The time is upon us.
It's the final match where men in padding try to carry a ball over a line without being jumped on by a 300kg armoured behemoth sprinting like the T1000, and trying to avoid suffering a brain injury in the process.
We’re English by the way, and we know more about badger habitats than we do about what we call over here ‘the American football’, which may explain our complete misunderstanding of the game. They live in a system of interconnected tunnels and chambers called a sett, in case you were interested. Badgers. Not football players.
It is said that approximately 25% of the planet watches it, which is absolutely mind-blowing when you think about existence as a whole.
About a quarter of the most intelligent creatures on earth (sorry to any octopus’ reading), all drop what they are doing in their various time zones and tune in simultaneously to watch.
So yes, it’s kind of a big deal, much like the Eastenders Christmas special (Google it, non-Brits). But with cheerleaders.
And with such a crazy large viewership, comes the most prestigious/expensive media buy in existence. So it makes sense you would want to put your best foot forward as a brand right? RIGHT?!
Well apparently the best foot is an incredibly well-manicured celebrity foot because pretty much every advert in the last few years has had a celebrity at the forefront.
Now, we’ve been lucky enough to work on Super Bowl briefs before. Never got to make one mind you, so we will just settle for critiquing other people’s actual work, because we failed miserably ourselves. The stipulation in the briefing was always, ‘Do anything, but it’s got to have a celebrity in it’.
We have never understood why. Prestige? Relatability? PR? Infomercial culture in the good ol’ US of A? A desire to meet our heroes?
Undoubtedly, there is a time and place for celebrity advertising.
We’ve always leaned towards the perspective that it tends to work best when the presence of an A-lister has an actual link to the idea and isn’t just ‘I endorse this product and/or brand wholeheartedly’.
Some of the ads do that this year.
Workday - a solid idea that didn’t quite land the comedic beats as tightly as possible.
Hellmanns - like explaining a joke and why it’s funny instead of actually telling one.
Uber One - Diddy being Diddy and Haddaway doing Haddaway.
Rakuten - a funny idea that could have been funnier if they’d leaned into the age disparity of Alicia Silverstone looking like a narc infiltrating a high school.
Pepsi - probably the best of the bunch in terms of an interesting self-deprecating idea being executed in a funny way. This one had not one, but two celebrity adverts by the way.
And some don’t relate to the idea.
Booking.com - the holiday musical. Enough said.
Paramount - mountain + cliff face + Cliffhanger + Stallone + Tulsa King. The thread of logic is pretty amusing.
Bud Light - where the waiting music is cooler than the advert itself.
Michelob Ultra - it’s another advert to add to the pile of adverts.
Netflix + GM, was alright, actually. Funny how it all came full circle, but most things propped up with Will Ferrell will be amusing. We don’t really feel comfortable judging this advert with him in it.
It’s weird that we have got to the point where the adverts without a celebrity actually stand out.
But that has seemingly been the trend these last few years. Last year, a bouncing QR code for Coinbase stole the show.
The year before, Reddit’s static long copy ad blew minds.
Going lo-fi has become the only way to stand out in a world of massive budgets.
The space is still wide open for someone to come in and do that this year. We believe, in American Football, this is what would be known as a ‘touching down’. But we also might be wrong.
Anyway, hopefully, one day, we can make our own Super Bowl advert and someone random from afar can slag it off. It would truly be an honour and a privilege.
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