Super Bowl commercials

Move Over Football, We’re Here for the Commercials

Super Bowl commercials have evolved in numerous ways over the years to the point they’ve (almost? probably?) eclipsed the grandeur of the game itself. As advertisers, we love the yearly spectacle of taking in the best our industry has to offer, all within the span of a few hours. We also love to analyze our favorite spots from the game and dig deeper into the strategies behind them and why they captivated us so much.

We handed out our own awards for several commercials from the big game that grabbed our team’s attention, along with our Anderson Partners’ takeaways from the smart thinking behind them.

1. The “selling your brand and something bigger” award

Going beyond selling a product and capturing the resiliency of the human spirit caught our eye this year. From supporting confidence to promoting accessibility, we were here for commercials that were altruistic but not over-the-top.

Dove’s commercial featuring girls in sports is part of the brand’s Self-Esteem Project, an effort from the brand to go beyond and support women’s body positivity. The #KeepHerConfident and the call to action of joining the Body Confident Sports program combine selling a product and promoting something to better the world.

A man with low vision records his life with the aid of Guided Frame, a new feature of the Google Pixel. Google has been doing a great job promoting the features—and benefits—of its Pixel phone recently, and this is another great example of that.

The Takeaway: Spots like these can inspire people, creating a positive halo for your brand. When creating content, plan for accessibility to be inclusive and give equal access to everyone.

2. The “outrageous CTA” award

Our team was wondering how creative some brands would get with their CTAs. We didn’t see the number of QR codes we expected, but one ad stood out above the others in its CTA.

Doordash ran a sweepstakes in the 4th quarter that would give a winner pretty much everything featured in all the SB commercials. Entrants needed to key in the very, very long promo code featured in the commercial at (We’re wondering, with the close game, how many people actually went back to this spot to enter that code?)

The AP Takeaway: Have a CTA that makes consumers want to interact with your brand RIGHT NOW. Viewers have the power to take immediate action with their mobile devices when the message is fresh in their minds. A sense of urgency captures the “gotta-have-it” mentality of consumers.

3. The “what’s old is new again” award

Whether it’s reviving a past campaign, drawing from pop culture of the past or featuring your brand’s own storied history, revisiting past successes can resonate with an older audience that fondly remembers their youth and introduces a brand to a younger generation. Here are a couple that got our attention:

Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t quite nail the ‘r’ of ‘neighbor’ in the brand’s classic tagline. So Danny DeVito is brought in to help, bringing the Twins movie actors back together for a great spot.  

E*Trade rolled out their talking toddlers campaign once again, showing them trash-talking during a friendly game of pickleball.

The AP Takeaway: Always consider your demographic when utilizing nostalgia with your advertising. This strategy gives you opportunities to showcase your brand to new consumers and older generations.

4. The “unique approach” award

An unexpected direction can set you apart from the competition, and if you’re advertising during the SB, you’d better aim to set your brand apart. Here are some commercials that took a different approach to their subject matter.

How do you make an audience feel good about a giant pharmaceutical? You show how that pharmaceutical brings people hope in the fight against cancer. Pairing a classic Queen song to history’s greatest thinkers ended up being just plain fun.

The Taylor Swift influence at play here, which features a teenage girl bonding with her NFL fan dad thanks to the singer’s intersection between pop culture and sports.

The AP Takeaway: A humorous tone is often the default for many SB spots, but some brands caught our attention by giving us something unexpected. Whether it’s digital or print, B2B or B2C, advertising is all about capturing the attention of a person with the right tone and personality that aligns with your brand and campaign.

5. The “we don’t need celebrities to make a great commercial” award

A great concept will always win, even without the need for celebrities or famous pop songs. These spots showed that the right idea, executed properly, will resonate with your audience.

Here, we see the experience of receiving a great gift, but instead of feeling good, you feel anxiety that the gift you give isn’t up to par. Etsy could’ve gone the sentimental route to promote their “gift mode” but went with smart humor for a great commercial.

 The streaming service commercial featured a Pluto farmer who grows–of course–couch potatoes! The imagery of fields of people in potato costumes who sit on couches and watch streaming shows … loved it!

The AP Takeaway: Your campaign should stand alone without having to rely on pop culture or gimmicks. Conceptualizing a strong strategy from the get-go and building out the right campaign is important.

Make that first impression count by setting goals and being strategic. If you need help launching a new product, rebranding or strategizing a campaign, contact the experts.