Trending Now: $400k in prizes?!

space150
5 min readFeb 16, 2024
Source: AOL

Whether you were cheering for the Chiefs, the 49-ers, Usher and Ludacris, or Taylor and her posse — There’s no denying that all eyes were on the Superbowl this past Sunday, February 11th 2024. Both the longest Superbowl in history and the most watched TV program EVER in the U.S., there was no shortage of memorable moments. But let’s cut the crap — we’re an advertising agency and we’re obviously going to talk about the ads.

I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed this year in the amount of brands who jumped straight to celebrity cameo rather than think up a new, innovative way to show up on Superbowl Sunday. I wanted something more! I wanted to be surprised! At the same time — I totally understand that the country is pretty low on institutional trust right now, and people just might be more likely to be interested in what Beyoncé has to say about Verizon than what Verizon has to say about Verizon (I also can’t complain about that song drop… yee fricken haw, Beyonce!).

Still, we saw a good variety of themes that the most expensive ads of the year utilized to create engaging and memorable commercials that resonate with viewers. Let’s reminisce as we head into the long weekend.

Source: Youtube

Storytelling
The use of storytelling was very prominent in Superbowl ads this year, with brands showcasing compelling narratives that captivated audiences and ignited imaginations. Storytelling was used as a powerful tool for driving social change, promoting empathy, and making a meaningful impact on society. This emphasis on storytelling reflects the evolving trends in advertising and consumer preferences, where brands aim to create memorable experiences that resonate with viewers (and might shed a few tears).

Brands that tapped into STORYTELLING…
NFL’s Ghanian adventure
Google Pixel and Javier’s story
Dove’s confident girls
Microsoft’s AI capabilities
Volkswagon’s American love story

Source: Nerdist

Reunions
We saw many ads this year that were all about reuniting iconic duos and teams, cashing in on nostalgia and bringing back beloved characters. This trend of reunions reflects the effort of brands to connect with viewers through the familiarity and fond memories associated with these iconic duos and teams.

Brands that tapped into REUNIONS…
Booking.com X Tina Fey reuniting with her 30 Rock co-stars
T-Mobile X JD and Turk from Scrubs (again)
Mountain Dew X Aubrey Plaza and Nick Offerman from Parks and Rec riding dragons together

Source: Frito-Lay

Humor
The 2024 Super Bowl commercials were filled with humor, with many brands opting for lighthearted and funny approaches to their ads. According to advertising executive Vanessa de Beaumont, the prevailing trend this year was a return to humor, reflecting a shift back to lightheartedness after the challenges of the previous years. So, if you thought the ads felt funnier than recent years — you were right! This really reflects the understanding that in a time of social and political divisions, lighthearted and funny commercials can serve as a unifying and uplifting force for the audience

Brands that tapped into HUMOR…

State Farm feat. Arnold and Danny
Doritos feat. Dina and Mita
Hellman’s feat. Mayo Cat
Dunkin feat. Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, Matt Damon and J Lo
Etsy feat. France

Source: Youtube

Star Power
Brands crammed multiple celebrities into their 30-second spots, giving the highly anticipated commercials more star power than ever, and also involved social media influencers to make a splash with younger, digitally inclined audiences. Again — It makes total sense that we saw a lot of celebs… We tend to trust celebrities more than corporations and institutions due to their influential status and perceived authenticity.

Still, from a creative perspective, some critics argue that relying heavily on celebrities may lack originality and creativity, and it could be perceived as a shortcut to grab attention instead of focusing on innovative and thought-provoking content. The decision to use celebrities in ads is often influenced by the desire to create buzz and connect with diverse audiences through the magnetic appeal of well-known personalities.

Brands that tapped into STAR POWER… (Should I just list which brand’s DIDN’T instead?)
Paramount+
Uber Eats
State Farm
Cerave
Dunkin
Booking.com
Mountain Dew
T-Mobile
Skechers
BetMGM
Verizon
Drumstick
Popeyes

(I’m sure I’m missing some, but it’s Friday so cut me some slack)

Source: Doordash

Giving back to the fans.
Last but not least, we saw a theme from two major brands this year of rewarding the fans. This strategic move highlighted the evolving landscape of Super Bowl commercials, where ads are not just seen but experienced, leaving a lasting impact on the audience

Beyoncé’s collaboration with Verizon was buzzworthy enough, AND THEN she dropped that country banger?! The spot went beyond a traditional ad — It leveraged the platform to tease new music, intertwined entertainment with technology, and showcased the prowess of Verizon’s 5G network.

On the other hand, Doordash’s sweepstakes to win every item mentioned in all Super Bowl ads (seriously, EVERY item… the grand prize was between $340,000 and $480,000) was a creative way to engage and give back to the fans. It turned the ad-watching experience into an interactive and rewarding opportunity for the audience, aligning with the trend of brands creating memorable experiences that resonate with viewers.

These initiatives by Verizon and Doordash exemplify how brands are innovatively connecting with their audience and giving back in unique ways during the Super Bowl.

Article written by Sydney Haessly, Senior Strategist @ space150

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