Super Bowl Feedback: Yuna Park, Engagement at Forsman & Bodenfors New York

We asked creative executives in the advertising industry their thoughts on Super Bowl LIV, and here’s what Yuna Park, engagement at Forsman & Bodenfors New York shared with us:

What was your favorite and least favorite creative campaign this year?

FAVORITE: Rocket Mortgage “Comfortable”

Excellent use of celebrity talent to hammer home a strategic point. Also paired with really good behind the scenes content that was both compelling and on-brief.

LEAST FAVORITE: Heinz “Find the Goodness”

This felt like a spot that could have lived outside the Super Bowl. I don’t know if the brand will get the benefits of having spent the money for a big spot if the message and creative execution were limited to their translation of universality.

2. What did you feel were the overall themes this year?

Celebrities. It was a star-studded affair, from MC Hammer in the Cheetos ‘Can’t Touch This’ spot to Rachel Dratch, John Krasinski and Chris Evans in the Hyundai ‘Smaht Pahk’ spot. A-list stars have been a part of Super Bowl ads for years, but this year seemed particularly heavy on talent. We love celebrities as advertisers because they bring a layer of guaranteed success in the execution, as conversations undoubtedly arise around these personalities, but the parade of talent we saw during the Super Bowl showed the downside of this strategy. We’ve set the expectation for consumers to see big celebrities on the screen, and then we start to compete amongst ourselves, seeing what level of celebrity X brand was able to afford and pull vs. another.

It’s not to say that celebrities aren’t great assets to tap for Super Bowl ads. Looking at what Jeep pulled off in a short time with Bill Murray, we can see how talent can propel – or completely own – a story. But it felt that many were working with a brief that said celebrities should be considered to reverse-engineer viral success, which does limit creative explorations.

And then there was humor. 2019 had more spots with gravitas, more serious tones in their messages. Remember Verizon’s First Responder spot which brought a whole new tone to the day. This year introduced a lot more levity, perhaps knowing that President Trump and Mike Bloomberg were both running political ads, brands were happy to play in the opposite space.

3. What do you wish you could of seen more of?

Statements from brands. Our client Saucony was one of the few who expressed their ambitions to the world. Consumers are looking to brands to see where they are directing their attention; with the shift to humor, brands were less willing to talk about serious matters that are clearly in our consumers’ minds – e.g. sustainability. I’d hope that brands next year can speak about their purposes more clearly while still delivering on entertainment value.