The five most creative Super Bowl ads include work from Joshua Kissi and Grey New York
The ad market is as competitive as the playoff this year, with spots fetching a record $7 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Here’s how some brands set themselves apart.
- Liz Gorny
- 14 February 2022
Finding a way to even the playing field (I know, I promise I won’t say any ads scored a touchdown) as a brand at Super Bowl is a tricky – and expensive – business. Before brands even shed out the record $7 million NBC is charging for 30 seconds of ad airtime, they have to funnel money into production. With a spot from Squarespace featuring both Zendaya and Andre 3000, and Booking.com featuring Idris Elba this year, the 2022 Super Bowl truly feels like the year of the celebrity appearance, meaning there's even more pressure to spend big. As ever, brands were doing whatever they could to take up space and stretch out each precious second of airtime – crisp brand Lay’s even highlighted the strangeness of creating a teaser trailer for an ad.
While there are a number of ways a brand can go, including the well-worn path of bagging a recognisable yet unexpected celebrity appearance, money can’t get you all the way there. The ones that stood out amongst the white noise this year relied on great storytelling, clever ideas, creative production and just being properly funny.
Lucky Generals: Amazon, Mind Reader
Lucky Generals Mind Reader for Amazon’s Alexa is a popular favourite amongst this year’s contenders. The ad agency continues its run of collaborations with the tech giant, which is now apparently the biggest advertiser in history, with a spot featuring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost. The advert sees the couple imagine what would happen if Alexa could read minds, following the success of a previous Lucky General’s ad in which Alexa lost her voice.
Grey New York: Pringles, Stuck In
Inspired by the research that 43 percent of consumers have apparently had their hand stuck in a Pringles tube while reaching for the last crisp, Pringles have created its Super Bowl entry around the phenomenon this year. Grey New York is the agency behind the spot, where a man lives out his entire life with his hand trapped in a Pringles tube. Encouraging buyers that Pringles are worth the risk, the ad is brilliantly called: Stuck In.
Anomaly: Meta, Old Friends. New Fun.
The 80s, animatronic animals and the metaverse collide with Meta’s spot for Super Bowl. Made by Anomaly, Old Friends. New Fun. uses nostalgia to introduce the metaverse as four animal friends, who used to play in a band together, reconnect again in the virtual world. The concept may not be the most solid – with many viewers claiming the ad is actually pretty bleak – but the use of animatronics combined with an animated interpretation of the metaverse makes for crucial viewing, not least an example of how the changing tide of tech hopes to market itself.
Gut Agency and Joshua Kissi: Google Pixel, Real Tone
Directed by Joshua Kissi and featuring Lizzo, Real Tone from Google highlights the importance of photography that accurately captures diverse skin tones, based around the premise that: “historically, camera technology hasn’t accurately represented darker skin tones.” To introduce Real Tone tech on Google Pixel 6, which is designed to counteract this issue, Google shows a range of simple yet beautiful photographs taken on the Pixel 6 at various key moments in a person’s life.
Special Group: Uber, Uber Don’t Eats
This is how you do big name-based ads well. In a temporary Super Bowl rebrand for Uber Eats titled Uber Don’t Eats, a selection of celebrities try to eat a variety of inedible objects delivered by Uber. It was a genuine tough call trying to pick between Gwyneth Paltrow eating her candles and Jennifer Coolidge eating lipstick. Amongst the fast-paced world of Super Bowl antics, it’s refreshing just to watch a celebrity eating something weird.
Grey Group: Pringles, Stuck In (Copyright © Pringles, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.