What creatives thought about this year’s Super Bowl ads

“There’s nothing better than a simple joke done really well,” one said.
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Screenshots via @cerave, @Reeses, @verizon, and @toyotausa on YouTube

· 5 min read

So…those Temu ads, huh?

There are a few different advertising angles to unpack after Sunday’s Super Bowl ad bonanza, but the usual suspects were all there—celebrities, mascots, surprises (we didn’t have Beyoncé on our bingo cards), and even a politician and a couple religious organizations.

Marketing Brew reached out to some creative folks in advertising to get their initial thoughts about which ads stood out, and which may have missed the mark.

Answers were sent over email. Some have been lightly edited for clarity.

Winning plays

Perrin Anderson, SVP group creative director at RPA: Reese’s. It just made me laugh. There’s nothing better than a simple joke done really well. It also has lots of weird, rewatchable elements. It stood out on a very noisy night.

Steve Knapp, managing director of media and data science at Colle McVoy: Reese’s spot was a raucous treat—for not following the celebrity formal (okay, sans Will Arnett’s voice-over). The use of slapstick humor delivered that kind of undeniable entertainment that remains in the conversation at big-game parties. The brand’s introduction of the limited-edition Caramel Big Cup will likely boost awareness and sales from what’s trending toward being the most-watched big game ever.

The fan favorite at my own big-game party was Verizon’s Beyoncé ad, hands down. The creative foil of Beyoncé doing all sorts of things to break the network was a crisp articulation of the brand’s long-standing message of superior 5G coverage. The “Beyonc-AI,” “Barb-Bey” and “President BOTUS” might not have been real, but Beyoncé brought extra staying power, teasing her upcoming country album release with two tracks dropped following the ad.

Julian Cohen, associate creative director at The Martin Agency: The CeraVe work really stood out to me, not only for its unique craft and storytelling technique, but also for how 360 it was. Super Bowl ads nowadays aren’t only fighting for attention during the big game itself, but also during the days leading up to it, and CeraVe captured everyone’s attention during and before masterfully. Whether it was staged paparazzi photos of Michael Cera carrying bags of CeraVe, or a hilarious interview on Bobbi Althoff’s podcast, it seemed like everyone suddenly was talking about a skin-care brand that no one was talking about before.

Dan Viens, head of creative at Wieden+Kennedy’s Bodega agency: I loved CeraVe’s social posts of Michael Cera carrying all the lotion and signing the bottles at the store. The ad was a lot of fun, but that lead-up was phenomenal.

Part of the genius is that I think I’ve had a CeraVe product in my house for years, and it kind of always felt like a store brand. Now I actually know how to pronounce it, and it’s staked out some really weird fun ground.

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Glen Hilzinger, chief creative officer at Luquire: On the top of the I-wish-I-had-done-that scale, is Toyota Tacoma’s “Dareful Handle.” A simple idea (underscore “idea”) that playfully owned a feature found on every vehicle. No million-dollar celebrity, million-dollar song, or million-dollar sweepstakes gimmick. Just a million-dollar idea.

A for effort

Renato Fernandez, chief creative officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day LA: In my opinion, the best idea of the Super Bowl was DoorDash’s “DoorDash All the Ads”—it was on point, had sharp product benefit with an incredible orchestration to get other brands on board to participate on the idea, and an ambition that lived up to the standard of the Super Bowl. However, I wish the execution had more of an impact during the big game. The ad felt a bit expected. I’m looking forward to seeing the development of the whole story.

Dropped passes

Cohen: While CeraVe leveraged their celebrity cleverly, T-Mobile’s approach missed the mark in their Jason Momoa ad. It felt as if any celebrity could have taken the place of Momoa, which made the spot feel quite generic. In this piece of work, I struggled to find an insight and follow the story. For those reasons, the ad didn’t resonate as intended.

Knapp: I gave up counting Temu ads after the third run of what didn’t feel [like the]right fit for the big-game stage. Last I checked, Temu was a top 10 trending topic on X and a top download in the app store during the game. However, Temu’s likely $20+ million investment in the Super Bowl completely missed the [mark] without an entertaining and memorable ad, because this is why people pay attention to the big-game ads more than others in the first place. But hey, Temu was likely very effective in making a lot of people know the brand is pronounced “teh-mu,” not “tee-mu,” and that means something. It just left a lot of head-scratching at the Super Bowl party I attended.

Anderson: Temu…Lots of things grated about this one: The look, the sound, the repetition, and not least the message to “shop like a billionaire.”

Hilzinger: In another year of celebrity-laden spots in search of an idea, it’s hard to pick a least favorite. But one on the list has to be TurboTax with Quinta Brunson. No idea plus celebrity plus sweepstakes. On the bang-for-the-buck scale, it was a bomb.

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