Creating a great Super Bowl ad requires four key ingredients: a wow moment, an emotional hook, a dash of simplicity, then mix it all up with strong branding.

Easy, right?

First, the commercial must grab your attention, which is increasingly more difficult when people are on their phones or watching the game at a bar or neighbor’s house. How do you cut through the noise to capture attention? Well, this year, many brands turned to celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek in one of my favorite spots of the night. Other brands like the NFL used amazing animation to “Bring Down the House.”

Second, did the commercial evoke an emotional response. Did you laugh? Did you cry? Were you shocked or angered? When you tap into someone’s emotions, you have a better chance of creating a deeper connection. I must be honest, the Robo Dog spot from KIA and the Meta ad featuring a lost stuffed animal warmed my heart, while commercials like “Push It Flaming Hot” from Cheetos and Doritos made me laugh out loud. The sloth was hilarious.

Third, did the commercial deliver a clear and convincing message? It’s great to get ultra-creative with a Super Bowl spot, but at the end of the day, it still needs to deliver a compelling message with a strong call to action.

And finally, the secret sauce in any Super Bowl commercial is staying true to the brand. There were a lot of clever spots on Sunday night, but can you recall the brands 24-hours later? Likely not.

The good news is that many of these TV spots will run for months as brands continue to serve them up on a variety of platforms, from traditional TV to social media.


Heard ‘Round the Water Cooler

The following provides a peek behind the scenes at Celtic and how we felt about a handful of Super Bowl ads. Enjoy!

BMW “Zeus & Hera”

Love the Zeus ad with Schwarzenegger and Hayek. The thought of a Greek God retiring from his job on Mount Olympus and moving to Palm Springs was hilarious. Zeus and his electric powers were a great fit for the new BMW electric car.

Zeus as a powerful doofus on earth makes for a better Netflix pitch than a BMW commercial. On the bright side, I bet when you buy an all-electric bemmer, you get a stuffed baby Pegasus.

Celebrity Levity

Celebrities, celebrities and even more celebrities. It seems like every brand hired a celebrity this year – there were too many to count. I think Hollywood is back and ready to work despite COVID.

Pixel 6 “Real Tone”

As someone who works in the advertising business, I loved the Pixel 6 commercial, the way it was shot, the voice over, Lizzo’s song, all great.

Nissan “Thrill Driver”

I loved the Nissan spot with Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Dave Bautista. The production was amazing. I felt like I was watching a blockbuster action movie.

“Well cock-a-doodle-do”


The thing that really stood out the most for me was the number of crypto currency spots this year. Who knew crypto was so big? They must be doing OK if they’re dropping $6 mil on a thirty-second spot. The ad with the bouncing QR code was interesting, but I can’t recall the brand. Did anyone download the QR code?

It may seem like a gimme, but 20 million couldn’t resist scanning the screensaver-inspired bouncing QR code sauntering about in high def. 0% creative, 100% genius clickbait.

Not so fast, Nostalgia

I enjoyed the Cable Guy/Verizon 5G spot. This was a brilliant throwback to 90s nostalgia (as were many of the ads on Sunday). But the premise of people no longer having to be ‘annoyed’ at cable/internet installs and not having some creepy weirdo come inside your house to install high speed internet was great. Paired with Jim Carrey and this classic movie character, it was a great way to connect with people in their mid 30s-40s. That’s a demographic advertisers tried to hit during the Super Bowl—and the half-time show.

The E-trade “Off The Grid” spot was super cute, but only funny if you remember the original “baby” commercials, circa 2008 — one of the smartest and most entertaining campaigns produced.

The GM “Dr. EV-il” commercial featured clever dialog, unforced tie-in with pop-culture, and was all-around entertaining. I hope “Baby Me” doesn’t become a thing.

The Big Le-BREW-ski

The Michelob Ultra spot was funny. Even funnier if you actually know it’s a Big Lebowski spoof. But I was wanting a Sam Elliott moment.

I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying

Tell a story to grab everyone’s attention. Tug on their heartstrings to keep emotionally invested. Then reveal it’s a true story to leave them in awe. A simple recipe for a powerful commercial. Nice job, Toyota.

The showstopper was Kia’s Robo Dog. From the start the viewer is drawn in by those big glossy puppy eyes. Kia was able to take that connection and tell a wonderful (Pinocchio-esque) story complemented by interesting camera angles and well-paced edits that led us to a moment of suspense, then relief. A fine way to highlight the benefit of a feature.

I’m Lovin’ It

McDonald’s “Uhhhhh” commercial hits on a very relatable human moment (trying to decide on what to eat) and amplifies the struggle by putting it into the McDonald’s universe. Who hasn’t caught themselves saying, “uhhhh…” at least a few times in their life, especially at McDonald’s? Next time, ditch the celebrities.

Barbie & Ken-drick

Rocket Mortgage’s “Dream House” was one of the favs in our house. Similar to last year, the spot was well casted with Anna Kendrick as she so delivered on the “funny.” The message was received loud and clear, and not clouded by the spot’s creativity and humor – despite the challenges and pains of home buying today, with a little help, Barbie can get that dream home after all. Sprinkle in a few of Barbie’s archenemies like Better Offer Betty and Cash Offer Carl, and we have the perfect popcorn drama! At the end of the day, it brought a smile and a chuckle my way as I continued to inhale taco dip and a few game-time brewskis. So, I say check the box on this one, it worked for me!