Super Bowl Rundown


Well, the Super Bowl has come and gone. The football world is already looking forward to the next NFL Draft, and the rest of the world has new challenges. But before we all move on from this year’s big game, we’d like to take just one more moment to talk marketing—what all of us involved in the pursuit can take away.

The Big Game—Unmasked

The Super Bowl ads of 2022 could not have felt more different than those from 2021. Flipping a switch from the sentimental ads of last year’s mid-pandemic Super Bowl, nearly all commercials this year were upbeat, with many choosing to ignore (or at least temporarily suspend) references to the pandemic altogether.

Many people who watched the Super Bowl this year were hoping for a normal sporting event attune to something pre-pandemic-one of the main reasons this Super Bowl was the most watched in five years. The other reason was, of course, the ads. Well at least that’s what us marketing folks would like to believe. So what caught our eye at RO3?

Biggest Reaction

Coinbase – “QR Code”

While other companies elected for over-the-top celebrity spots, Coinbase remembered that sometimes less is more. Unlike any Super Bowl commercial before it, Coinbase caught attention with a :60 ad with a colorful, bouncing QR code. We kept waiting for something akin to the E-Trade ad of the past where they showed a monkey playing the drums for 30 seconds, then said, “well, we just wasted $2 million. What are you doing with your money?” Many of us loved that old ad for its irreverence, but we liked Coinbase simply for the fact that … they tried it.

For every, “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if …” discussion that no doubt took place as advertisers considered how to spend their money, most defaulted to tried and true—or just plain tired—formulas. The celeb spots, the reverential Clydesdale-Americana, the bazillion-dollar movie trailers.

CoinbCoinbase took a risk and whether it ultimately was a great idea or not, it propelled a conversation. Goal achieved. Money well spent.

Best Laugh

Pringles – “Stuck In”

We’re all for a brand poking fun at itself, and we think Pringles did it in the perfect way by building their commercial around a minor inconvenience that everyone who has ever eaten Pringles can relate to. Who hasn’t gotten their hand stuck in the half-empty tube as they struggled to pull a Pringle out?

What we loved about this ad is that it was, unapologetically, an ad. A laugh. Yay! In this era of advertising as digital plumbing, focused on delivery more than concept, this was a pleasure. And we think it probably worked pretty well for Pringles.

They simply looked at an ownable element of their product and created a story around it. That’s something every advertising conversation should start with: What differentiates us? What can we say about our widget than no one else can say about theirs? Pringles found the perfect balance of not taking themselves too seriously and not reaching too far.

Most Ambitious Swing … And a Miss

Salesforce – “The New Frontier”

A timely message about the environment is something we can all get behind. But this one just didn’t click entirely for our panel of judges. Matthew McConaughey offered a fun delivery, but the ad felt a bit too “worthy.” And the click-through quickly got down to business. A little too quickly.

The webpage they directed us to flashes corporate lingo and conveniently sews in customer success stories and ways they’re innovating in the industry, completely unrelated to climate change. It is easy for consumers to feel out whether a company is being authentic through their advertising, and this is an example of shifting gears too quickly, in our view.

And who are we to judge? Great question. We’re just another voice in the marketing-sphere thinking out And who are we to judge? Great question. We’re just another voice in the marketing-sphere thinking out loud. What do you think about this year’s big game and big ads? We’d love to hear your point of view as well!