What future Super Bowl ad creators thought of 2022’s commercials – VCU News

Everyone has an opinion on Super Bowl ads. And everyone has different views of what constitutes a good ad, be it humorous, nostalgic or tugging at the heartstrings. Who better to share their commentary on this year’s Super Bowl ads than the people who could be making those commercials in the future? VCU News asked five second-year students at Brandcenter at VCU — one from each concentration — for their take on this year’s commercials. (Spoiler: Coinbase’s simple bouncing QR code broke the mold.)

Andi Wenck (Experience Design

Was there an overall theme to this year’s ads?

From lighthearted and playful to sentimental and serious, this year’s Super Bowl ads embraced making memories and living life to the fullest. After nearly two years of the pandemic, this is something we’ve seen before and I think will continue to see moving forward. Consumers are eager to get back out there, and from the looks of this year’s Super Bowl ads, brands have made it clear that they’re ready for us too.

Andrea Wenck

What was the best Super Bowl ad this year? Why? What did they do right?

Coinbase’s bouncing QR code was colorful and quiet enough to make everyone stop and scan. Reminiscent of the iconic bouncing DVD logo, this 60-second silent ad generated so much buzz that it actually crashed the app. Flop? I think not. Leveraging this kind of digital nostalgia allows consumers to engage with Coinbase, curating an interactive connection they’ll remember long after the Super Bowl.

Which ad had a good premise, but didn’t stick the landing? What would you have done differently?

DraftKings’ adrenaline-packed montage encouraged consumers to “make it interesting.” But all we saw were stunts and recklessness. Gunning it for glory on the back of an Evel Knievel look-alike? Reckless. Jumping out of a blimp without a parachute? Reckless. I wonder if there’s a way to embrace the thrill of “make it interesting” without implying foolhardy behavior? Because while we like to gamble, we also like to win. And winning will always be more interesting than backlessness.

Chances are good that you could one day have an ad in the Super Bowl. Does that affect how you view today’s ads?

Whoever said, “You don’t want to know how the sausage is made,” is a liar and fun crusher. Knowing the amount of teamwork, creativity and strategy behind these commercials are what make them all the more fun. And I hope that one day, I have the opportunity to help make some Super Bowl sausage of my own.

Stephon Jacob (Strategy)

Was there an overall theme to this year’s ads?

There were tons of themes that showed up. My list are: Web 3.0 (crytopcurrency, nonfungible tokens and the metaverse), electric vehicles, alcoholic seltzers and brands tapping into nostalgia.

Stephon Jacob's concentration is Strategy.
Stephon Jacob

What was the best Super Bowl ad this year? Why? What did they do right?

To me the best ads in order are: Coinbase, Uber Eats, Google Pixel and Amazon Alexa.

Why? Coinbase stood out and did something different from other brands by using their ad space to have a QR code bouncing around the screen. Everyone is used to using QR codes at restaurants during the pandemic. It was a great way to direct people to a landing page as well. Uber Eats delivers more than just food and they did a great job of showing people that. Google Pixel did a great job at showing the challenges Black people face in technology. They used photography and emotion to draw people in on a problem that is addressed in society. Amazon Alexa’s ad was funny and showed how Alexa knows what you’re thinking. They are using humor to lighten the mood about artificial intelligence and technology advancing.

Which ad had a good premise, but didn’t stick the landing? What would you have done differently?

The Salesforce ad had a great message. They want to make sure we take care of Earth and ensure it is a great place to live. This seems like a message Patagonia would push and it was odd coming from Salesforce. Most people don’t know what Salesforce is doing to make the planet sustainable. I would have added a call to action in the ad, a landing page with why this is relevant to Salesforce, and for the people who support their message a call to action on the landing page.

Chances are good that you could one day have an ad in the Super Bowl. Does that affect how you view today’s ads?

I had dreams of being on the big screen growing up. I signed with an NFL agent after graduation, but now I have dreams of getting on the big screen for advertising. I 110% look at ads differently. I think about how I can take advantage of the opportunity and how I can get a brand’s message off in a creative way.

What would you like to add?

For me, the Super Bowl is the best of both worlds: football and ads. I loved the Coinbase ad and I hope I can get on the big screen one day.

Coinbase used a bouncing QR code in its silent 60-second Super Bowl commercial.
Coinbase used a bouncing QR code in its silent 60-second Super Bowl commercial. The ad generated so much buzz that it actually crashed the app.

Craig Kissoon (copywriting)

Was there an overall theme to this year’s ads?

There seemed to be a juxtaposition between futurism and nostalgia. We saw a lot of ads for emerging products like electric vehicles, cryptocurrencies and smart-home technology. We also saw referential ads like the spots from T-Mobile and General Motors, which brought back nostalgic characters from shows and movies like “Scrubs” and “Austin Powers.”

What was the best Super Bowl ad this year? Why? What did they do right?

Craig Kissoon is focused on Copywriting.
Craig Kissoon

I liked Cutwater Spirit’s “Here’s to the Lazy Ones” spot. It spoofed Apple’s “Here’s to the Crazy Ones,” which is one of the most iconic ads of all time. Where most brands leaned into celebrity endorsements and flash, I thought the commercial was a simple and intelligent way to promote a product as lighthearted as canned spirits and a brand as self-deprecating and irreverent as Cutwater. Standing for “the lazy ones” gives Cutwater a platform and a tone that the brand can explore for the foreseeable future.

Which ad had a good premise but didn’t stick the landing? What would you have done differently?

I enjoyed the Pringle “Can Hands” spot. I’m curious if there could have been a more elegant way of articulating the tagline, “Get stuck in.”

Chances are good that you could one day have an ad in the Super Bowl. Does that affect how you view today’s ads?

Absolutely. I am new to this industry, and I know I have a lot to learn. When I watch these ads, I imagine what the ask or insight was that led to this creative piece. Our professors at Brandcenter have taught us that so much happens in the background at ad agencies. I always try to trace those steps to see if I can learn anything.

What would you like to add?

I don’t think people appreciate the mirror advertising holds to our society: the Internet of Things, crypto, Y2K and comeback culture. Sunday’s ads reflected topics that have been in the news and in culture. I think it would be interesting to look back on these ads 10 years from now to see what they said about this year.

Zoe Alexander (Art Direction

Was there an overall theme to this year’s ads?

A lot of the ads this year seemed “chronically online.” If it wasn’t an ad for something to do with crypto or meta, it included a reference to future tech in some way. There’s been a huge boom in advertising for brands related to Web 3.0, and this Super Bowl had just that. For the ads that didn’t interact with the tech, they touched on self-deprecation or nostalgia — approaches to humor that also feel very much of the internet.

Zoe Alexander's concentration is Art Direction.
Zoe Alexander

What was the best Super Bowl ad this year? Why? What did they do right?

Coinbase. It broke every convention of a Super Bowl ad. It wasn’t even a commercial, but a brand stunt. I hate QR codes, I hate unnecessary actions for consumers, but this was just so weird and cryptic that it worked. I did scan it. Everyone I was watching it with erupted when it hit the corner; that dose of nostalgia was a nice touch. Love it or hate it, everyone is talking about it.

More and more, every year brands take bigger chances. This year I felt a lot of the ads I saw were either pulling from niche consumer truths, deprecating humor or were just straight up bizarre — and I think it worked really well. Coinbase took the biggest risk of all, and it paid off.

Which ad had a good premise, but didn’t stick the landing? What would you have done differently?

Taco Bell’s Doja Cat clown college spot was one of my favorites, it was visually so stunning. But I would’ve liked to have seen more payoff at the end — why Doja, why the sauce?

Chances are good that you could one day have an ad in the Super Bowl. Does that affect how you view today’s ads?

Yes! I love to see how the ads transform year to year as technology and brands evolve. As someone aspiring to work on projects like these, it’s something I get really excited about. It’s definitely inspiring to see how different agencies take on these huge projects in an advertising landscape that is so rapidly changing.

What would you like to add?

Larry David will always be hilarious. That FTX spot was secretly my favorite.

Tiffany Boggs (Creative Brand Management)

Was there an overall theme to this year’s ads?

Tech, tech, tech! So many crypto and metaverse ads.

What was the best Super Bowl ad this year? Why? What did they do right?

Tiffany Boggs is focusing on Creative Brand Management.
Tiffany Boggs

I know a lot of people are going to say the Coinbase QR code ad, but honestly I died at the Pringles ad. They took a common complaint (people getting their hands stuck in the can) and tried to turn it into a selling point.

It’s honestly hilarious how they acknowledged a pain point about their product and basically said, “it’s not a problem, it’s fun.”

Chances are good that you could one day have an ad in the Super Bowl. Does that affect how you view today’s ads?

Brandcenter has changed how I look at every ad, so I would say yes. I can’t see ads as just “fun” anymore. I always wonder what their strategy was and why they thought it was worth spending millions of dollars on that particular message.

What would you like to add?

I’m just saying, there were no ads this year that I was as big a fan of as Drake from State Farm last Super Bowl.