Some call it a national pastime, others call it the sporting event of the year, but in the marketing industry, it might as well be our Christmas. That’s right, we’re referring to the Super Bowl.  A day filled with classic American traditions, from a never-ending buffet of dips and apps, to the football rivalries, and most importantly (in marketers’ opinion): the advertisements. Whether you were rooting for the San Francisco 49’ers, two time champs Kansas City Chiefs, or simply hoping both teams have fun and you get a glimpse of Taylor Swift in the stands, the Super Bowl brings together sports fans, creatives and the music industry in a night of traditions. 

Keeping with our annual tradition, Bluetext digital marketers ‘watched’ the game, but truly tuned in for the advertising. With so many strong contenders this year, we’ve broken down our favorites by quarter. If there’s one thing sports fanatics and businesses can agree upon, it’s a lovely day for quarterly reporting. 

Q1: CeraVe

Beloved skincare brand CeraVe started the night off strong with their debut ad featuring actor Michael Cera, who parodies the dramatics of typical skin care advertisements to take claim to developing the product. Cera replicates classic scenes leaned on by beauty brands to highlight their products, hinting at the ridiculousness of weaving between airy curtains, posing a top gushing waterfall oasis, and even scaling impossible mountains to ask “Can human skin truly be this moisturized?”. The ad snaps back to reality to show Cera pitching the board of CeraVe his idea, claiming “I think it would be really nice if people think I made this.” And while CeraVe does confirm their product is developed and trusted by dermatologists, the ad succeeds in providing a refreshing satire of the fantastical, utterly unrealistic scenes of stereotypical skincare ads. 

Q2: Oreo

Super Bowl ad veteran Oreo put a new twist on the brand this year, literally. In their latest placement, the famous cookie brand highlights a fan favorite tradition of the “twist”, aka twisting the cookie to separate the layers and betting on which side will take claim to the icing. It’s a similar mindset to the ‘Right Twix vs Left Twix’ campaign or acknowledgement of the famous Pringle lips practice. It depicts a user’s interaction with the products that resonate with fans, and solidifies something that could be seen as a quirk into a communal practice.

Oreo’s commercial this year showed a wide range of decision makers, going back to paleolithic cavemen all the way to pop culture icon Kris Jenner, placing a bet on “right side or left side” to make their decision. It’s a brilliant spoof of the age old coin toss, but has an influencer or character to please everyone in the process.

Q3: Bud Light

The Anheuser Busch brand has a reputation for brilliant influencer marketing campaigns, but this year took it to a new level with a spiff on “Genie in a Bottle”. Leaning fully into the theme, the ad is set to  Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride”, as the Bud Light Genie grants wishes for beer-sipping fans. The ad is notably chaotic, in the best and most true to Bud Light way possible. Featuring a number of big name stars like Peyton Manning and Post Malone, and ultimately concluding with a party-foul wish and party-crashing T. rex. The various wishes and scenes were certainly unexpected, and succeeded in capturing and retaining audience attention throughout.

Q4: Kia

The popular car brand returned to Super Bowl advertising this year with a clear set intention: to nail the “Perfect 10”. If brands were measuring by number of tears shed, Kia just may have scored a perfect 10 out of 10 (but notable mention to Google, who also won viewers heart by advertising the accessibility features of the new Pixel phone through the eyes of a visually impaired user). Kia’s advertisement for their new electric SUV features a young ice skater who wants to bring her performance to her wheelchair-bound grandfather who was unable to watch the official competition.

Showing the off-roading power of the EV9, an unexpected capability not typically associated with electric vehicles, the girl and her father drive her to grandfather’s cabin to recreate her performance on a frozen lake outside of his cabin.  As a heartwarming change of pace to the usual satirical placement, the ad was touching and optimistic, showing the ways Kia vehicles can be used to bring people together.

Much like the Kia ad hints, Super Bowl advertising might as well be an Olympic sport at this point. Every year brands, returning and new, bring their best concepts and creativity to the table and raise the bar for competition. The ads listed above were a few of our many favorites, and whether you prefer the emotional tearjerkers, star-studded comedies, or even nostalgic throwbacks, we can all agree that Super Bowl ads have a powerful effect to unite viewers from any background, any team, and any demographic into a shared experience. 

Feeling inspired by this year’s videos? It’s never too late to refresh your advertising strategy and level up your brand creative. From video production to paid media campaigns, Bluetext can help bring your brand to a new level.