Super Bowl – the only time our industry is genuinely interested in American football. Super Bowl’s commercials are awaited all year-round, and this puts a lot of pressure on brands & agencies. But so far, so good – this year came with a lot of smart jokes, technology, and inclusiveness from the brands, and this can only make our creative souls happy.
These commercials have already gone through all the possible classifications, tops, lists, criteria and so on. But this won’t be another piece about top 10 Super Bowl Ads. Instead, we want to see who are the people behind these ads, so we can keep an eye on their work until we get another dose of creativity next year.
1. Goodby Silverstein & Partners teamed up with Cardi B, Lil Jon & Steve Carell for Pepsi
Is the Coke vs. Pepsi war over? Will we ever be able to make “Is Pepsi OK?” jokes again? Goodby Silverstein & Partners managed to make us want a nice cold glass of Pepsi right away. Steve Carell made us put an equal sign between puppies and Pepsi, and Cardi B found the superlative for OK. And that’s OKRRR!
You can see how everything was planned long before the official release. Pepsi gave us a glimpse of what was going to happen with two awesome teasers. And teasers automatically mean involving the digital team to adapt the content to the channel, the creatives again to define what makes a good teaser. It’s basically a whole other campaign with different shots, different plans, and scripts. So yes, the logistics were hard, and I’m pretty sure the team involved is in the Maldives right about now.
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
2. Lucky Generals and D1 chose Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, and the Kelly Brothers for Amazon
One internal creative agency (D1), one big agency (Lucky Generals), and a lot of actors show you how Alexa takes many forms nowadays, but great success has a lot of trial fails. With this ad, the agencies make you witness Amazon’s darkest secrets: some projects fail big time, but Alexa is prevailing. And so should you.
A lot of stars for one commercial. Did Amazon just break the record of the most famous actors in one ad? We all love actors in ads but the truth is, we rarely stop to think how complicated that is. So many agents, so many views, so many brands, so many people. For Harrison Ford to appear for even a second in an ad, weeks of professionals are spent thinking and debating that second. Point is, they truly deserve a round of applause because working with celebrities is not easy, but it brings a lot of awareness, studies show.
Agencies: Lucky Generals and D1
Client: Amazon – Alexa
3. Innocean & Jason Bateman for Hyundai
In a world where everybody goes down, Hyundai customers are going up. Innocean chose James Bateman as the operator for the elevator from Hell. This funny, yet controversial campaign takes you through all levels of cringe. From a root canal to the middle seat on an airplane, or “the talk”, portray everybody’s nightmares. But when it comes to buying a car, Hyundai and Innocean make it heavenly good.
I think the team who thought about all the bad in the world and put it nicely on display should get a raise. But the true hero of this ad is the casting team: people in the elevator, people on a plane, people everywhere. And everybody played his or her part just right.
4. An entire crew teamed up for Bumble: FlyteVu, VMLY&R, Little Minx, A.V. Rockwell, all to put Serena Williams in the spotlight
A lot of women worked for this empowering ad that instantly makes you feel powerful, no matter your gender. The strong Serena Williams delivers an important message to all the women out there: the ball is in your court and you can always be the one who is making the first step. This Bumble ad is totally in the top this year and you can see why.
Did you ever think about how hard it is to get somebody as famous as Serena to associate with your brand? The legal team, brand managers, the PR team negotiating with Serena’s team: well… this is a match I want to see. However, no matter how popular or loved a certain star is at the moment, brands still take a risk when collaborating with them. The product has to be right, the vision has to align, the audience has to be the same as fans, current buyers can’t be haters, and. so. on.
Agencies: FlyteVu, VMLY&R, Little Minx, A.V. Rockwell
5. Michael Bublé (or Bubly) with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for bubly
Everybody loves a good pun and bubly nailed it this year. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the agency who also made the spot for Pepsi, knocked us down with a feather. After you watch this, you won’t even know if you want to hear a song of bubly and drink Bublé or vice-versa.
I wonder if Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ teams had time to work for somebody else, too. They managed to put two of the Pepsi brands in all the Super Bowl tops and the recipe looks the same: associate the brand with celebrities that match the brand. They’re clearly good at aligning brands and understanding what the audience will relate to. And in case we haven’t been clear enough that a Super Bowl ad is so much more than that second, here’s another proof. It seems like when Bubly found Bublé, they made the most of it.
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Client: bubly (Pepsi)
6. JohnXHannes New York feat. 2 Chainz X Adam Scott for Expensify
There are many ads that create an experience that lasts, but Expensify really outdid it this time. This year’s Super Bowl commercial is a music video starring 2 Chainz and Adam Scott where the audience can interact via the Expensify app and win crazy prizes. For sure, this is a system you should keep an eye on.
An ad that is actually a music video takes a lot of research and creative effort. But the true effort here is the brand alignment. Just visualize the two brand teams working together to make sure such an asset fits both brands – Expensify and 2 Chainz.
Agency: JohnXHannes New York
7. Pringles ad by Grey Group
Yet another commercial that proves technology won’t conquer the world because… oh, well, no device can eat Pringles. Grey Group shows a casual night between friends that make their own stack of Pringles. And this is when things become sad because their talking device learned about the concept of flavors but can’t really experiment it. So humans should feel privileged they can eat Pringles whenever they want.
A product-centric commercial from all perspectives surely involves the product team. Any inaccuracies are prone to start some sort of PR crisis. Just imagine if they combined the wrong flavors…
Agency: Grey Group
8. Bud Light and Wieden + Kennedy
Is it OK if you denounce your competitors? Bud Light managed to pass every opponent’s door and beat them with their own… not so secret ingredients. Wieden + Kennedy had a lot of work to do for Super Bowl’s 2019 ads. You can say they had to plan a lot of maneuvers for it that you can also see in the next ad.
Here comes legal again! Because yes, consumers love a good commercial war, but competitors usually don’t – and any legal slip is dangerous. Is this commercial too obvious, could they make it more subtle? For sure, they held some focus groups before to make sure the message is delivered and there is no space for any confusion.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Client: Bud Light
9. Game of Thrones x Bud Light, Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5, and the GoT crew
Ad? Trailer? You don’t even know what hit you after you watch what came out from the collaboration between Game of Thrones and Bud Light. All I can say now is that I love on-spot jokes and this ad-trailer has them all. Medieval times look happier with a beer in your hand… or in your armor.
If marketing departments have a hard time collaborating – imagine working together with a brand like GoT. Writers, directors, PR, brand, movie actors, they have all been on a movie set. And let’s not forget about the CGI team – that dragon isn’t there due to good casting.
Agencies: Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5
Clients: Bud Light, Game of Thrones
10. M:United/McCann New York for Microsoft XBOX
Last but not least, the ad that made us shed tears even before the Super Bowl. This year, there were a lot of commercials that bring awareness and promote inclusiveness, but Microsoft really did it this time. Hopefully, the idea of this ad will stay with us many years from now on.
For sure, this is the most touching ad, but I can only imagine how many debates they had before making it a reality. There must’ve been a constant fear of being offensive or not inclusive or even the risk of associating a brand with the social cause when it’s not a CSR campaign. There must’ve been a lot of research studies and focus groups before implementing the idea. But above all, finding the right kids and families to talk about their difficulties is a lesson we should all learn.
Agency: M:United/McCann New York
Client: Microsoft XBOX
Insights on point, creativity without borders, and a lot of fun are the ingredients of this year’s Super Bowl. This event keeps delivering annually and we are already dreaming about what is going to happen next year. Technology will transform the Super Bowl ads for sure.