The Super Bowl ads lineup for 2022 was packed with product endorsements from high-profile celebrities and plenty of nostalgia and hilarity to go around. Also, crypto. Lots of crypto. By halftime, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me in whittling down my list to only five spots.
In 2020, brands made a return to comedy after the previous Super Bowl where they largely leaned on “striking an emotional chord with viewers by speaking out on social issues,” as I wrote at the time. In 2021, after more than a year of stress, uncertainty, and heartbreak from the Coronavirus pandemic, brands played it safe with their Super Bowl spots. So safe in fact, that I felt totally uninspired and didn’t even write my kinda sorta annual list of my top five Super Bowl ads.
But in 2022, brands decided laughter was the best medicine. Or perhaps we’ve all just collectively decided as a society that the pandemic is no longer happening (it is). Regardless, choosing my top five ads from this year’s Super Bowl was a tall order. I generally lean toward the humorous rather than the emotional, and there were plenty of ads during Super Bowl LVI that got a smile and a chuckle out me. Here’s my top five.
5. Coinbase: Bouncing QR Code
This spot likely has the greatest conversion rate of any single TV commercial of all time. Would love to see the stats from the QR Code. I, for one, was entranced as I watched the QR Code bouncing around the screen in that nostalgic DVD player screensaver feel. I think I watched it for a solid 20 seconds before I realized I should scan the thing to see what it is. After seeing it was pointing people to coinbase.com, I didn’t actually follow through to the site, but I’m sure millions did as it’s been reported that the Coinbase app was crashing during the game.
4. Pringles: Stuck
This might be my favorite concept from a creative standpoint, but something about the execution fell short for me. Maybe it was the music. But getting your hand stuck in a Pringles can for life? Brilliant.
3. Verizon: Cable Guy
More nostalgia! Cable Guy is a classic Jim Carrey film and he nailed it some 25 years later. A brilliant way to show off Verizon’s 5G internet service.
2. Toyota Tundra: The Joneses
Keeping up with the Joneses is a classic concept, and I was having a fun time seeing each celebrity ‘Jones’ (Tommy Lee Jones, Rashida Jones, and Leslie Jones) enter the ad with Tom Jones setting the mood. When it’s revealed that Nick Jonas is trying to keep up with the Joneses, the whole thing really comes together.
1. FTX: Don’t Miss Out on Crypto featuring Larry David
I’m a huge Larry David fan, so this spot was a lock for the top spot on my list. As a time-traveling skeptic that only Larry David could pull off, he disparages everything from the wheel to space travel to cryptocurrency. It was pretty good… prettaaay, prettaaay, pretty good.
The E-Trade baby is a classic Super Bowl ad that will always have a special place in my heart. E-Trade brought back the talking baby as he’s shown in his new life in retirement and living ‘off the grid.’ Great spot and it stirred up a bit of Super Bowl ad nostalgia, but not quite good enough for the top five.
Speaking of nostalgia, Austin Powers fans surely loved the GM spot featuring Dr. Evil in which he takes over the GM headquarters and discusses using GM’s Ultium Platform for good. A fun spot but could be a bit punchier.
Budweiser revives its iconic Clydesdale horse in an emotional and patriotic spot showing the Clydesdale recovering from an injury with the help of his canine companion. The grungy guitar music has slight hints of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The closing message? “Down Never Means Out.”
View all the ads that aired during Super Bowl LVI in this CNBC article.