As thetook on the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s thriller, some of the world’s top brands also sought to score points with viewers. Here are the best and worst commercials that aired in the 2024 game, according to experts.
The best-ranked ads included spots from Google, Dove and CeraVe, according to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which each year grades commercials in its Super Bowl Advertising Review.
As usual, advertisers had a lot on the line, with brands payingto reach an audience that was expected to top 100 million viewers. Not every ad scored a touchdown, and a few fumbled the ball.
“The majority of ads were lighthearted, with a few brands that dug deeper, like Dove and Google, ” said Derek Rucker, a Kellogg professor and co-lead of the school’s ad review.
A memorable 1999 Super Bowl ad for Just for Feet, which was called racist and tone deaf.can not only elevate a brand, but help create a narrative around a product that helps change how consumers perceive it. Four decades ago, for example, Apple’s iconic “ ” commercial famously helped the fledgling tech company cement the Macintosh as a hipper personal computer that rivaled IBM’s hardware. At the same time, a clunky or insensitive ad can seriously tarnish a brand, such as the infamous
“It’s not just showing up at the Super Bowl that generates value for the brand,” but making an ad that resonates with viewers, Rucker said. “There are some brands that showed up, but you and I will forget about them the next day.”
“When the costs are as high as the Super Bowl, that’s really dangerous,” he said.
The overall tone of this year’s crop of ads leaned into nostalgia, noted Amy Chen, director of experience at brand company Siegel+Gale. That was especially clear in this year’s beer ads, including Bud Light’s star-studded humorous spot, marking the company’s return to the Super Bowl since the it suffered last year due to a marketing partnership with transgender social media star Dylan Mulvaney, she added.
“Super Bowl commercials are often a reflection of the time,” Chen said. “Especially it being an election year, no one wants to get too in the weeds on sticky subjects.”
The Kellogg ratings, which range from A to F, measures ads based on marketing qualities such as distinction and positioning, with a panel of business students applying the metrics to the ads. In other words, the ratings view the ads through the lens of whether the commercials helped boost the brand, rather than through their popularity with viewers.
None of the ads in the 2024 Super Bowl received an “F” rating from the panel this year — but several were given Ds.
Google’s spot for its Google Pixel camera showed a man with a visual impairment as he used the technology to take photos of himself and his family. The ad was “powerful” because it “linked tech with emotion,” Rucker said.
The Google Pixel ad was given an A rating by the Kellogg panel.
This ad for CeraVe skincare products showed actor Michael Cera claiming that he developed its moisturizing cream — after all, the product includes his last name. The humorous spot underscores that dermatologists, not Cera, actually developed the moisturizer.
“That was a personal favorite because that was so well done,” Rucker said. “I wasn’t really familiar with the product, but I got a sense of what they do.”
CeraVe received an A from the panel.
The candy brand used its Super Bowl spot to highlight a new twist to the product: Peanut butter cups with caramel. With a voice-over by actor Will Arnett, the brand took fans through an emotional ride as Arnett told them about the changes coming to the candy, while assuring them that the classic Reese’s will still be available.
The ad received an A from the Kellogg review.
The carmaker featured a nostalgic view of its vehicles throughout the decades in America, from the introduction of the VW bug to its iconic bus. The end of the spot also introduced Volkswagen’s inew electric minibus, the ID.buzz, all set to the sound of “I Am… I Said” by Neil Diamond.
This ad also received an A from the rankings.
Actor Jenna Ortega shops at a grocery store with two older ladies, Dina and Mita, who kick into action when actor Danny Ramirez snags the last bag of Doritos Dinamita from the shelf. The older women jump into action-hero mode to retrieve the snack from Ramirez.
The spot reflects a trend toward more multicultural representation in Super Bowl ads this year, including more Latino actors and themes, noted Chen of Siegel+Gale.
This glitzy ad featured singer Beyoncé as she tried to “break” Verizon with a series of announcements, including “Beyonc-AI” and a campaign to run for “Beyoncé of the United States” (BOTUS) — and ended with the.
The ad drove a surge in social engagement, making it the top Instagram post of the night, according to ComScore.
Microsoft’sdepicts people using their mobile phones to access Copilot, the AI assistant Microsoft rolled out last year, as they automate a variety of tasks, from generating snippets of computer code to creating digital art.
The ad was geared to introduce Microsoft’s AI capabilities to consumers, who might be more familiar with its work apps like Microsoft Word.
“It doesn’t get in the funky territory of what generative AI can do to displace people — it was a really smart spot,” noted Chen.
Dove’s ad continues with its long-running theme of body positivity and acceptance, focusing on the challenges that girls face in losing confidence while participating in sports.
“Dove is about empowering women, so that’s a nice continuation of the theme,” Rucker said of the ad. In his view, it was one of the few Super Bowl ads that dug deeper into a big issue.
Best: Mountain Dew
Actor Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation” puts her deadpan delivery to work as she drinks Mountain Dew, whose tagline “having a blast.” The ad underscores that drinking Mountain Dew, or MTN DEW as owner PepsiCo now styles it, can enliven any situation. The ending also has a cameo by one of her “Parks and Recreation” co-stars.
This spot features “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon as her cat “speaks” the word “mayo” when she’s trying to figure out what to cook. Her cat goes viral, sparking people’s interest in cooking with mayo.
This spot highlights the craft marketplace’s new “gift mode,” a service that helps shoppers pick gifts, through the tale of Americans trying to find a thank you present for France in exchange for the Statue of Liberty.
Best: Uber Eats
This ad promoted the idea that Uber Eats delivers more than food, and included some major star power with actors Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer of “Friends” fame. The idea is that to remember something, you have to forget something.
“The product is centered throughout the entire thing, and they are messaging the idea they can deliver many things,” Rucker said.
Temu ran the same spot several times during the Super Bowl, an animated commercial that showed people receiving low-priced items from the Chinese shopping app, which befuddled some viewers and prompted the Washington Post to complain, “Just the same lame ad, over and over.”
This ad received a D rating from the Kellogg panel.
Homes.com featured three spots, starring actor Dan Levy from “Schitt’s Creek,” during the Super Bowl, but failed to convey to viewers what its benefit was, the Kellogg panel said. Homes.com was one of 11 brands to receive a D grade from the panel, its lowest score this year.
“The ads just seemed a little all over the place,” Rucker said.
This ad looked flashy and had a cameo from Martin Scorsese, but it failed to connect the dots between the company’s services and the commercial. The commercial depicted an alien invasion of Earth, but humans are too wrapped up in their phones to notice.
Worst: Bass Pro Shops
This ad highlighted the affordability of boats sold by Bass Pro Shops, but it didn’t win over fans for artistry. Indeed, the New York Times said the ad seemed “as if made for local late-night” television.
Snapchat’s ad told viewers that it’s not like other social media services — it’s not only about “likes.” But the ad was frenetic and full of social media memes, which perhaps undercut its message.
The classic ice cream brand marked its Super Bowl debut with a spot featuring comedian Eric André, who falls ill on a plane. When the crew asks if a doctor is on board, “Dr. Umstick” speaks up, but he notes he’s not a “body doctor.” Instead, he gives everyone ice cream cones — while André is left in pain.
This “Westworld”-like spot features a town in the Old West that’s invaded by robots — a metaphor for hackers coming to steal your information or ruin your computer. The ad showed the “[l]east exciting showdown ever,” sniped the New York Times.
Worst: He Gets Us
These religious-themed ads are linked to a nonprofit called Come Near, whose goal is “sharing the life and love of Jesus in thought-provoking new ways,” according to USA Today. One of the ads features people washing other people’s feet, a reference to Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
However, the ad became the brunt of social media jokes about foot fetishes, perhaps not the intended goal of the ad.
One spot featured former Patriots player Rob Gronkowski as he misses a field goal, leading to some bettors winning and others losing. The New York Times’ assessment: “Lame right.”
Worst: American Values 2024
This ad was from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s super PAC, which aired a 30-second ad about the. The relied on slogans, clips and a jingle that leaned into the legacy of his uncle, former President John F. Kennedy, which sparked complaints from some members of Kennedy’s family for his use of family images.
Best and worst commercials in the Super Bowl 2024, ranked
Here are the ads by grade, according to Kellogg.
- Mountain Dew
- Uber Eats
- Youtube TV
- Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism
- Michelob Ultra
- State Farm
- Turbo Tax
- Bud Light
- Coors Light
- Pluto TV
- Bass Pro Shops
- He Gets Us
- American Values 2024