[caption id="attachment_220385" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] "Curb Your Enthusiasm" actor Larry David starred in cryptocurrency firm FTX's Super Bowl, which was among the night's winners. | PHOTO COURTESY OF FTX[/caption]
WILMINGTON – Sunday’s Super Bowl advertisements served up a super-sized portion of celebrities that left viewers a bit disoriented in the messaging as companies clearly moved past the pandemic and into a selling mode, one Delaware ad executive said.
[caption id="attachment_188223" align="alignright" width="230"] Steve Merino | PHOTO COURTESY OF AB+C[/caption]
Steve Merino, chief creative officer and managing partner of the Wilmington-based ad firm Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C), said the 2022 Super Bowl’s ad class was stark departure from last year’s more serious, emotional class that was still debating how to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s crop barely mentioned the global crisis, if at all, and instead featured a star-studded Hollywood parade.Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd hawked Lay’s potato chips, Guy Fieri introduced viewers to FlavorTown for Bud Seltzer, and Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost promoted Amazon. Eugene Levy led four celebs for Nissan while reboots of Dr. Evil, “The Sopranos,” “The Cable Guy” and “Scrubs” all hit the airwaves.“It felt like sort of L.A. permeated everything about this Super Bowl, from who was playing, to who was in attendance to who was in the ads,” Merino said. “It felt very over-the-top, glitzy, big budgets – a lot of ad dollars back.”With so much star power, however, many companies’ messages were probably lost despite spending around $6.5 million for a 30-second spot, a Super Bowl record.“It becomes sensory overload,” he said. “Viewers are so distracted by who's in the ad that they're not remembering what the ad is about.”That overload of celebrity is likely a byproduct of companies seeking to move past the repression of the COVID pandemic and the easing of restrictions on film shoots, allowing more productions to get involved.One of the other major themes for the night’s ads were the arrival of ads for cryptocurrency, electric vehicles and wireless 5G home internet, which sought to legitimize the burgeoning sectors to the wider public.“The fact that there were multiple crypto ads running all at the same time is not coincidental at all. It’s the industry saying, ‘Hey, America, we're not some sort of underground company. Look at us. We're at the Super Bowl. We're a legit company,’” Merino said.Here are some of Merino’s thoughts on the individual spots from Sunday’s big game:
I immediately brought out my phone [for the bouncing QR code ad]. Whereas the other ads spent probably $10 million on the production, they spent probably not even $10,000 on the production. And more people went to that website than anybody else. They actually crashed the servers on the website. I would say that that ad was more successful than any of the celebrity ads that we saw.FTX
I thought one of the funniest ads was the FTX ad with Larry David. There was one celebrity and it made sense what he was doing and what the spot was about. So, it connected. It wasn’t force-fitting a celebrity.E*Trade
Bringing the E*Trade baby, which has been around for 20 years, out of retirement was a good throwback. They did a really nice job of sort of reintroducing that character and it was done in a really funny way.Rocket Mortgage
We have Anna Kendrick, who everyone likes; you have a mobile device; you have a commercial that feels very topical because it was about how hard it is to get a home – but then you also have Barbie and He-Man, so you have this nostalgia thing. I thought that was really funny and they did a great job blending the different generations together.
It was not only one spot, but it was two spots with Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus, that basically made fun of all the good work that Dolly does. It was awkward, it wasn’t funny, and they spent a lot of money on it.Seltzers
There were some ads where they actually said something informative, like Uber Eats, but there were other ones that basically just said, “We have this seltzer.” The way that they did it didn't feel like it was interesting or informative. They didn’t feel Super Bowl-worthy, which is a shame.5G Home Internet
I don't think any of those ads did something that made you remember. The Zach Braff one especially felt forgettable. There was a sing along, but it just became a distraction rather than helping you to remember something.