The Super Bowl’s Best and Worst Adverts
Article | 10th February 2023
It’s Super Bowl Weekend! Which means a weekend full of build-up, speculation, and the overall culmination of a year of hard work. And no, we’re not talking about the two teams taking to the field, we’re talking about the adverts!
Like the Christmas adverts in the UK, the Super Bowl adverts are the pinnacle of the marketing calendar, with agencies and companies spending millions of dollars, and all year planning, shooting, and executing these movie-style ads! So, join us, as we look back over the best and worst Super Bowl adverts!
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Apple: 1984 (1984) ✅
As far as pop culture references go, we’re sure this is one of the most remade, revisualized ads of all time. Directed by Ridley Scott, this advert, introducing the ground-breaking Macintosh, is as relevant today as it was nearly 40 years ago, and with hindsight, this ad was spot on.
We can hardly visualise a world without Apple in 2023, but in 1984, this wasn’t the case, and this advert, stating that Macintosh and Apple were going to make 1984 different to the 1984 everyone was expecting wasn’t far off, and has gone down as one of the most memorable Super Bowl adverts of all time!
SalesGenie: 100 Free Sales Leads Panda Advert (2008) ❌
As far as misfiring goes, this one takes top spot. This ad by SalesGenie is not only unfunny but also is highly offensive to lots of people. From offensive accents, names, and stereotypes, this ad pretty much missed the mark in every possible area. How did this marketing team think this would be okay?
Budweiser: Wassap! (2000) ✅
We’ve all heard it, we’ve all seen it, and to be honest, we’ve all probably said it! The Budweiser Wassap ad really takes the theme of keeping it simple and simplifies it. Just two friends watching the game, when a third enters and shouts “Wassap” which sparks off a sequence of calling multiple friends and engaging in the same encounter. Easy to replicate, memorable and funny? Budweiser really hit the nail on the head with this fan favourite!
Holiday Inn: High School Reunion (1997) ❌
Right, hear us out. Back in 1997 this was bad, this was offensive, and this was confusing. But now, 25 years later it’s worse. Highlighting an obsession with plastic surgery, the problem with men oogling women, and a transgender issue, that’s 3 from 3 in Woke bingo! How the marketing team at Holiday Inn thought this ad would be funny is beyond our wildest thoughts. A major no no, back then and more so now!
Volkswagen: The Force (2012) ✅
Our first visit to a branded cross over, with Volkswagen enlisting the help of a rather small Darth Vader. Who ever said don’t work with animals or children? This advert is as memorable as they come, with the little guy trying his hardest to use the force, ultimately (with his dad’s help) finding the force in the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat. As feel good as they come, imagining the little guy’s face when his force begins to work!
Apple: Lemmings (1985) ❌
Here is how to go from Hero to Zero in less than a year. Following on from the success of the 1984 advert a year earlier, Apple decided that a line of everyday workers throwing themselves off a cliff would be a good way to follow the success. The message is clear, don’t follow the crowd, change to Apple, but surely there was a better way to get that across than employees marching to their death?
Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (2010) ✅
“I’m on a horse.” Do we need to say anymore? This advert takes the simple and makes it confusing. Simple through it’s one take flow but making that one take look as though the main character is travelling a vast distance without moving! This advert is memorable for its simplicity, but also its complexity. And that is a hard thing to do.
Uber Eats: Uber Don’t Eats (2022) ❌
We’ll round off this list highlighting that even in this day and age, some companies can just simply miss the mark.
With a star-studded line up of celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Coolidge, Trevor Noah and Nicholas Braun, Uber Eats wanted to spread the message that they now deliver nonedible products.
Now, this could have been funny, this could have been informative, this could have been fantastic, but what we ended up with, is a cringey reminder that these companies think we’re not very clever, not capable of looking after ourselves, and not capable of knowing the difference between food and not food.
Not a great idea to take a dig at the whole of your customer base surely? Companies like Deliveroo and DoorDash must have been rubbing their hands together at the sight of this ad.
FOX say that 30 seconds of Super Bowl commercial airtime will cost $7million in 2023. Now, to get that wrong, and embarrass yourself in front of around 100 million viewers around the world is much more of a cost to your business than 7 million dollars may be, but on the flip side, smashing it out of the park and creating an ad that will be remembered forever is priceless. All we can say is good luck to all those competing for top spot this year, we’re looking forward to seeing what these “creative geniuses” come up with!
With all the hype around adverts, why not check out our round-up of the 2022 UK Christmas Ads!
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