Brevard Nelson, CEO of Caribbean Ideas Synapse
Super Bowl LVI came and went in a flurry of excitement as National Football Conference champion, the Los Angeles Rams, and the American Football Conference champion, the Cincinnati Bengals threw down on the football field. By now, we know the Rams won, but as a marketing agency, we also paid close attention to, you guessed it, this year’s slew of Super Bowl commercials. We were curious about what the brands chose to do with their high-priced spots.
Here are 5 things that stood out for me from the Super Bowl Ads:
Lots of electric vehicle ads
- Polestar: A Swedish Electric Automotive with its minimalist ad, taking some not-so-subtle shots at Elon Musk and Volkswagen. The message and jabs may have landed well LOL!
- All-electric Truck Silverado: The commercial features the daughter and son of Tony Soprano, characters from the HBO TV series The Sopranos in an effort to introduce a new generation to electric vehicles. Using some of these familiar characters would definitely connect with their audience, some even shedding a tear in memory of the series’ main character.
- WINNER FOR ME
BMW: The Electric Avenue with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek as Gods Zeus and Hera try out retirement but plans don’t go that well until Hera’s pick me up gift. The kicker for me of course was them cruising around rocking to the beat of Eddy Grant’s 1982 hit “Electric Avenue”.
As if the Halftime show wasn’t already nostalgic enough many of the brands chose to integrate our favourite characters from the 90s and early 2000s:
- Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) General Motors: This reunion of the casts from Austin Powers was another hilarious walk down memory lane injected into the ads to promote General Motors’ new Ultium electric vehicle platform featuring several new EVs and autonomous concept vehicles.
- WINNER FOR ME
The Cable Guy (Jim Carrey) Verizon: Listen! I LOVE Jim Carrey, from as far back as his ‘In Living Color’ days…but t I digress, and even with all his accolades I still think he is very underrated! Jim effortlessly slips into the role of Chip Douglas from ‘The Cable Guy’ from more than 25 years ago, to add humour to the Verizon 5G spot. I looked at this spot a few times and laughed, EVERYTIME!
- Crypto.com: Lebron fan or not, consistent with the ‘throwback’ theme for this Super Bowl, Lebron goes back to 2003 and talks to his younger self about taking chances and touches on the concept of making life-altering decisions.
- Etoro – Promoting the Power of its Social Investing, this community allows people to grow their knowledge and wealth.
- FTX – Don’t be like Larry who missed out on MANY opportunities in history and is already missing out on the crypto movement.
- WINNER FOR ME
Coinbase: This one takes the cake, since their website literally shut down after this ad . No over-the-top budget here, but they capitalised on the visibility a Super Bowl ad gives you. This one-minute spot alone would run you into the millions but with just a QR code Coinbase drove traffic to their landing page https://drops.coinbase.com/ with a time-sensitive offer of $15 in free Bitcoin for signing up, plus a chance to win $3 million in prizes.
- Uber Eats: Probably one of the worst ads for me where celebrities bit into non-edible items because, get this, it was delivered by Uber Eats? Nah, fam.
- Quickbooks and Mailchimp – This ad was a good way to announce the acquisition of Mailchimp (in case people missed it in October) and highlight the integration with Intuit’s that can be easily integrated with other software in their stable.
- YouTube TV: Why not use one of TV’s most popular events to highlight all the strange excuses people tell themselves when sticking to the old ways of watching Live TV.
- ClickUp: This ad declared you should stop working like it’s 1776 and use ClickUp to get independence from the pain of file versioning.
- Expedia” In this spot, Expedia encourages you to save more on the things that matter and create memories vs buying stuff. With travel resuming over the last few months, people have been considering more vacations and memorable moments.
- Meta Quest 2: Meta’s push for adoption in the Metaverse is evident but I’m not sure the dystopian view of the world would drive people to virtual reality.
- WINNER FOR ME
Amazon: Alexa’s Mind reading ad was brilliant as these devices integrate more and more into our daily lives, this ‘What IF?’ ad takes a funny look at what might happen if Alexa could tap into your innermost thoughts. Hey, with the advancements of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, I’d say we are already there!
Snacks & Beverages
- PepsiCo’s Road to the Super Bowl – Of course, we’ve come to expect that PepsiCo will invest heavily in the Super Bowl. This year they included NFL stars Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Jerome Bettis, Terry Bradshaw, Victor Cruz, and all their favourite Pepsi drinks and Frito-Lay snacks as they road trip their way to Super Bowl LVI. Kinda literal on the product placement but I think the audience appreciated every morsel of it.
- PLANTERS Mixed Nuts: Planters is known for their strong ads, I think one message that stood out for me was that it is very easy for something to go viral and for people to “tear themselves apart over a relatively minor difference of opinion”. Of course, they took the ALL or ONE debate onto their social platforms.
- WINNER FOR ME
Michelob Ultra’s Welcome to the Superior Bowl includes an A-list cast of sporting greats including Peyton Manning, Serena Williams, Steve Buscemi, Brooks Koepka, Nneka Ogwumike, Jimmy Butler, Alex Morgan relaxing at a bowling alley, with Peyton exchanging the ‘sup? A nod of acknowledgment and Queen Serena making her entrance in the end. The tag at the end is very fitting and one I use for my life also, “It’s only worth it if you enjoy it.”
- SPECIAL MENTION: It would be remiss of me to not mention the Half time show. With a line up like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 cent, Mary J. Blige & Kendrick Lamar, for me it was a short, but nostalgic journey through the discography of rap and hip hop legends. The set with multiple stages, allowed for smooth transitions, with old school choreography from the dancers on stage and out front. Eminem taking the knee was a big moment, (even though there are conflicting reports on whether the NFL asked him not to or not, but yeah who was gonna stop him anyway? lol). Dre’s homage to Tupac and transition into the ‘Still Dre’ number was a fitting finale to this set. You always wish these performances could be longer but the super bowl is a massive production that is run to precision especially the half time show where setup and strip down need to happen like clockwork.
All in all it was a great entertainment event, and of course the game was great also!
Brevard Nelson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Caribbean Ideas Synapse. He has over 20 years of experience in the world of Marketing and Communications. He is impassioned by our Caribbean region utilising technology to drive development. When he’s not working with Team Synapse on integrated marketing client strategies, he’s actively involved in various ways to give back to and create the next generation of leaders through multiple non-profit organisations.