Think Big February 17, 2022

Armchair Quarterback Ad Report

The second Super Bowl of the COVID-19 pandemic aired on Sunday. As always, it delivered on its usual promise of celebrity-ridden advertising goodness. A dozen first time brands appeared this year from the fintech, health and betting categories, which is a strong reflection of how consumer spending habits have shifted over the last year or so. 

Super Bowl commercials really do mirror the mood of the people. Happily, most marketers took the opportunity to look beyond the pandemic, focusing on lighter themes such as friendship, humour and revival. It could infer that society is yearning for an escape rather than the quiet reflection that has dominated discourse of late.

One of the more obvious takeaways from the event was the heavy influence of crypto companies (many dubbing it “the Crypto Bowl”), with one contender seemingly stealing the show. Overall, this year was a strong effort from all involved, featuring all the entertainment and innovation you might expect. 

Here are our top five (highly subjective) favourites:


Arguably the most distinctive ad was Coinbase’s minimalist bouncing QR code. Inspired by DVD screensavers, the code drifted across the screen at an angle for a leisurely 60 seconds with retro music playing in the background. According to Adage, it directed more than 20 million hits to the landing page (six times projected engagement) in a single minute and immediately crashed their promotional page, website and app. The proven format used in  Reddit’s 2021 Super Bowl entry (which also did incredibly well) goes to show that a good idea always trumps a massive production budget or celebrity stunt casting.


Thanks to some tongue twister copywriting (remember the “she sells seashells” rhyme?), Squarespace provided an enjoyable and well executed spot that, like an Instagram ecommerce fever-dream, artistically demonstrated the value of their platform. It was helped by casting one of the hottest celebrities on the planet, Zendaya, as the star.


Built on the insight that you tend to regret the things you didn’t do, rather than the products you didn’t buy. Spoiler alert, it’s not lost on the audience that Ewan McGregor walks past a giant Bitcoin before arriving at the beach. It’s a nice effort from the travel sector, which has been hit hard over the last couple of years.


Starring aptly named Jerod Mayo and the self-described ‘very hitable’ Pete Davidson, this humorous spot focuses on the issue of food waste. Hellman’s Mayonnaise demonstrates how to make meals out of the things you would have otherwise thrown away.


Amazon’s Alexa is so intuitive it’s like it can read your mind. Another humor-based spot helped by stars Scarlett Hohansen and Colin Jost deliver a clever set of Alexa related gags. According to YouTube, this was the number one most watched spot on game day.

These words are by Thomas Morton

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