My 6 Favorite Super Bowl Spots of 2024

With so many overstuffed ads, the best ones kept it simple.

4 min readFeb 12, 2024

--

Saturday morning, I got woken up at 5:30 a.m. by screaming skunks.

Turns out, February is skunk mating season, the underside of our backyard deck seems to be a hot hang-out spot, and two fellas were likely fighting for the affection of one lady skunk.

The end result? My entire house is now marinating in skunk funk.

I mention this for two reasons. 1.) My opinions of the Super Bowl ads may be influenced by the noxious fumes and 2.) It’s pretty easy to wander in, uninvited, and spray your stink everywhere.

And that’s what ad criticism boils down to: your own stinkin’ opinion.

This year, I managed to avoid all the teasers and pre-releases and watch the broadcast with fresh eyes. Ads play differently in the flow of the game; context matters.

IMHO, none of the spots from Super Bowl LVIII will enter the pantheon of “all-timers.” But there were some that worked better than others.

Too Many Overstuffed Ads

Before I share my faves, here is my biggest gripe:

Too many of the ads felt like 90-second spots that had been chopped to hell to fit into 30-second slots.

They were overstuffed with ideas, shots, dialogue, and celebrities. Some were so kinetic, I missed what they were saying. (OK Boomer.)

Many reminded me of PowerPoint slides that have WAY too many words on them. (I’m betting that’s what a lot the briefing decks looked like.)

We know you’re spending $7M for 30 seconds, plus production costs and that celeb salary and all the other promo dollars…but saying more isn’t the way to get people to remember more.

What’s the ONE thing you want your audience to take away? Focus on that and simplify.

Below are the ones that did that best.

Reese’s

The Reese’s spot was one of the few this year not to feature a celebrity and it was better for it. It let the product news (now with caramel) be the hero. (It’s sort of bonkers that we’re at a point in advertising where simply focusing on the product news is considered revolutionary, but here we are.)

It was well-constructed as a :30 (not a cutdown of a longer spot) with a simple structure and good gags that let the over-the-top humor shine.

CeraVe

I know the Michael Cera ad was an ad that ad people are supposed to like…but I still liked it. It’s corny and silly — of course the actor didn’t create the skin care line. But the 30-second spot doubled-down on its one joke and didn’t try to do too much more.

Where the campaign really shined was in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, with a clever social/stunt/PR/influencer campaign where the actor was spotted out “in the wild” signing bottles in a drug store and handing out samples to strangers.

You can read the details about THAT part of the campaign in this Glamour piece entitled, “More little weirdos in beauty campaigns, please.” And this piece has some good behind-the-scenes scoop.

Google

Google does “emotional product demo” better than anybody. No, this one doesn’t rise to the level of a classic like “Dear Sophie,” but it shows off tech that makes life a little better for people with blindness and low vision. The line “three faces in frame” is a lovely payoff at the end.

Etsy

Etsy’s spot felt “Super Bowl big” without trying to do too much. It stayed focused on the main message: Etsy is good for the hard-to-find gift. Also, points for no celebs and the absurdist historical “realism.”

Volkswagen

VW opts for pure nostalgia and a 1971 Neil Diamond track, but when an anthem is this well-crafted, you don’t mind. We appreciate the fact that they didn’t tart it up with a manifesto VO that it didn’t need.

Dunkin’

There was WAY too much use of celebrities across the board (PSA: celebrity is not an idea, brands) but Dunkin’ probably made the best use of their famous faces. Affleck is over the top, JLo keeps the thing grounded, and Matt Damon knows how dumb the thing is so we can laugh at the stupidity.

Head-to-Head Battles

In the battle of the Flashdance songs, I think Nerds beat T-Mobile.

In the battle of the Tom Brady spots, I liked Dunkin’ over BetMGM.

In the battle for GenZ, I liked the Snapchat ad; it felt young and fresh…but then it got stuck in the same pod as the Poppi ad that had a similar vibe and stole some thunder.

In the battle between Taylor and Beyoncé for biggest-musical-presence-at-the-game-without-doing-the-halftime-show, I’m calling a tie. Taylor handled the million cutaway shots to her with grace and Queen B used an epic Verizon ad to announce her new album.

In the battle of brand hijacks to grab SB attention without spending an SB budget, I liked Liquid Death selling space on their packaging (and this company that hijacked their hijack.)

In the battle of the Jesus ads, I think Jesus probably would have rather the money got spent on the poor.

Watch ALL the 2024 Super Bowl Spots

BONUS: Read the story of the Super Bowl spot that I couldn’t sell 14 years ago that still haunts me to this day.

John Kovacevich is a creative director and the founder of Agency SOS. He writes a weekly email highlighting three bits of creative inspiration for modern marketers. You should subscribe; it’s free and it’s good.

--

--