Minor Trends Of The Super Bowl

Super Bowl ads are the gift that keeps on giving: so many spots, so little time.

A lot was made of the blinding tsunami of celebrities in ads this year, and some stars even appeared in spots for more than one advertiser.   

As always, nostalgia was huge. But other, more specific trends also emerged.

Are You Talkin’ To Me?

After all the pre-show promotion for State Farm in which Arnold was typically self-effacing, I was surprised that the focus of this huge production (number 1 on the USA Today Ad Meter) was on spoofing the way the Austrian-accented former Terminator says “Nay-bah.” Many people, including his twin, Danny DeVito, tried to teach him how to pronounce the “errrr” sound, but he never stood corrected.

It was a funny way to revive the classic but by-now-dated-sounding “Like a good neighbor…” tagline. These days, the idea of neighborliness -- which also came up in an ad for -- appears to have gone the way of borrowing a cup of sugar.



BMW entered the fray with another unexpectedly accent-based spot, although it had nothing to do with the driving machine’s Bavarian roots.

Rather, we saw a variety of people attempting to imitate actor Christopher Walken’s weird, not-strictly-Queens accent and jumpy delivery as they encountered him. He was not amused. Though not a single memorable line of his was used (Hello, “More Cowbell!”) these actors rose to the occasion: Bad Walken makes for good Walken.

Pier Disciples

Our Lady of the Harbor got some reverent attention in the opening frame of Volkswagen’s enchantingly historical 60-second spot. It starts with the day in 1949 that the VW bug arrived on our shores as a funny-looking foreigner getting airlifted in chains by stevedores.  It’s a wonderful exposition of the way the compact’s alien, googly-faced look and cartoon car-ness invaded the American market and pop culture from the 1950s through 2019.

Meanwhile, the Statue of Liberty took center stage in Etsy’s first ever Super Bowl commercial, which sort of made fun of France. In the hilariously ahistorical spot, all 225 tons of her arrive perched on the top of a boat, erect and ready-to-go, like a religious figure.  In fact, the statue was shipped here in tiny pieces in the 1880s and waited a decade for a base to be built. Still, the green gal turned into the ultimate American dream girl. And for Etsy, she served as the perfect device through which to show how easy it is to reciprocate to a massive gift.

Mullets And ‘Staches

Apparently, giving men the possibility of growing a bunch of hair will always be funny and appealing.

This year, Kawasaki reintroduced the mullet, with its “business up front, party in the back sensibility”—to promote its off-road Ridge vehicle. The flying mullets here are lustrous, equal opportunity head-toppers, for regular guys and even a bald eagle.

Bud Light’s spot introduced an ‘80s style genie in a track suit. No turban for him, but he is blessed with a big, dark, scene-stealing moustache from under which to grant wishes.

Pringles also celebrated the return to the ‘stache, with actor Chris Pratt growing facial landscaping that is the image of Mr. P’s , the dude on the can.

The 30-second spot is inspired by fan sightings of "the Pringles guy" shared to social media. Pringles fans are being encouraged, "whether you create him in the foam of your morning coffee, or see him in the clouds on your daily walk, your favorite house plant, your pet (or even in yourself!)" to "share an image or video of your  Mr. P” for fun and prizes.

And thus, the under-nose growth shall blossom.

How About Quiet?

It’s not a trend yet. But in a big change for Disney+, the company dropped a magnificent all-text commercial during the fourth quarter. It taught us a lot about the power of silence.

Titled “Well Said,” the spot lets famous lines from Disney and Marvel properties do the talking in moving, elegant black text on a white screen.

“When you wish upon a star,” “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and “We’re all in this together” are among the phrases that glide across the screen. They get sped up, faster and faster, one step ahead of our eyes, until the screen turns black.

The final line, “Ready for it?” teases Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” film, which will debut March 15.

It’s an effective spot with a production budget of pretty much zilch.

As for Taylor Swift as a Super Bowl trend, I’m sure she’s already the deserving subject of Ph.D. dissertations.

1 comment about "Minor Trends Of The Super Bowl".
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  1. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, February 15, 2024 at 11:42 a.m.

    Such a "magnificent all-text commercial" and oh-so-memorable that a so-called "ad critic" couldn't even remember how to spell "Obi-Wan Kenobi" after reading it on the screen. 

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