Super Bowl LIII: The Ultimate Ad Review

Frenik Labs' Blog: Industry News and Updates

If your team didn’t make the cut this year, like us you may have found yourself watching the Super Bowl for one purpose and one purpose alone: the commercials. One of the most highly anticipated parts of the Super Bowl is a chance to watch the 15, 30 or even 60 second spots organizations spend millions of dollars on. $5 million per 30 second spot to be exact. Sometimes brands nail it, sometimes they crash and burn. Here’s our breakdown on the most talked about ads from Super Bowl LIII.

Pepsi— More than OK

One of the most highly anticipated parts of the Super Bowl is a chance to watch the 15, 30 or even 60 second spots organizations spend millions of dollars on.


I’m sure we can agree Pepsi’s had a rocky past in terms of advertisements. This year, the soft-drink giant’s ad featured popular celebrities Steve Carell, Cardi B and Lil Jon to promote the idea Pepsi is “more than OK.” With humorous appeals and celebrity features, the ad may be an improvement from previous commercials in some respects. However, having to justify the Pepsi brand is “more than ok” really just reminds viewers that many prefer Coke. Probably not a good thing. (Image courtesy of Pepsi)


Bumble— #InHerCourt Anthem

Bumble’s new #InHerCourt campaign features tennis pro Serena Williams, and we think they picked the perfect spokesperson to relay the message. Picking an influential celebrity many women respect and identify with was a smart move on Bumble’s part. The ads premise was to promote the three ways people can use Bumble (date, BFF, & bizz) while communicating virtues of a strong, independent woman. Overall, we think they aced the message.


M&M’s— Bad Passengers

M&M’s took a humorous approach to promote their new chocolate bar, and it’s definitely a memorable one. Playing a carpool mom, Christina Applegate was dramatically interrupted by M&M characters stuck in a giant chocolate bar, forcing her to slam on the breaks and threaten to “eat them alive.” It was a light-hearted, surprising and funny way to promote a new product, and we have to hand it to them for the creativity.


Avocados from Mexico— Top Dog

Our main question after watching this one was, what’s the connection? The Avocados from Mexico commercial appeared to be a “dog show” where humans (not dogs) compete for a chance to win guacamole. They tried to use zany humor to connect with consumers, but instead it was a convoluted storyline that just didn’t make sense for promoting avocados.


The Washington Post— Democracy Dies in Darkness

Here’s an organization you don’t picture making an SB ad. The Washington Post’s spot paid tribute to all the journalists who make personal sacrifices to deliver us important news. The overall message was “knowing empowers us” and “keeps us free.” Without knowing, we are in the dark, and Democracy dies in darkness. The premise was inspiring, powerful, and definitely appropriate for the brand. Also, any ad that uses Tom Hanks’ voiceover is a winner in our book! An argument has been made by employees, however, that the millions paid for the spot should have been invested in their benefits instead. This calls into question the ultimate success of the ad.


Burger King— #EatLikeAndy

Out of all the ads, this was possibly the most confusing. After 13 years of not having a Super Bowl spot, the fast food giant came back with old footage showcasing Andy Warhol eating a burger. The ad was short and simple, but we can’t help but wonder how large the cross section is between consumers who identify with Andy Warhol and those who enjoy eating Burger King. Probably not huge.


Amazon— Not everything makes the cut

Amazon is notorious for their continuous innovation, however, not everything makes the cut. The ad takes viewers through a series of unsuccessful Alexa products while poking fun at the brands failed attempts. While we commend them for the humor and creativity, highlighting all the things that scare people about using Alexa might not win over the skeptics.


Doritos— Chance the Rapper X Backstreet Boys

Doritos is known for pulling out all the stops with their SB ads. This year, the chip brand created the ultimate mashup, featuring Chance the Rapper and popular “boy band” Backstreet Boys to introduce their new chip flavor, Flamin’ Hot Nacho. While this ad may not top the list, it was an entertaining and effective way to reach their target of young audiences who favor spicy snacks.


Google— How words are translated

Google’s ad demonstrates the power of translator by showcasing different cultures communicating through their translate feature. The video notes that more than 100 billion words are translated each day, with the top three being “how are you,” “thank you” and “I love you.” This spot highlights the software’s capabilities while promoting unity and instilling hope in the human experience.


T-Mobile— Lyft

For the big game, the phone carrier released a series of ads featuring creative text messages to communicate promo deals. The spots were a simple and humorous way to inform consumers on current promotions, but were they really that impactful? Probably not. Plus, they required people to pay close attention to the screen in order to read the jokes. Hard to do on SB Sunday.


Verizon— First Responders




If you like heartfelt commercials, take note. Verizon’s Super Bowl ad pays tribute to first responders, highlighting the importance of a call going through when a life-threatening accident happens. While this ad may not score high in terms of popularity, it was definitely moving. This could increase brand recognition by establishing deeper emotional connections among consumers.