‘So many celebs, so much money, so many fails’: Adland weighs in on Super Bowl LVIII ads

Yesterday’s Super Bowl LVIII saw the Kansas City Chiefs beat out the San Francisco 49ers 25-22. When we think about the Super Bowl, however, it’s not just the game itself. The commercials, the half-time show, and the atmosphere are all an integral part of the experience.

It’s arguable that the ads are as important as the game, so, we got some of Australia’s leading creatives to share their favourite and least favourite spots from yesterday’s spectacle.

Sarah McGregor, ECD, dentsu Creative

What a joy Cerave’s work was with Michael Cera.

Bold, funny, distinctive and an idea that lives beyond the game in the real world. I couldn’t help but compare it to Cetaphil’s ‘Swiftie’ execution which felt soft and recessive in comparison.

A big favourite amongst the creatives here was ‘DoorDash all the ads’.

A little like the famous Tide spot, they’re piggybacking off everyone else’s activity plus extending before and beyond the game. I also love that somebody is going to get delivered 6 cars, a bag of Doritos and a bic lighter.

I firmly believe there aren’t enough cats in advertising, so my last pick is Mayo Cat – it’s a pretty classic Super Bowl ad with all the key ingredients – celebs, animals, escalation – but it is smart, simple and entertaining to the end.

Justin Hind and Ollie Beeston, co-CEO & founder and creative partner, Reunion

Hind: My favourite – I absolutely love the BMW ‘Talkin like Walken’ spot with Christopher Walken to launch the all-new BMW i5.

He’s such an amazing and unique talent (I’ve been fascinated with him since the 1985 Bond film ‘View to a Kill’ and I’m also a little biased, in a previous life we’d used him to launch the Qantas health insurance brand, Qantas Assure).

I love the 15” teaser ‘What’s a teaser? Oh, it’s an ad for an ad, why would they do that?’.

BMW have used him and his persona in such an authentic way and they’ve leveraged the cultural meme of people impersonating him perfectly. The 60” also features Usher who’s headlining the halftime show ‘don’t you got somewhere to be?’ and it drives home their point of difference and leadership position beautifully, ‘there’s only one Christopher Walken and there’s only one ultimate driving machine’. It’s brilliant at every level. It’s my favourite by far.

My second favourite is DoorDash.

A big, big integrated activation leveraging the entire event and every other brands ad spend and products where ‘DoorDash will door-dash all the stuff from all the ads’ to one lucky winner. Every product – ‘all the snacks, every automobile, a tax service and who knows what else’. All to one person. It’s a massive, yet simple idea and I bet it’ll drive huge sign ups and activations. I also love all the Uber spots and the teasers, especially with the Beckhams but DoorDash wins the Super Bowl in their category in my opinion.

Beeston: My pick for the Super Bowl is Reese’s ‘Yes’ by Erich & Kallma. It’s also fantastic. A real rollercoaster of humour and a brilliant way to launch a major new product SKU. Humour is making a major comeback in advertising across the board, and with the new humour category at Cannes this year it will be interesting to see how this performs.

Our agreed least favourite is Copilot for Microsoft.

It’s not that it’s terrible but more of a missed opportunity. Microsoft has been absent from the Super Bowl for four years, so for one of the biggest companies in the world, their return to the Super Bowl should be really big. Secondly it should have been more impactful and creative to introduce Copilot, their new AI platform.

The spot misses the opportunity to be contextually relevant within the Superbowl, and that’s where lots of the creative opportunity and potential to be different and noticed lies. Lastly the spot feels too passive for something so big as AI and what looks like the Copilot points of difference versus ChatGPT. It’s fine, but not great and for such a massive company, massive media investment and more importantly a game changer product in an explosive category. I think they’ve missed the mark when you look at the other commercials in the 2024 Super Bowl environment.

Tristan Graham, ECD, Clemenger BBDO

My favourite was Mountain Dew. I love this ad for many reasons. Creatively, I love it because it’s so well written. The joke at the centre of the ad is hilarious and it’s so true to Aubrey Plaza’s personality. But commercially, I love it even more. Embedding the sarcastic (and highly branded) line “Having a Blast” into culture is brilliant and I’m sure will lead to countless fan recreations on social and a ton of earned media for Mountain Dew. I’m also a little biased because I worked at Goodby Silverstein & Partners for years, but hey, it’s great.

Dove – It’s The Hard Knock Life. It’s not easy to create a serious, purpose-driven spot that lands tonally amid the fun and laughs of the Super Bowl. But Dove did it. This is such a clever use of upbeat music and editing to pull people in, only to rip the rug out from under them and deliver such a serious and important message. I also appreciate the way the ad still ended on an optimistic note—it picked the energy and playfulness back up, right in time for the next ad, which to me is a great example of audience empathy in advertising.

BMW – Talkin’ like Walken. Celebrity appearances in Super Bowl spots are so often gratuitous, adding nothing to the creative concept except a name for the PR headline. But not in this spot. There’s an inherent truth to the insight that underpins this commercial—everyone tries to impersonate Christopher Walken. I love that it makes you want to take part—it’s almost impossible not to try and talk like him after watching it. The Usher integration, and the nod to Walken’s seminal Fatboy Slim music video, is also an ode to craft in storytelling that should be celebrated.

NYX – Duck Plump Lip Gloss. In terms of creative strategy, this campaign is brilliant. To hijack a testosterone-filled event and turn it on its head like this is a sure-fire way to stand out. Not to mention some of the performances are really funny. This one will get a lot of people talking.

Dee Madigan, ECD, Campaign Edge

Etsy was a big production budget and super clever. DoorDash was a super cheap production budget but also a super clever idea.

There were a couple of big budget ideas that missed the mark. Coors and Drumstick went for wild and quirky but just came off as naff. And Budweiser was lavish but predictable.

In terms of celebrity ads, I give an A to with Tina Fey and to BMW with Christopher Walken. A solid B for The Beckhams in Uber eats.

But the magnificent Aubrey Plaza was wasted in Mountain Dew.

As were Jason Momoa and Zach Braff  in T Mobile. And F to Oreos (featuring Kris Jenner) – just plain stupid.

Tom Wenborn, ECD, Thinkerbell

My favourite so far would have to be Patrick Stewart’s Paramount blockbuster.

From a brand POV, they’ve created the world’s biggest distinctive asset and a formula that means they can continue to roll out new stories on Paramount Mountain for years to come, but it’s the writing and performances in this spot that is genuinely entertaining. It’s fun to ponder if ‘I just threw him higher, to a place where we won’t freeze’ came before or after realising they have enough left in the production budget to afford a Creed live performance.

And my least favourite so far would have to be this terribly forgettable Lindt spot.

It’s the type of work that comes as a result of conservative marketers, testing, committee feedback and a brief that must have said ‘include the product in every scene, 3 consumption shots, a craft in manufacturing shot and of course a CGI product close up for taste appeal’. And I can only assume they had to spell out the lyrics because someone said they couldn’t make out the words of the song when sung.


Shane Geffen, ECD, HERO

I think the real winner was Taytay but having worked on CereVe locally, I couldn’t quite believe the Michael Cera campaign when I first saw it.

I’m sure it started off as a joke (as do most concepts) but credit to the agency who presented, sold, and executed it brilliantly. And hats off to the client for having the bravery to back it. The teaser phase had Michael Cera ‘snapped’ in pharmacy stores signing bottles of CeraVe and had us at the agency scratching our heads questioning if this was an ad or not.

Olivia Fleming, creative director, Half Dome

Another year, another Super Bowl to inspire a wave of cleverly crafted commercials overflowing with celebrity appearances. Do I have a clue about how American Football works? Nope. Did I tune in to see if Taylor Swift made it and what she was wearing? Definitely. Do I love having a giggle and being a bit judgemental at the best collection of commercials for the year? Absolutely.

Personal favourites from this year included Dove’s ‘Hard Knocks’ with their powerful portrayal of resilience and empowerment, Hellmann’s ‘Mayo Cat’ with a humorous and slightly unexpected approach and finally, I have to give it to them, Uber Eats’ witty, nostalgic, and star-packed ‘Don’t Forget’.

Honourable mentions go to Cetaphil, Google Pixel and Kia’s ‘Perfect 10’ for creating impactful narratives through beautiful storytelling.

This year’s ads put on an impressive display of superstar cameos, laugh-out-loud jokes, and tugs at the heartstrings. It was refreshing to see more female-focused brands, tapping into the ‘Swiftie’ crowd. Key themes that emerged reflecting the cultural zeitgeist included community, humour, nostalgia, and social responsibility. These collectively underscored advertisers’ efforts to resonate with viewers on an emotional level while delivering memorable and impactful messaging.

Brian Merrifield, co-founder and ECD, Common Ventures

I’ve been trying to find a decent source for this year’s Super Bowl ads. It’s harder than you think with everyone from YouTubers to the New York Times giving their hot takes. I’ve also had to weed through a multitude of teasers which have oftentimes been better than the ad.

Last week I saw a longer edit of Etsy’s Gift mode Commercial. It was way funnier than the 30’ with the set-up for the French ooh-la-la’s working brilliantly.

The best – Google Pixel’s Javier in Frame. Intrigue from the first shot, it’s a compelling story using a twist on a product feature – gold! You also have to appreciate the line ‘Capture life, no matter how you experience it.’ at the end. This ad’s worthy of all the metal it’ll pick up this year.

There are so many bad ads this year. T-mobile’s cringe-fest, Crowdstrike’s disappointing reveal and M&M’s convoluted comfort diamond rings. I even felt that the teaser for the Uber Eats ad was better than the ad they made. So many celebs, so much money, so many fails – but I’ve been asked to pick my worst….

The Worst – Paramount Plus. This is another Paramount ‘Mountain of entertainment’ ad. Set on Paramount Mountain (the physical manifestation of their logo) and has an epic cast led by Patrick Stewart. They managed to make it fall flat even with Creed playing ‘higher’ as Patrick Stewart threw Arnold (Hey Arnold) to the top of a cliff face. I think they need to retire the Paramount Mountain concept.

Generally, I wish the funnier ones were funnier and either used celebrities better – Uber Eats Teaser was brilliant! I wish the stories were more succinct or they actually used a product feature in a great way. Hats off to Google Pixel for doing just that.

Daniel Sparkes, creative lead, Bullfrog

Right now it would be DoorDash.

A smart promotion that extends outside of the TV and into the real world. A literal product demonstration levelled up in a big way.


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