While the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49s battled each other on Sundaythriller, some of the world’s best brands also tried to score points with viewers. These are the best and worst commercials to air in the 2024 game, according to experts.
The top-ranked ads included spots from Google, Dove and CeraVe, according to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which rates ads each year in the Super Bowl Advertising Review.
As usual, advertisers had a lot at stake, with brands payingto reach an audience expected to number more than 100 million viewers. Not every ad scored a touchdown, and a few fumbled the ball.
“The majority of the ads were light-hearted, with a few brands that went deeper, like Dove and Google,” said Derek Rucker, a Kellogg professor and co-lead of the school’s ad review.
A memorable Super Bowl ad can not only elevate a brand, but also help create a story around a product that helps change the way consumers perceive it. For example, four decades ago, Apple’s iconic “Commercial famously helped the young tech company cement the Macintosh as a hipper personal computer that could rival IBM’s hardware. At the same time, a clumsy or insensitive ad can seriously tarnish a brand, such as the infamous 1999 Super Bowl ad for Just for Feet, which was called racist and tone-deaf.
“It’s not just appearing at the Super Bowl that generates value for the brand,” but creating an ad that resonates with viewers, Rucker said. “There are some brands that have appeared, but you and I will forget about them the next day.”
“If the cost is as high as the Super Bowl, that’s really dangerous,” he said.
The Kellogg ratings, which range from A to F, measure ads based on marketing qualities such as differentiation and positioning, with a panel of business students applying the metrics to the ads. In other words, the ratings view the ads through the lens of whether the ads boosted the brand, rather than their popularity with viewers.
None of the ads in the 2024 Super Bowl received an “F” rating from the panel this year — but several received Ds.
Google’s spot for its Google Pixel camera showed a visually impaired man using the technology to take photos of himself and his family. The ad was “powerful” because it “connected technology with emotion,” Rucker said.
The Google Pixel ad received an A rating from the Kellogg panel.
This ad for CeraVe skin care products featured actor Michael Cera claiming to have developed the moisturizer – after all, the product contains his last name. The humorous spot underlines that dermatologists, not Cera, actually developed the moisturizer.
“That was a personal favorite because it was so well done,” Rucker said. “I didn’t really know the product, but I got an idea of what they do.”
CeraVe received an A from the panel.
The candy brand used its Super Bowl spot to highlight a new twist on the product: Caramel Peanut Butter Cups. Featuring a voiceover from actor Will Arnett, the brand took fans on an emotional ride as Arnett told them about the changes coming to the candy while assuring them that the classic Reese’s will still be available.
The ad received an A from the Kellogg review.
The automaker offered a nostalgic look at its vehicles through the decades in America, from the introduction of the VW Bug to its iconic bus. At the end of the spot, Volkswagen’s new electric minivan was also introduced, the ID.buzz, set to the sound of “I Am… I Said” by Neil Diamond.
This advertisement also received an A from the ranking.
Temu was seen in the same spot several times during the Super Bowl, an animated commercial showing people receiving cheap items from the Chinese shopping app, which confused some viewers and prompted the Washington Post to complain: “Exactly the same lame ad, always about.”
This ad received a D rating from the Kellogg panel.
Homes.com ran three spots during the Super Bowl starring “Schitt’s Creek” actor Dan Levy, but failed to convey to viewers their benefit, the Kellogg panel said. Homes.com was one of eleven brands to receive a D grade from the panel, the lowest score this year.
“The ads seemed to be kind of everywhere,” Rucker said.
This ad looked flashy and had a cameo from Martin Scorsese, but failed to make the connection between the company’s services and the commercial. The commercial depicted an alien invasion of Earth, but people are too engrossed in their phones to notice.
Best and worst commercials in the 2024 Super Bowl, ranked
Here are the ads by rank, according to Kellogg.
- Mountain dew
- Uber eats
- From Popeye
- Youtube TV
- To discover
- Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism
- Michelob Ultra
- State Farm
- Turbo tax
- Button Light
- Coors Light
- Starry sky
- Pluto TV
- Bass Pro Stores
- He gets us
- Square space
- American Values 2024