Super Bowl LVIII Commercials: The Real Game

No items found.
Mike Upchurch
No items found.
Published on Feb 14, 2024

Flashiest Moves
Doritos: When your spot manages to evoke Tony Scott, Buster Keaton, and Jackie Chan in just 30 seconds, you’re delivering a lot of splash and power. Superb art direction and cinematography that were perfectly paced and then all tied up with a punchy tagline? That’s too much dazzle for the defense.
First down.

Goal Line Fumble
Pfizer: The first 90% of this spot defied expectations from Big Pharma with an unexpectedly upbeat, cheeky choice of song and an inspired way to depict the company’s long, storied history without being ponderous—none of the usual safe, sentimental, “human-centric” heartstring tugging here. But the attempted connection to cancer at the end was a whiplash-inducing switch in tone that was completely disconnected contextually. Kudos for going for it. Too bad about the audible at the end.

Smartest Play Call
UberEats: Sometimes, the simplest insight is the most effective. We’ve all forgotten that one little thing on our shopping list when prepping for a meal or an event. When your strategy starts from a clear understanding of your goal, you’ve got to work hard to screw it up. Benchwarmers probably could’ve punched this idea through, but when you’re in the Super Bowl, you bring in the All-Stars.

Emptiest Trick Play
State Farm: Hahahaha! Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t pronounce “neighbor!” Get it? No? Okay, here’s the same joke 20 more times with bigger explosions. You can’t evade the defense by juking in the same direction over and over. Instead of getting around the linebacker, you just make him laugh. And will he remember your name and number after the game’s over? Doubtful.
Punt. (Okay, the bit with the sheep was pretty funny.)

Best Sustained Drive
Kawasaki: Now this is how you get big yardage out of a repeated joke. Commercials for motor vehicles are one homogeneous mass of thrilling, professional-driver-closed-course-do-not-attempt driving that none of us will ever do. But Kawasaki threw in an expertly executed joke, repeatedly raised its stakes with each visual gag, and buttoned it up with a tagline you could see coming a mile away but still delivered.
Field goal.

Best Hail Mary
CeraVe: A campaign concept that hinges on both wordplay and a celebrity? The risk of a dropped cornball and a hacky turnover was high, especially for a brand that has thrived on approachability, but everything comes together perfectly thanks to hilarious writing and the uniquely oddball persona of Michael Cera. This one flew through the many outstretched hands of the defense like a funny bone-seeking missile.
Touchdown, 2-point conversion.