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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Column: 2024 Super Bowl features revolutionary ads, garners new viewers

Katie Mulcahy

There are the Super Bowl fans, and there are the Super Bowl commercial fans. Both are equally important, but in recent years, the latter has dominated conversation online. This year’s Super Bowl broadcast amassed over 123.4 million viewers and is now the most-watched television program of all time. With that, the typical 30-second ad costs roughly $7 million, a whopping $4.4 million increase from 2010. 

This year, there was an assortment of classic advertisements, such as the Budweiser Clydesdales and the typical movie trailers. However, audiences were surprised that lesser-known companies, especially newcomers like Temu and Papaya Global, promoted their services through the Super Bowl platform. 

Some show-stopping ads featured the most recognizable people in Hollywood, and a few left individuals puzzled — cue RFK Jr.’s slightly problematic presidential campaign ad. 

Here is a deeper look at the best, unnecessary and most unexpected commercials from this year’s Super Bowl. 

Most unexpected drop: Can’t B Broken 

In a surprising collaboration between Beyoncé and Verizon, Queen Bey attempted to break the internet alongside actor Tony Hale. Through her amicable lemonade stand, inevitable presidency, quick gaming stunt and BarBey (a play on “Barbie”), the only line that comes close to breaking the internet is her gimmick at the end stating, “Okay, they ready, drop the music.” Beyoncé subsequently announced  “Renaissance: Act II and released two country singles from it, titled “Texas Hold’em” and “16 Carriages.”

Best female empowerment: Hard Knocks: A Dove Big Game Film 

It is no secret that Taylor Swift has had an immense impact on the NFL and individuals across the world. Once Swift began dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, the Swiftie and NFL communities overlapped more than ever. That said, due to the resulting influx of younger women viewing the Super Bowl, beauty brands such as Dove and e.l.f bought advertisements to promote their products to a unique audience. 

Dove aired its first Super Bowl ad in almost two decades and its message remains ever-present. It simply affirms how young females often quit sports by age 14 due to a lack of confidence rather than a fear of messing up. Airing this commercial during a male-dominated football tournament was inspiring, encouraging individuals to continue doing what they love, instead of letting insecurities get in the way. 

Best movie trailer: “Wicked” 

After production delays due to the SAG-AFTRA and Writer’s Guild strikes, Universal Pictures released the highly anticipated trailer for “Wicked” and fans had split reactions. Some argued that the computer-generated visuals were too elaborate, while others expressed the very opposite, maintaining that the colors and VFX-made environments are integral to understanding the deeper meanings of the production. Similarly, the Land of Oz is a mystical and exciting place, and the trailer perfectly encapsulates the widespread impact of the musical. 

Best celebrity cameo: Michael CeraVe

Actor Michael Cera takes the cake for best celebrity cameo as his awkward remarks and witty timing are expertly showcased in this 30-second masterpiece. However, this marketing campaign spans longer than 30 seconds, as the brand began advertising before the Super Bowl — last month, Cera was spotted in New York City handing out bottles of CeraVe. Brands teaming up with celebrities with similar names is nothing new, however, as it was also seen with Michael Bublé and Bubly in 2019. The commercial is well thought out, though, with Cera claiming CeraVe as his own, with the comedic line, “Human skin is my passion.”  

The tearjerkers: Javier in Frame and Perfect 10

There always has to be the one commercial that sends the Super Bowl function into a silent sniffle — this year, there were two. 

Google is reputably known for pulling on heartstrings, and this year highlighted the new Google Pixel’s strong accessibility features for visually impaired individuals. When the protagonist, Javier, takes a photo, the phone communicates saying, “There is one person in the frame.” The commercial follows Javier through photos and welcomes individuals into his point of view as he meets his future wife, and later, his child. The phone communicates, “There are three people in the frame,” and brings the empaths in the audience to tears. 

Similarly, Kia’s commercial illuminates the importance of having support no matter what. A young female ice skater performs in front of an enormous crowd, but the one person she wanted there was her grandfather. Without one word of dialogue, the commercial conveys that her grandfather is sick and unable to attend his granddaughter’s performance. She later performs the aforementioned routine for her grandfather. For this girl, one family member in the audience is worth more than a full house. 

Best homage to Boston: The DunKings 

Although Dunkin’s slogan is “America Runs on Dunkin’,” everyone knows Boston is the capital of the coffee and doughnut chain. This star-studded commercial, which features Tom Brady, Jack Harlow, Jennifer Lopez, Fat Joe and Massachusetts natives Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, follows the celebs as they try to make it big as a boy band. Thanks to some embarrassing tracksuits and musical numbers in front of Lopez, this commercial is an undeniable frenzy. The cherry on top? Damon references “Good Will Hunting” in his line, “How do you like them… doughnuts? I’m so sorry.”

Most counterproductive: Less social media. More Snapchat. 

There is no denying that Snapchat has been an integral social media network since its release in 2011. The only people that may be denying this is the company itself. Through this advertisement, it is promoting a more authentic environment when, in actuality, it is the culprit for this inauthentic presence in the first place. The ad itself has a strong message, especially given the rise of young influencers — it’s the fact that Snapchat created it that rubbed viewers the wrong way

Most unsettling message: He Gets Us 

This commercial shows a collection of political and ideological opposites washing each other’s feet. For example, a police officer is washing a Black man’s feet, a pro-life protester is washing a pregnant woman’s feet outside a family planning clinic and a priest is washing a gay man’s feet. Not only does the commercial comment on a slew of controversial topics, but it pushes religious beliefs during the most-watched event of all time. Alas, among Gen Z, association with religion is rapidly decreasing, and this commercial acted as an unwarranted indoctrination, capitalizing on groups that are commonly oppressed by religious ideals.

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