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Hot Takes: Super Bowl Ad Recap

The Super Bowl still reigns supreme as the single biggest night for ads. While the subject matter for the spots has shifted, with this year’s popular commodities being crypto and electric vehicles, the common tactics were to use big names for big brands to try to make an impression. Coming in at $7 million for a 30-second spot (up from a meager $450,000 in 1983), the pressure to perform is unmatched. 


Media Cause took to a group discussion to talk about our favorites, the flops, and of course, Guy Fieri. 


Sarah Ackerman, Director, Copy + Content

HOT: Our group chat was a revelation for me. I was unaware we turned a corner on Guy Fieri, but I also didn’t know Crocs were cool. I thought their Flavortown/ Bud Light Seltzer spot was funny, but a risky choice. During our team chat, I find out he’s actually a super nice guy, and cringe is cool. Nice job Bud Light, you know your audience. 


Avi Mednick, Business Operations Generalist

NOT: Sorry Sarah, hard pass on Bud Light Hard Soda. Guy Fieri seems like a great guy, and does great things for small businesses, but I just can’t do it. I have an irrational dislike for Guy Fieri, it’s the flames, it’s the hair, it’s everything and nothing, and especially an enduring loyalty to Anthony Bourdain. I just can’t do it.

NOT: The halftime show was great, no complaints about the acts or the set list. Still, it being light outside really threw me off. There are some things that should only happen when it’s dark outside, and the halftime show is one of those things.

Case in Point: Coldplay

No disrespect to our west coast MC family, but going forward, I think the NFL should make sure to have all Super Bowls pegged to EST to make sure half time shows going forward are all at night. More Prince, less Coldplay.


Taylor Cote, Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing

HOT: While QR codes aren’t completely new and original, I appreciate coinbase really going for it. Just having a full-minute spot of just a QR code was ballsy, but memorable. While it may alienate the US population who do not know how to use QR codes, they were able to reach the exact tech-y audience that would be interested in Bitcoin. This commercial was also a perfect reminder to make sure your servers can handle significant traffic before you launch a massive commercial.

NOT: The Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus collaboration had me cringing. I’m all for the duo working together, but creating a spoof of a PSA for 5G service really missed the mark. I understand it was meant to be funny, but seeing it filmed similarly to an ASPCA or a disaster relief commercial was distasteful (especially because it’s 5G and a first world problem). As someone working in the nonprofit sector, this commercial really was a major flop for me.


Ryan Fuquea, VP, Project Management and Technology

NOT: When people you’re used to seeing with facial hair suddenly show up clean shaven, it’s very disconcerting.  Case in point: Willie Nelson in an ad for Skechers.  For this very reason alone, this ad has stuck with me and therefore wins the advertising Big Game for me in 2022.  Sorry crypto, this is the year of comfortable shoes.


Patty Camerota, Social Media Strategist

HOT: *Waves Italian hands wildly* We need to talk about the ad for Chevy’s electric Silverado—and how it was utterly genius! As soon as I heard the iconic theme song, I sprinted from the tray of jalapeño poppers in the kitchen to the TV (a big deal). At first, I was slightly disappointed to find that the on-screen video was a product commercial rather than a reboot trailer, but that feeling quickly dissipated when I saw the epic recreation of “The Sopranos” introduction. I have to hand to Chevrolet for pulling the whole thing off—not only did they bring back beloved cast members such as Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano) and Robert Iler (A.J. Soprano), but they got David Chase, the original creator and showrunner of “The Sopranos” to run the whole creative direction. Hopefully the ad worked and the Sopranos-hive invests in electric vehicles!!!


Anna Keaney, Presentation + Graphic Designer

HOT: Not overly produced or celebrity cameo driven – a standout for the night for me personally was the Google Pixel 6 ad that introduced Real Tone photos. I love film and photography, and inclusivity in those mediums doesn’t end with casting. On the production side: Finding the right lighting, styling, hair, and makeup artists are all part of the ongoing conversation around genuine, equitable representation. The ad features Lizzo’s new song “If You Love Me” as well as her portrait in Real Tone – an inspired partnership, given Lizzo has long championed the beauty that comes with authenticity. 

NOT: This is one of those cases that prompts self reflection. Am I jilted? Is my heart hardened? Do I need to heal my inner child? Maybe so – but I can’t bring myself to pretend that CGI dancing animals are a creative ad any more. The combined efforts of Doritos and Cheetos felt like a straight-to-DVD, bottom-of-the-$5-bin-at-the-gas-station kind of effort. Like a sequel to Over the Hedge (2006) that no one asked for. In the same way that live action adaptations of The Lion King and The Jungle Book don’t do it for me, it felt like an idea produced out of pure “We Need to Put Something in this Seven Million Dollar Time Slot” desperation. It felt like a giant miss for the otherwise steady Super Bowl Ad Staple that is Doritos.


With all that, what are your thoughts?


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