Super Bowl LIII might not have been the action-packed game fans were looking for. But the real entertainment came between the plays—this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads offers plenty of their own hits and missed to talk about.
With an estimated average audience of over 100 million, Super Bowl ads have become as talked about and as anticipated as the game itself. And this year, Canadian audiences were able to watch the ads in real time, rather than relying on playing catch-up after the fact thanks to a new, and hotly contested, CRTC ruling.
Brands both big and small invest millions of dollars every year for a coveted spot during football’s biggest game of the year. A 30-second block of airtime during the game costs about $5 million—plus the millions of dollars of production that goes into each spot too.
After some pretty epic misses of late—hello, Kendall Jenner—Pepsi was back in fighting form with their ad featuring Steve Carrell, Cardi B, and Lil Jon and a very simple insight: Is Pepsi OK?
From a scathing diss of their competitors, to an unexpected and highly entertaining cross over with Game of Thrones, Bud Light picked up the slack for the lacklustre entry of their sister brand, Budweiser (see below).
Nostalgia was a big factor in last year’s ads, and this year that trend continues. From Doritos’ mash-up of Backstreet Boys and Chance the Rapper, to Olay’s Killer Skin campaign paying homage to classic 90s teen horror flicks (and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar), to Stella Artois’ revival of Carrie Bradshaw AND the Dude, it would seem that Portland isn’t the only place where the dream of the 90s is alive.
Better Luck Next Year
While it’s interesting (and encouraging!) to see a big brand hanging their hat on matters relating to the environment, I expected more from such an iconic Super Bowl advertiser. Their “Wind Never Felt Better” spot was just kind of, meh.
From the odd choice to use Luke Wilson to a very tired insight that just doesn’t feel minty fresh, Colgate’s “The Close Talker” spot was not my favourite.
And speaking of tired tropes—clueless/nerdy finance guy tries to be cool around hip-hop artists…yawn. Expensify’s spot featuring Adam Scott and 2 Chainz, “Expensify This—the world’s first music video you can expense” was surprisingly boring.
Want to hear more commentary and hot takes on this year’s Super Bowl ads? Watch Mel Hennigar on Global Morning Halifax.