Winners of Super Bowl LIV: Commercials

Ashley Averill, Design Editor

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Sunday night’s Super Bowl LIV was an interesting night full of ups, downs, booty shaking, beer and a whole lot of “Pat Mahomes.”

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira put on an energetic halftime show, and the Kansas City Chiefs walked away victorious, beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20, taking home the rings and planning trips to Disney World.

Although the Super Bowl is known for the game itself, ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with its commercials. Growing up, I always parked myself in front of the television, eyes glued to the screen during commercials and took notes on which ones I liked best.

Flash forward to now, and I’m still obsessed with those gameday ads. The only difference is I’ve upgraded from a notepad to printed spreadsheets. This year was no different and shortly before kickoff, I had my 10-category spreadsheet ready to go.

Celebrity endorsements are great, but if the concept and execution is trash, star power can often make an ad worse. Captain America, Rick and Morty, Bill Murray, Post Malone and many more big names graced the small screen, but which ones really stood out?

In 30-60 seconds, an ad can be deemed a golden success or a tremendous failure. In past years, brands like Doritos, Bud Light, Avocados from Mexico and Tide have usually been fan favorites.

With the average 30-second ad costing just under $6 million, which commercials got the bang for their buck? I’ll break it down:

 

Clever humor

Mountain Dew’s “The Shining” spoof with Brian Cranston as John and the twins was hilarious, while the Bud Light golden boy Post Malone’s ad gave me “Inside Out” vibes. Planters killed off then resurrected its anthropomorphic peanut character as a cute baby peanut with the help of KoolAid man’s tears, and now I stan #BabyNut.

I loved Pringles’ collab with Rick and Morty and Walmart’s grocery pickup ad featuring a slew of beloved sci-fi characters.

 

Fumbles

Unfortunately, not all commercials can shine as bright. I’m all for strong women OLAY, but Lily Singh’s “make space for women” was too much. I also didn’t laugh once while John Cena trained Jimmy Fallon for that Michelob Ultra ad. Turbotax made a bad song, and I think Pepsi tried to take a shot at Coca-Cola, but it wasn’t clear. But when Quicken Loans made Aquaman scrawny and bald, that was weird.

J.Lo was robbed, but by A. Rod … kinda and DJ Khaled provided a horrible voiceover, then didn’t even say his name — we all know how much he loves saying it — and Pitbull was there for some reason. I think it was for the Hard Rock’s Vegas Hotel, but it felt more like a fever dream than a Super Bowl commercial.

 

Honorable mentions

SodaStream made Mars water, Hyundai brought together Boston’s own Captain America and Jim from “The Office,” while Verizon and Google hit us in the feels. I was pleasantly surprised with duos like MC Hammer and Cheetos, and Dwight from “The Office” teaming up with Little Caesars.

Sabra Hummus definitely gets points from its millennial and Gen Z market for having TikTokers, a gamer and drag queens star alongside athletes, musicians and reality stars, creating a diverse cast. But come on, why didn’t Charli D’Amelio Renegade?

 

The best of the best

Ultimately, the best commercials were saved for last. Doritos pitted Lil Naz X against Sam Elliott’s ‘stache. Then, mega giant Procter & Gamble gathered its biggest brands, and admittedly the plot isn’t the reason for this ad winning big, but the interactions between P&G’s biggest brands like Mr. Clean, Brawny, the Charmin bears and the Old Spice Man were clever.

My favorite of the night by far was Bill Murray’s adventurous and beautifully nostalgic 61-second “Groundhog Day” remake for the Jeep Gladiator, complete with members of the original cast including Ned. Bill rode around with his adorable little groundhog friend.

Don’t come for me, these were just my opinions. Even if I didn’t like certain ads, there were more brands catering to younger audiences than last year, so I applaud them for trying to reach all equally important markets. My parents turned to me at least four times saying, “Are we supposed to understand this?” Don’t worry about it, Boomer, just watch the game.