2018 Super Bowl Ads that Didn’t Suck (& Why They Worked)

Super Bowl ads that didn't suck in 2018

We have to be honest. This year’s Super Bowl commercials fell short of our expectations. Except for a few gems, most of this year’s ad-fare was a little too careful about not straying into the territory of anything that represented outside-the-box thinking…even remotely. And some were just plain boring (we’re talking about that McDonald’s Big Mac commercial and Coca-Cola’s weird meant-to-be-funny Diet Coke ad).

Let’s look at our four favorite ads from Super Bowl LII and then we’ll finish up by discussing some interesting themes we noticed this year. By the way, we’re saving the best for last, so make sure you don’t miss our recap of the last commercial.

Tourism Australia and Dundee

Ringing in at a cost of $27 million, Tourism Australia’s campaign pulled off a very clever switcheroo during the 2018 Super Bowl. In the weeks leading up to the big game, trailers for a new Crocodile Dundee movie were released, featuring an all-star cast that included the likes of Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, and more.

Fans went nuts talking about the movie and speculating about the plot. When the final “trailer” finally aired during the Super Bowl, the brilliant truth was revealed. It was an elaborate Super Bowl ad campaign promoting tourism to Australia. Talk about high-production, buzz-worthy advertising.

Amazon’s “Alexa Loses Her Voice”

Being the giant that it is, Amazon showcased a 90-second commercial that features Alexa losing her voice. This turn of events forces Amazon to use their “backup plan” to continue assisting customers. CEO Jeff Bezos and actress Rebel Wilson make appearances, as does Anthony Hopkins—who steals the show with a nod to his infamous Hannibal Lecter character.

If you like speculating about hidden meanings, you’ll be interested to know that Austin’s weather forecast was mentioned in the commercial. Could that be a hint that Amazon has chosen the location for its second headquarters?

NFL’s “Touchdown Celebration”

In one of the most entertaining Super Bowl commercials of the day, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hilariously recreated iconic moments from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. The ad—which played on the NFL’s decision to allow touchdown celebrations again in 2017—was a smashing success, and just missed winning USA Today’s 30th Ad Meter contest, finishing second to Amazon’s Alexa commercial.

“It’s a Tide Ad”

Without a doubt, Tide won the Super Bowl of commercials this year with its awesome lineup of ads featuring Stranger Things star David Harbour. Playfully spoofing the typical commercial fare aired during the Super Bowl, Harbour appeared in a parade of common commercial-like scenarios that each ended with him declaring, “It’s a Tide ad.”

The ads were so effective that people took to social media to speculate on each successive commercial, “Is this a Tide ad?” What makes these commercials even more impressive is that everyone remembers the brand and the product being promoted. A study in 2011 showed that just 22% of people who watched commercials remembered the product from those ads.

Well done, Tide.


3 Takeaways from this Year’s Super Bowl Ads

There were three very clear lines drawn in the sand by marketers this year:

  1. Everyone dodged talking about politics. In place of the politically-themed commercials that many people expected to make Super Bowl ad appearances this year, we saw a focus on humanitarian efforts and emotional appeal. Budweiser’s water commercial, Stella Artois, and the Paralympics were some of the standouts.
  2. Humor ruled the day. From rap battles to a jeep chasing a T-Rex to fake movie trailers, Super Bowl ads in 2018 leaned heavily on material that was meant to elicit laughter.
  3. Celebrities were featured heavily. Morgan Freeman, Peter Dinklage, Cindy Crawford, Chris Pratt, Lionel Richie, Keanu Reeves, Matt Damon, and Danny DeVito were just a tiny sampling of the celebrities who appeared in Super Bowl ads this year.

As a purely selfish takeaway, we really missed seeing those Budweiser Clydesdales accompanied by an adorable puppy this year. Oh well—there’s always next year!

Tell us what you think. Which super bowl commercials hit the mark and which ones missed big time?

Check Out 10 of the Best Super Bowl Advertisements of All Time