
Greenlight - I'll Take It
The actor's name is Ty Burrell, but he'll always be Phil Dunphy to me. Fortunately for everyone, that hilarious persona works really well for this spot. This is yet another example of using celebrity and humour to effectively drive home your big message, which in this case, is that Greenlight can help you "learn to earn, save, and invest together."
Although, honestly, who wouldn't say yes to a flying unicorn if given the chance to buy one?
FTX - Don't Miss Out
Cryptocurrencies are relatively new, and despite the hype, a lot of people are hesitant to think of crypto as a legitimate investment opportunity.
FTX, which claims to be "the World's Leading Assets Platform" (a fact that they admittedly could have made more clear at the end of their commercial), sets out to illustrate why your skepticism of a new idea may prove unwise... in an absurdly hilarious way that perhaps only Larry David could have pulled off.
This spot is a great example of how brands should properly leverage celebrities and humour: to drive home the central idea, instead of distracting from it.
The video above is the "extended cut" of the spot: running that 2:33 version during the game would have cost FTX about $30 million! But the sixty-second version that aired included a bonus: a call-to-action (as below) that allows some form of measurability.
Cutwater Spirits - Here's To The Lazy Ones
Tenderizing meat with a massager? Clearing a snowy driveway with a flame thrower? Using your treadmill to walk your dog? Those ideas aren't "lazy"... they're genius!
"Work smarter, not harder" is how I try to live my life whenever possible, so I'm obviously going to love a spot filled with humorous examples of doing just that. Even more so when the dialogue so intentionally evokes thoughts of "The Crazy Ones", widely considered to be one of the greatest commercials of all time and one of my personal favourites.
Cutwater Spirits did a great job of placing its cans throughout the spot and having those cans pop by making them the only colour to be found in what was otherwise a black-and-white commercial. Their positioning -- "Cutwater - Bar-Quality Cocktails in a Can" -- works really nicely with the creative idea.
Sadly, I suspect that if I were to ask you next week what "that lazy ad" was advertising, you wouldn't be able to tell me it was a commercial for Cutwater Spirits. And if that's true, then despite how much I enjoyed this ad... it won't have been an effective one.
Now for the Ads I didn't really like (but everybody else seemed to), in alphabetical order:
I'm a big fan of Idris Elba, and I really wanted to like this ad... but I didn't. The "we're crappy at naming things but great at booking travel" creative idea had a lot of potential, but the spot tried way too hard to be a witty "Super Bowl ad", and packing as many Dad-jokes as you can into sixty seconds is not the way to create a memorable spot. That "Booking.yeah tagline at the end was completely unnecessary, too; it's a punchline without a set-up, and it's distracting as *bleep*. Almost as distracting as randomly inserting a bleeped profanity when a different word would have been just as effective.
Coinbase - Bouncing QR Code
You can read all about my thoughts on that one here.
Admittedly, it was good for a cheap laugh and a hit of nostalgia for those who fondly remember the original e*Trade baby spot from 2008. But I suspect there would have been more powerful, memorable ways to communicate "welcome to a new chapter in investing". And I suspect most people missed the "now from Morgan Stanley" part completely, which I think is a definite miss for Morgan Stanley.
I enjoyed The Sopranos and liked Jamie-Lynn Sigler's character in the show just fine. I even think the new GM Silverado is a great-looking vehicle, and commend the car company for pushing its electric agenda forward. But I just didn't get this ad. What does The Sopranos have to do with electric vehicles, exactly? The "new generation" tie-in might have worked well if a revival of the series (a la Dexter: New Blood) focusing on Sigler's character had been previously announced... but I haven't heard about anything like that in the works, and in the absence of such news, this tie-in doesn't make any sense to me.
And... those are my final thoughts on this year's Super Bowl ads!
By the way, if you want to see all of the Super Bowl ads for yourself, AdAge did a terrific job of assembling them all in one place for your viewing pleasure.