February 17, 2022 Four Columns Marketing

4C x The Super Bowl: Breaking Down the ‘22 Generational Shift

Another Super Bowl has come and gone, which is always a bittersweet time in the marketing world. The ad lineup for this year’s Super Bowl included some great and some not-so-great spots. Below, you’ll find the favorites from our team and what we liked about them.

One thing we noticed as a team was that this year represented a major departure from the traditional “Baby Boomer” target. As Baby Boomers continue to retire in increasing numbers, the buying power is undergoing a generational shift, and advertisers are taking notice. This year’s ads were clearly focused on younger Gen Xers and Millennials, with plenty of nostalgia-inducing actors, themes and “hooks.” Even the Pepsi Halftime Show was a trip down memory lane!

With further fanfare, here are our favorite spots from 2022:

Bonnie Stecher, Communications Specialist

Link: https://youtu.be/2bZYqFsU72Y 

The Sopranos theme song is so recognizable that hearing it immediately caught my attention. I liked how Chevy gave the ad the Italian mobster feel that is so loved from the show and highlighted their new truck without being in-your-face about it. They were clearly conveying that the new generation of Chevy, and The Sopranos, are just as tough as those before them, but now they’ve upgraded. And, of course, it shows that trucks are for women too. 

Bryan Jaska, Senior Vice President – Video

Link: https://youtu.be/nOZWYY82ekU 

I like that they extended the theme of being “lazy” to the extent that they couldn’t bother to use color in the commercial.

Joe Gastler, Vice President – Strategy

Link: https://youtu.be/dxMCGSegrnI

I was not expecting to see George Strait on a rocket! I love that they blended Texas themes (space, country music), managed to show one of their value-added services (grocery delivery) and fill the bag with their in-store brand items. Great execution that checked a lot of boxes. I actually laughed out loud at the end of this spot, which is the first time I’ve laughed at a commercial in a long time.

Brandon Rosas, Director of Client Services

Link: https://youtu.be/eIUD_NE1BDo

The QR Coinbase commercial was fascinating. It took me about 10 seconds to realize that nothing was going to happen and that I needed to pull out my phone if I wanted to learn more. Brilliant advertising. Outside of that, there were a lot of funny/entertaining commercials, but they were overshadowed by what they were actually trying to promote. 

Matt Silva, Senior Vice President – Technology

Link: https://youtu.be/eIUD_NE1BDo

The QR Coinbase commercial, when it first came on I waited like 30 seconds waiting to see what the commercial was for and then had to pause the screen and pull up a QR code reader to find out. That was pretty cool…I found myself playing out the scene from The Office hoping it was going to fit perfectly in the corner as it was bouncing around.

Katie Jurkowski, Digital Marketing Specialist

Link: https://youtu.be/d0UEAr8I9G8 

The 60 second Amazon commercial, “Mind Reader,” showed what Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost’s relationship would look like if the Amazon Alexa could read their minds. Highlighting key Alexa features such as setting calendar reminders, playing music, and turning on and off appliances, the Amazon Alexa responded to the couple’s thoughts, stirring up drama between them. This commercial was a comedic reminder of how technology can play a big role in our relationships.

Tristen Coffee, Communications Manager

Link: https://youtu.be/oDBxO2EzwyI

Full disclosure, I did not watch one second of the Super Bowl this year. Usually, I’m in it for the ads, halftime show and snacks, but this year I was in Hawaii. Ergo my Super Bowl Sunday looked more like snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean. That being said, I did do my research. One of my favorite ads from this year’s big game was Squarespace’s “Sally’s Seashells.” This ad utilizes nostalgia, choreography and celebrity endorsement to get their potential customers interested in creating their own e-commerce site on the platform, as an extension of the brand’s “Everything to Sell Anything” campaign. I enjoyed this advertisement for many reasons. I remember the “Sally sells seashells by the seashore” tongue twister from when I was younger, and I remember Zendaya starring in “Shake It Up” from when I was slightly less young. As a communications professional, I can appreciate the alliteration. Maybe the fact that I’m missing the beach plays into it, but the ad was not only auditorily pleasing but aesthetically as well. I am already a Squarespace customer, so nothing lost, nothing gained there. If Squarespace’s goal was to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit of creators (it was), then I say the brand succeeded. 

Maggie Griffin, Creative Director

Link: https://youtu.be/1zLsUhOCqyU

For a full 60 seconds on Superbowl Sunday, we viewers were transported into a scene from The Office. A bouncing QR code demanded more attention from all of us than we had spared yet in the first half of the game. Would this square set of pixels land in the exact corner of the frame? Just like the crew from The Office as they watched the DVD logo bounce around their conference room television set, we “oooh-ed” and “oh oh oh!-ed” through the one-minute commercial, some of us pulling out our phones to see the brand behind the gimmick, some of us too transfixed to care. I am quick to criticize a QR code as it often disrupts design, but bravo to you, Coinbase, for using the QR code to disrupt the Super Bowl Commercial game.

Maggie Lemley, Graphic Designer

Link: https://youtu.be/Ut3m9OK1c7Y

Larry David through the centuries shooting down inventions that were pivotal to the development of mankind and civilization. Very funny. Playing up the fact that any idiot would benefit from the items mentioned. The commercial ends up being about crypto, which I cannot get on board with, but I thought it was clever and enjoyable to watch. 

KelsieAnn Trank, Communications Intern

Link: https://youtu.be/Ri-rXPw5Cnk 

Uber Eats promoting delivery of items other than food products was both unsettling and very effective. I didn’t enjoy watching actors eat dish soap and cat litter, but still found myself chuckling at the commercial. The brand is clear throughout the entire ad and the message is impossible to miss, making this commercial one of my favorites from this year. 

Doug Cofer, CEO

Link: https://youtu.be/jEAv1ZNsOP8 

Anyone who knows me knows I love my dogs, and well, pretty much all dogs. That’s why my fav Super Bowl commercial was for Kia’s EV6 all electric SUV. The robot dog in the commercial was so cute my wife Christine said she wanted one. Kia smartly appealed to the big population of dog lovers who were drawn to the cute dog chasing after the Kia EV6 and on pins and needles when he ran out of battery life, only to be revived by the owner of the SUV from the vehicle itself. Kia’s brand page on Cars.com saw a 921% increase in traffic after the commercial aired and you would have to think its social channels and website were inundated as well. I say “well done”, Kia. 

Jordan Dossett, Web Developer

Link: https://youtu.be/hv5CzJdx6NE

Can I get uhhhh… it is a super simple and short commercial yet here I am thinking about it two days later. Plus it had Grimace and Kanye. I might have to go get some fries later.

Elyse Delano, Communications Associate

Link: https://youtu.be/4TEKZo6b11M 

This Planet Fitness commercial, “What’s Gotten Into Lindsay”, featured Lindsay Lohan and toed the line between humor and brashness. The theme of this Super Bowl seemed to be revival of house-hold names from years past, both in the commercials and halftime show, and the Planet Fitness commercial fit right in. In it, Lindsay poked fun at her past, mentioning her history at clubs, under house arrest and with DUIs. They credited Linday’s shift in lifestyle, from late-night run-ins with paparazzi to early bedtimes, to her consistent gym routine. Planet Fitness did a great job highlighting the benefits of working out in a way that got people laughing and talking about someone most of the audience, from Gen Z to Boomers, would recognize.

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