As a rule, each Super Bowl is measured in 3 categories:
- The game (obviously)
- Entertainment – the half time show
- The ads (our main event)
In this article, we’ll try and rate how Super Bowl LVI faired in all 3 aspects and look at the best notable commercials aired during The Big Game.
In terms of the game’s marketability, Super Bowl LVI’s matchup could not equal last year’s game, where Tom Brady, aka the GOAT, went up against Patrick Mahomes, defending champion and the most electrifying young quarterback of his generation.
But when it came down to the game itself, last year’s game was kind of a dud – a blowout that didn’t live up to its hype. Super Bowl LVI, however, was a tight game that was decided in the final minutes.
Overall rating: B+
The Halftime Show
Super Bowl LVI was held in Los Angeles, so having iconic hometown rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg headline the halftime show was a stroke of genius. The OG’s were joined by an eclectic group that kept things diverse and dynamic, with everyone making a mark.
You had 50 Cent in charge of stirring up the “sexual anarchy” with In Da Club, Mary J. Blige provided the soul with diva-like performances of Family Affair and No More Drama, Kendrick Lamar bringing artistry with his signature tight performance, but for a less canonical song. And while M.A.A.D. City and Alright are great tracks, if you’re gonna perform in the Super Bowl, might as well play at least one of your most recognizable hits, HUMBLE. or the equally epic DNA.
Nevertheless, Lamar made an awesome transition to Eminem, who went on to perform Lose Yourself, perhaps the most epic hip hop song ever recorded, made for the occasion, ending it perfectly with the controversial moment of the night, taking a knee. Then intensity broke off, Dre took back control, bringing back the groove to end the show with an excellent rendition of Still Dre together with everyone.
Dre looked at home conducting the show in front of the electrified crowd, and Snoop was at his Snoopiest, Crip walking with an effortless groove all over the impressive stage – a reconstructed L.A. neighborhood street with people dancing in, on and outside the houses. And while everything about the setting and the show was as extravagant as the occasion requires, it also had a natural feel. And it’s all kind of mind-blowing when you realize that this was the first-ever hip-hop Super Bowl Halftime show. After this year, there will surely be more in years to come.
To sum up, the Super Bowl LVI halftime show will probably be remembered as one of the top 5 Super Bowl performances of all time.
And if you’re looking for music to amp up your videos, check out our Gameday collection.
Now we get to the main event…the commercials.
Advertising trends from the Big Game
The turbulent 2 years we’ve all been experiencing have impacted the quality of advertising. So we’re tempted to call Super Bowl LVI a bounce-back year in the advertising category. No one ad stood on top of everyone else, and there were some cringe moments, but the quality was pretty even across brands.
The year of the electric vehicle
This is the most evident trend emerging from the Big Game ads. Manufacturers GM, BMW, Chevrolet, KIA and Polestar all aired EV ads, while Nissan sneaked in their own EV into their amusing regular car ad. Add to those Wallbox’s (cringe-worthy) commercial for electric chargers, and it’s pretty evident that planet-friendly electricity was the dominant theme in the Big Game. I guess there could be worse trends than that.
You can talk about climate change
Super Bowl LVI was the most climate-conscious in terms of advertising. Not only because of all the EV ads, but words like ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘climate change’ avoided by the big brands in previous years, were used explicitly in Super Bowl LVI. But tackling such a serious issue without sounding preachy is tricky, and it was interesting seeing the creative ways advertisers found to sell us on environmentally-friendly products (more on that later).
Crypto got game
Speaking of trends that could be worse, 3 crypto ads were detected during the Super Bowl. And while one of them was genuinely baffling, if you can recruit LeBron James and Larry David, it means that you’re in the big leagues.
What’s up with all those B2B ads?
Also, speaking of trends that could be worse, Monday.com, Click-Up, Intuit QuickBooks & Mailchimp all aired ads in this year’s Super Bowl. Not that they were necessarily bad ads, but it’s a bit like bringing work home. And nobody wants to think about project management during the Super Bowl!
More A-list directors
There have been several A-list directors who got to direct Super Bowl ads, Ridley Scott (for Apple in 1995), Zack Snyder (for Budweiser n 2002), David Fincher (for Heineken in 2005) and the Coen brothers (for Mercedes in 2017). Last year, Oscar winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and actress Bryce Dallas Howard were the only directors from Hollywood. This year, you had names like Chloe Zhao (for Budweiser), I, Tonia and Cruella director Craig Gillespie (for Nissan), Edgar Wright (for Squarespace) and Sopranos showrunner David Chase (for Chevrolet). It’s an interesting direction… we’ll have to monitor this.
Movies are making a comeback
We wrote about it in our post about the most anticipated films of 2022, and the Super Bowl trailers strengthened the feeling that the big screen will have a bounce-back year as well! Jurassic World: Dominion, Dr. Strange and the very intriguing Moon Knight aired very impressive trailers, so you could start to get excited about going to the movies in 2022!
Travel not there yet
Only 3 travel-related ads in Super Bowl LVI. Booking.com got Idris Elba to convince you that they are the best at finding you the right choice; Expedia had a powerful message (more on that later), and Turkish Airlines recruited the help of Morgan Freeman to declare that they’re bringing the world closer together. It’s clear that the travel industry is still reeling from the pandemic, but let us hope for breakthrough in 2022.
Overall ad rating of Super Bowl LVI: B+
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The Top 10 Best commercials of Super Bowl LVI
Before we get to our top 10, let’s look at some great ads that didn’t make it.
- Google Pixel 6 (one of the best smartphones for video) celebrated making black people look good in photos with the help of a song by Lizzo.
- Greenlight recruited Ty Burrell to show you what not to buy.
- Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton teaming up for T-Mobile to do it for the phones.
- Nissan made Eugene Levy an action hero.
- Uber Eats’ commercial for Don’t-Eats with Jennifer Coolidge, Trevor Noah, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicholas Braun trying to ‘eats’ non-edible stuff.
- Rocket Mortgage paired Anna Kendrick and Barbie to help you find your dream house.
Now let’s go to the top 10.
Yes, the B2B trend is a bit weird, but ClickUp did well reconstructing the preparation of the declaration of independence. John (Adams) can’t find the latest version of the declaration, but Tommy (Jefferson) saves the day with an updated version that requires you to just click (up) to sign. It’s fun and educational!
Relatability is one of the most powerful things for advertisers. When you can get your viewers to think ‘that happens to me too,’ you know you’ve won. And that’s what McDonald’s did. Many people coming asked what they want to order and they go uhhhhhh… And brilliant casting of Kanye West who also comes up to the drive-thru in his futuristic Sherp ATV, and goes uhhhhhh… See, he’s like everyone else!
Friends and collaborators Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen play in this buddy commercial where Rudd officiates Seth’s wedding, reminiscing with him about how Lays was there at memorable junctures of their lives. You pretty much can’t go wrong by casting those 2 guys.
7. Planet Fitness
Perfectly Narrated by William Shattner, the ad tries to uncover why Lindsay Lohan has been doing so well, physically and mentally. The groovy Tarantino-esque soundtrack and quirky guest appearances go well with the ad’s self-awareness. And it’s also great because it actually looks like Lindsay is doing great!
Excellent casting of Larry David as the guy who says no to all the important inventions throughout history, from the wheel through the lightbulb to the mp3 player… Nobody dismisses like Larry David! And bonus points for having him speak Japanese!
Although the mood of this year’s Super Bowl ads was lighter than the last 2 Super Bowls, the nonsense genre was a bit left out. Of course, there was the Irish Spring commercial, but…it was kind of creepy. So a big thanks to Doritos for not leaving us without a good surreal ad this Super Bowl.
The commercial sees a jungle explorer birdwatching on a tree and accidentally dropping her Flamin’ Hot Doritos and Cheetos to the ground. Then, a curious sloth, Bambi and bear come to taste it, each making their own exhaling sound (because the snack is hot). The nonsense starts when the sounds evolve into a hip hop beat, and a boomboxing fox (Chrllie Puth) and a bird coming out of a crocodile’s mouth (Megan Thee Stallion) bust a version of Salt-N-Pepa’s classic hit “Push It”. Great song, great ad.
5. Samuel Adams
The Boston-based beer company keeps riding ‘your cousin, from Bos-ton’, and it keeps working out for them, this time recruiting the help of the very cool BostonDynamics robots. The ad sees your security guard cousin managing to bring out the party animal side of these very likable machines with beer. It’s just so much futuristic fun! And who knows, maybe beer will be the solution when the robots try taking over the world.
This commercial was based on the tongue-twisting nursery rhyme ‘Sally Sells Seashells’, seeing the lovely Zendaya failing to sell her seashells until opening a website on Squarespace, leading her to become a sea shell celebrity. It’s the smoothest and probably the most beautiful ad of the day.
The ad was directed by film director Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver), but it has a definite Wes Anderson vibe (not a bad thing). Andre’s smooth alliteration-filled narration and Zendaya’s natural beauty carry us gently through Sally’s seashell success story.
If you want to know how to make an anti-consumerist ad in the most consumerist event of the year and get away with it, go watch Expedia’s ad.
It may sound a bit of an oxymoron, but the strength of this ad is that it just tells the truth! Actor Ewan MacGregor takes us through many different (Super Bowl) commercial sets, helping us understand that when we look back at our lives, we will not regret the stuff we didn’t buy but the places we didn’t go to. It’s a simple and powerful message that almost everyone can relate to. Well done!
2. General Motors
Other than the excellent cast, script and the always entertaining ways Dr. Evil manages to shush his son Scott, the great thing about this ad is that it can make even evil people care about the planet. As Frau Farbissina suggests, “You must save the world first. Then, you can take over the world!”. Are you listening, Jeffery Bezos? Whatever you’re goals are, if the planet is destroyed, you’re not going to be able to accomplish them.
1. Chevrolet – Chevy Silverado
The Sopranos had arguably one of the best opening themes of any show ever. In it, mob boss Tony Soprano rode a Chevy suburban through the streets of New Jersey all the way to his suburban home.
Chevrolet recruited Sopranos’ showrunner David Chase and director Phil to recreate the sequence with Jamie Lynn-Singer, Tony’s daughter, at the wheel. The great song and the small differences between the 2 versions resulted in a riveting ad, ending with a powerful message – ‘A whole new truck for a whole new generation’.
Super Bowl LVI was exciting in all aspects of the event, and the advertising trends that emerged from it were mostly positive. If you are looking to amp up your video with Big Game-worthy music, check out our Gameday collection on Artlist. And stay creative!