As the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49s battled in Sunday’sthriller, 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 Super Bowl ad 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 “tech company cement the Macintosh as a hipper personal computer that rival IBM’s hardware. At the same time, a clunky or insensitive ad can seriously tarnish a brand, such as the infamous 1999 Super Bowl ad for Just for Feet, which was called racist and tone deaf.” commercial famously helped the fledgling
“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 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.
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.
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