Like sweet and spicy, bourbon and water, the Super Bowl/advertising experience is about entertainment that balances 3 ½ hours of immersive content. Humor, when done well, challenges nostalgia (the ads were rife with it) and emotionality as a core response. The KingFish team collaborated to share their perspectives on the brands that successfully took advantage of their Super Bowl commercial limelight, and others that missed the mark.
What Caught our Eye...
State Farm: Like a Good Neighbaa
By: Julio Colon, Digital Account Manager
State Farm could not have chosen a better celebrity to play Agent State Farm in the Agent State Farm movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger's inability to nail the slogan offers several moments of laughter throughout the :60 spot due to his thick Austrian accent. State Farm’s slogan, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” has been made memorable in recent years by the brands series of unfortunate event commercials featuring now Golden State Warriors, Point Guard, Chris Paul. This year's Super Bowl spot continues to convey the brand's commitment to reassurance in the face of adversity by pivoting from Arnold as the lead star in the film and having Danny Devito step in and save the day, like a good neighbaa.
Verizon - Can't B Broken
By: Cam Brown, Founder & CEO
Verizon’s offering with Beyonce featured an epic production that was worth the watch even without the dry responses of straight-man Tony Hale. But he’s Buster, and everyone knows it. Which is why it worked. Verizon wins.
Dunkin' Donuts - The DunKings
By: Scot Forbes, Creative Director
Maybe we’re biased here in New England, but the latest Dunkin’ saga featuring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez stole the show for me, solidifying Dunkin' Donuts' position as not just a purveyor of coffee and donuts, but also a key player in pop culture.
In this glorious spectacle, Ben Affleck crashes into the recording studio to surprise his singer-songwriter wife, Jennifer Lopez. But this wasn’t just any recording session—it was the birth of “the DunKings”. Wearing matching outrageous pink, orange, and white Dunkin’ tracksuits (complete with Red Sox logos), this boy band supergroup is revealed to include other Boston legends. No, not the New Kids on the Block, but Tom Brady spinning beats as “Touchdown Tommy” and Matt Damon offering his reluctant support (with a nod to his Good Will Hunting days)—with a Dunkin’ beverage in hand, of course. Lopez, playing along perfectly as the annoyed wife, was not impressed with the dismal performance. Hilariously, she offers Brady to stay after Affleck and Damon leave in shame.
Dunkin' advertising seems to effortlessly capture the essence of its Boston heritage, wit, and charm, seamlessly intertwining the city's rich cultural fabric with its brand identity.
As promised in Affleck’s final words, the DunKings’ signature beverage, a real iced coffee, hits stores today, prompting many, myself included, to make a run to the nearest Dunkin' to purchase. As a surprise bonus, exclusive “DunKings” merch (including the hideous track suits!) were made available on shopdunkin.com which immediately sold out within an hour of release. I hate to admit it, but had I scored one, I would totally wear that jacket. Kudos to Dunkin’ for yet another vital hit.
Disney+ - Well Said
By: Erica Lashua, Account Management Intern
Disney+ kept it sweet & simple for this year’s Super Bowl spot. The :30 commercial was nostalgic to viewers typing out some of the most classic Disney movie quotes and ended with a subtle nod to all the Swifties tuning in. Changing from a white to black background featuring “...Ready for It?” remarking on Swift’s popular track of the reputation album. The streaming service was recently announced to be hosting the highly acclaimed Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour movie. Disney+ was strategic in recognizing the new audience of young fans watching while also noting others may be over the Taylor talk. For Disney+, the commercial immediately created buzz for online debate regarding if the clip is a possible easter egg teasing at the highly anticipated reputation (Taylor’s Version). The “if you know you know” moment was well executed for the brand and highly enjoyed by many.
Dove - It's the Hard Knock Life
By: Maria Hanchuk, Project Manager
Every year, Dove continues to resonate emotionally with its body positivity campaign, and two decades after the campaign's launch they have secured a spot in the Super Bowl. The use of what seems to be authentic videos captured by the public, Dove showcases young girls' ability to fail in their respective sport but ultimately conveys that failure is not the reason for young girls quitting. By leveraging the iconic song "It's The Hard Knock Life" from the musical Annie, Dove exposes the reality of young girls quitting sports due to poor body image and low self-esteem
This was a clever tactic not only to align with the theme of their past commercials but also to connect with a younger demographic audience and their parents. It is also important to note that this was a way to launch their partnership with Nike and the ‘Body Confident Sport’ program. Dove's emotional strategy positions them to garner greater customer loyalty compared to their competitors while also conveying a positive and, in some cases, life-changing message.
Budweiser - Old School Delivery
By: Rosemary Poppe, Digital Account Manager
Budweiser’s Old School Delivery, set in a snow-covered mountain town, makes you warm and fuzzy all over. The return of Budweiser’s signature Clydesdales and their best bud (pun intended), a friendly yellow lab, pull on our nostalgic heartstrings. The eagerness of the animals to help sends a clear message that Bud, and its customers, are worth any harrowing journey.
The drivers receive a hero’s welcome when they arrive at the bar with a wagon full of Bud, allowing Budweiser to convey its appreciation for its distributors. The perspective into the Budweiser supply chain encourages viewers to see Budweiser as more than just a beer or a brand – but as a sum of many hardworking parts (people) – and thus, quintessentially American.
From a marketing perspective, viewers absorb over 10 clear impressions of the Budweiser name and the chosen song reminds us that Bud is exactly what we need to “take a load off” and relax. In direct comparison to many of the Super Bowl commercials featuring well known human celebrities, Budweiser’s celebrities are its Clydesdales – four-legged friends who are guaranteed to please viewers.
Fun fact: the yellow lab featured in this commercial is named Roy Hawn Russel and belongs to none other than celebrity couple, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel.
Bud Light - Easy Night Out
By: Ariele Lee, Lead Designer
This commercial had a lot of potential to be incredibly clever. The ad itself was a standard, run-of-the-mill premise including a wish-granting-genie that ends with the characters wishing to go to the Super Bowl. However, at the conclusion of the ad they cut to a live feed of the game and a few of the actors/celebrities were in the stands in character and costume, continuing the concept as if the story were actually happening. The moment was surprising and clever, bleeding a silly idea into the real word for added impact.
However, the shot didn’t linger enough for the other people at my super bowl party to recognize the characters or understand the concept was continuing to play out. Seemed like a missed opportunity to do some sort of real-world PR, experiential story design to the campaign, maybe cutting back and forth between the real world and the ad world, or ending the ad story within the stands itself, or even just lingering on each character a little longer. However, the cut was a little too unmemorable, and a little too short. Props to the creative team for the idea! It just needed a little extra push at execution which is where they probably ran into logistical issues that inhibited the final outcome.