Super Bowl Ads: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

Super Bowl 2019

Too many robots, celebrities and cars. Is that what you thought of the 2019 Super Bowl commercials? When it comes to ads, we all have different opinions – even when we’re on the same team, as evidenced by these reviews from our SKAR VPs.

Bar

Greg Ahrens,
Executive VP, Co-Creative Director
Thumbs Up
Bud Light “Special Delivery”
This spot jabbed its competitors, highlighted a product benefit and made me laugh. That’s a rare occurrence these days. The Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” was a close second.

Thumbs Down
Turkish Airlines “The Journey”
Millions of dollars were wasted on this Super Bowl spot. I’ve watched it five times (completely sober) and I still can’t figure out what’s going on.

Bar

Mark Carpenter,
Executive VP, Creative Strategy and Production Services

Thumbs Up
Hyundai “The Elevator”
I judge every piece of advertising by one standard: Does it communicate the main product benefit in the most interesting/entertaining way possible? This Hyundai Shopper Assurance spot promises “transparent pricing, streamlined purchase, 3-day worry-free exchange and test drives that come to you.” This makes car shopping into a great experience, instead of a miserable one – like a root canal, sitting in the middle seat of a six-hour flight and, my favorite, a vegan dinner party (complete with a main dish of “beetloaf”). This commercial is completely on-strategy and completely hilarious.

Thumbs Down
Pepsi “More Than OK”
This one makes me want to drive my car into a tree. Steve Carrell, Lil Jon and Cardi B – three celebrities who go together like jello and roofing nails – scream a bunch of stupid catchphrases without ever stating the product benefit. Why would I want a Pepsi if the restaurant doesn’t serve Coke? Apparently because Pepsi is like “puppies, shooting stars and the laughter of a small child.’’ The agency that produced this should be sued for advertising malpractice.

Bar

Mike Duman
Executive VP, Co-Creative Director

Thumbs Up
Amazon Alexa “Not Everything Makes the Cut”
Why: There are a lot of good reasons to like this ad. It’s clever, it’s funny, the dog is awesome and the music of Queen just adds the finishing touch.

Thumbs Down
Michelob Ultra “Pure Gold”
Why: I hate ads that feature whispering spokespeople. I think it’s a cheap ploy to get attention … and if you’re at a Super Bowl party, that’s the last thing you want to try to listen to.

Bar

Barb Ruser,
Senior VP, Creative Services

Thumbs Up
NFL “100 Year Game”
With Peter Berg directing, this had to be the most fun spot of the whole batch to produce – and subsequently the most fun to watch, which I could do over and over again.

Stella Artois “Change Up the Usual”
This spot caught my attention and won my heart for reviving two unforgettable characters (SJP as Carrie Bradshaw and Jeff Bridges as The Dude). Each is associated with a specific cocktail that each abandoned in favor of this tasty Belgium beer. And then the Most Interesting Man in the World endorsed their choice.

Thumbs Down
Wix.com “Karlie Kloss”
This Karlie ad was more like Karlie ad nauseam.

Bar

Sean Campbell
VP, Business Development and Research

Thumbs Up
Kia Telluride “Give It Everything”
This one got a lot of chatter and mixed reviews, which is often the sign of a good ad. Like the great Chrysler Detroit ads from years past, it was authentic and well-written and told a relatable story that we all love – everyday hardworking people who do “incredible” things (that happen to be in West Point, Georgia … just a few towns over from the site of the Super Bowl). To top it off, the surprisingly good voiceover was recorded in just one take from a young boy who lives in that very town. It doesn’t get much more real than that.

Thumbs Down
Toyota Rav4 Hybrid “Toni Can’t Be Stopped”
Toyota tried too hard with this ad, and I’m not buying it (or the Rav4). You can’t tell me the adversity overcome by Toni, the female football player in the story, is comparable on any level to that of a mere vehicle or car brand.

Bar

Sara Wilson
VP, Account Services and Public Relations

Thumbs Up
Audi e-tron “Cashew”
I thought this was visually appealing, had a good twist, plus closed with good news about the company: One-third of all Audi vehicles will be electrified by 2025.

Pepsi “More Than OK”
Featuring Steve Carrell, Lil Jon and Cardi B, this commercial lived up to its name. The concept showed legs online, supplementing the ad with :06 videos (see Pepsi’s Twitter feed) that pair interesting visuals and provocative questions like, “Is ballin out OK?” or “Is binge watching OK?,” always ending with #pepsimorethanok. Good concept based on a common experience and fun talent.

Thumbs Down
Burger King “#EatLikeAndy”
Expensify “Expensify Th!$”
Bud Light and Game of Thrones “Joust”
Every year I’m surprised by how many companies throw their money down the drain. Burger King’s “#EatLikeAndy” was a complete waste of time. I get that they didn’t want to “transform” the original video, but honestly, they ended up transforming a bunch of money into garbage. Expensify (“Expensify Th!$”) completely wasted Adam Scott. Also, I didn’t get Bud Light’s “Joust” commercial – especially when their symbolic knight is knocked on his butt and crushed by the competition, then torched by the “Game of Thrones” dragon? There has to be a better way to do that tie-in.

See More Articles