Super Bowl commercials always come under immense scrutiny, and now the ad industry’s creative leaders have weighed in.
This wasn’t just the year that Taylor Swift’s appearance eclipsed the game. During the ad breaks, Beyonce tried to break the internet (again); Ben Affleck debuted his band the DunKings; Michael Cera pranked people into believing he was a skin care visionary; Arnold Schwarzenegger made fun of his own accent; and Patrick Stewart threw a (cartoon) child.
Comedy was king and even the celebrities (of which there were plenty) didn’t take themselves too seriously. And as advertisers like CeraVe and Verizon demonstrated, the entertainment now extends far beyond the Big Game.
ADWEEK asked creative leaders to share their takes on this year’s ads. While some thought the commercials were too formulaic, others applauded examples of creative risk-taking on advertising’s biggest stage.
The Super Bowl ads that worked
“How did they get that past legal? When celebs are used right, an ad plays like its own mini masterclass.”
-Samira Ansari, CCO, Ogilvy New York
“l loved the Paramount+ ad and thought the cutdown still had a ton of charm. ‘Barrymore, shut your face!’ was the line I didn’t know I needed in my life, but so glad to see air on national TV. It was pure entertainment, and for an entertainment company that I don’t really hear or think too much about, it leveled up my opinion of them.”
-Jamie Robinson, co-founder & CCO, Joan
“I’m trying to picture the conversation behind Paramount’s spot, and it makes me giggle to think of the creative team having to approach all the different IP stakeholders for those iconic characters. To sell in a line like ‘throw the child’ with a straight face, that’s a magic trick.”
–Sam Shepherd, ECD, Uncommon New York
“Show me Beyonce trying to break the internet with a lemonade stand, BeyoncAI, BarBey and a performance in space, and we’re just about done here. The storytelling was incredible, made uniquely possible by the one woman on the planet who truly could break the internet, and it made the brand and product message loud and clear as a consistent throughline. It was an epic blast off for her new album.”
-Liza Suloti, co-founder & CCO, Shadow