The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 at Super Bowl LVI. Now that we have gotten that part out of the way, let’s talk about the important part: advertising.

There was one consistent theme many members of our teams agreed on, which was nostalgia. Whether through old pop culture references, a desire to escape the challenges of the past few years, or maybe even the halftime performance, the entire occasion appeared to be perfectly targeted to millennials. With many of us being that exact target audience, here’s what the initiate-it team had to say about Super Bowl 2022:

“Less Talk, More Bitcoin” – Coinbase

Cryptocurrency companies had quite a presence during Super Bowl LVI, and I especially liked Coinbase’s bouncing QR code ad. Even though I didn’t scan the QR code on the spot, I did look up the commercial online after seeing the ad. I thought the execution of the ad was an unexpected yet relevant way to catch viewers’ attention. An article on The Verge states that the Coinbase app was down for a period of time after the ad aired, so it sounds like the commercial was intriguing for many other viewers as well. 

Sarah Prokopchak, Account Executive

From a social media and digital advertising perspective, I think the Coinbase commercial was incredible. We’ve discussed how QR Codes are bound to make a marketing comeback – not only did this create an engaging super bowl commercial, but it also saved them a ton of production dollars. And if making an impact was what they came to do, they achieved it. My timeline was flooded with hilarious responses to their spot. Even just the decision to allow the QR code, which mirrors the infamous DVD logo screensaver, to perfectly hit the corner was a genius tactic that perfectly shows their understanding of their target audience. 

Hayley Gilbert, Digital Marketing Coordinator

“Unleash Your Flamin’ Hot” – Frito-Lay

The Doritos commercial with the CGI animals was kind of a letdown for me. I remember that Doritos always had really good super bowl commercials, and this one didn’t really live up to what they have done in the past.

Kathryn Tucker, Junior Designer

The Frito-Lay Ad (Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos) appeared to receive mixed responses from viewers. I, however, enjoyed the commercial – it had a fun, energetic feeling which contrasted from the other advertisements of the night. Or maybe I’m just a big fan of Salt-N-Pepa. The celebrity involvement of Megan Thee Stallion and Charlie Puth, two major artists, fell pretty flat though. There seemed to be a lot of build-up to this variable through pre-promotion, which I completely forgot about while watching.

Hayley Gilbert, Digital Marketing Coordinator

“Stuff” – Expedia

I thought Expedia’s spot – “Stuff” with Ewan McGregor – was thought-provoking and inspiring. It basically captured two levels: first being that we all have too much stuff and we need to reprioritize what is important in life, and second hinting at the subtle parodies of typical Super Bowl commercials. There was a sense of mystery in that you weren’t really sure what the ad was for as he appears to be walking down a dim street, then several acting stage sets and ends opening a door to the beach. The spot really makes you want to book a trip immediately which is, in fact, what it was selling.

Lauren Chavis, Senior Account Director

“Off the Grid” – E*TRADE

I loved the return of the E*TRADE baby. I completely forgot that the company existed and was flooded with nostalgia from the mid-2000s when those commercials were popular. We see a lot of investment ads these days because of the influx of apps and websites that allow you to invest your money easily, and none of them are as iconic as the E*TRADE baby. I can’t recall any off the top of my head because they aren’t memorable. I think the play on the baby coming out of retirement to make a comeback is very clever, and I am excited to see what ads they put out in the future. AdAge gave this commercial 2.5 stars simply because digital age investing is now part of our everyday lives, and they didn’t think it was relevant. I disagree. I believe that this is an opportunity for the company to grow their awareness, and using the well-known baby will assist them in becoming relevant again. The concept of online investing being so easy that a baby could do it is still very significant because there are now so many options to choose from. It is exciting to see a company reimagine its old concept and make it relevant to today’s culture

Kathryn Tucker, Junior Designer

“New Generation” – Chevy Silverado EV

I loved Chevrolet’s new all-electric Silverado spot. Tony Soprano was replaced by his character’s daughter, Meadow Soprano, as they mirrored The Sopranos’ opening scene & theme song.

Chevy’s decision to show some of the youngest characters of the show at the time is a brilliant way to communicate the meaning of a new generation. The ad nods to the vast differences and changes in culture between younger generations and older generations. Electric cars have only recently become more common, and the car that Tony drives in the original opening scene would now be far outdated.

Chevy re-vamps the show’s opening scene, and viewers familiar with The Sopranos are reminded of the show in a way they hadn’t thought of before. Now when viewers watch the show, they will likely be reminded of the new all-electric Silverado. The ad evokes emotion by causing viewers to feel a sense of nostalgia. To me, this is always a powerful technique and allows viewers to both relate to the ad and remember the ad.

Maddie Pullen, Junior Designer