I’m prepared to eat my words, but Super Bowl LIV likely won’t be remembered as a classic. It was a fine but not exactly thrilling game. Kansas City’s 50-year Super Bowl drought and Andy Reid finally winning the Big Game seem to be bigger stories than anything that happened on the field. The halftime show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, however, was great, and the best since Beyonce broke the mold in 2013. The other big part of the Super Bowl, the commercials, they all seemed a bit . . . smaller this year. The prices for a 30-second spot reached new heights, commanding $5.6 million. With such a huge investment, most brands seemed to play it safer this year. I doubt we’ll be repeating any taglines a year from now (or even a couple days from now), but there were some strong ads.
Here are our picks for the best ads of Super Bowl LIV.
Jeep: "Groundhog Day"
What we liked: The timing is impeccable (and lucky). If this was more than a week away from Groundhog Day, this ad wouldn’t hit in the same way. But hit it does. Just like the film, Bill Murray owns the screen, and flipping the script so that he welcomes each new day is delightful. The groundhog and his little outfits don’t hurt either. This is an ad we’ll watch more than once.
WeatherTech: "The Lucky Dog"
What we liked: Scout! Good dogs are the best. This commercial is one of the more unusual ads in recent memory. We haven’t seen an individual spend on an ad that wasn’t political in nature. It’s not an ad FOR WeatherTech explicitly, although it still very much is. It’s the connection of a brand to doing good work without being too heavy-handed, so it can elevate the cause and the brand without too much cynicism. The ad wasn’t too ambitious in substance but quite ambitious in its goal. An ad like this was expensive gamble to make for some high-profile attention to a cause. We hope it works out and that more good dogs get to live longer, healthier lives.
Doritos: “The Cool Ranch”
What we liked: The cast. The moves. The song. It worked. Lil Nas X created a brainworm that we won’t be able to shake for a long time. We can almost believe Sam Elliott actually danced in the spot. Look at him in the Big Lebowski and look at him in this ad. The man looks the same despite the passage of 22 years. He seems immortal.
Hyundai: “Smaht Pahk”
What we liked: Maybe it’s a regional thing because a good chunk of our team comes from New England, or maybe it’s because overdone Boston accents are objectively funny. Either way, this ad from Hyundai made us smile. We were left with a moral question, however. Just because one CAN park close, does that mean that one SHOULD park close?