Super Bowl advertisements fell short compared to prior years

Graphic by Maria Nevada

Ryan Jaeckel


Super Bowl LIII was probably one of the best showings of defense in the sport of football. Some would say the Super Bowl was boring due to its lack of scoring—they aren’t entirely wrong. They’re just wrong about the game being the most boring part of Sunday night.

The most lackluster aspect of the Super Bowl was its advertisements. The opinion was echoed by the panelists for the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials panel on Tuesday night.

All five of the panelists agreed that the commercials were “boring” or “lacked creativity.” One word that was used a lot was “safe.” That was definitely clear watching the commercials myself. There weren’t any commercials that seemed to stick out, grab you or make you think: did they really just do that? 

One of the bigger trends that the panel tuck out was the use of robots and technology. Some panelist found them to be creepy, like the TurboTax “Robot Child” commercial. Not only was the commercial creepy, but it didn’t seem to make sense. The panel felt it prepared viewers to feel comfortable with the growing trend of technology evading consumers lives and to trust tech conglomerates, like Google with personal data use it for the consumers benefit. 

Panel favorites included Microsoft’s “We All Win” commercial about their adaptive controller for Xbox; Google’s salute to veterans with their “Job Search for Veterans” and Walmart’s “Grocery Pickup.” These were favorites for being nostalgic, sending a positive message and giving comfort to consumers and viewers. 

The worst commercials the panel talked about were Devours’ “Food Porn;”  WeatherTechs’ “Pet Comfort” and Bumbles’ advertisement starring Serena Williams. The commercials were poorly received due to their failure to explain what their product does and how it relates to commercial.

I agree with the panel on their general consensus on the commercials this year. The reason the advertisements “felt safe” was because of the current political correctness culture that has started to weave itself into almost every activity we as Americans partake in. Companies decided it was safe to not receive any backlash from viewers choosing to be offended. 

Bud Light thought they were being safe with their “Special Delivery” commercial saying they don’t use corn syrup when they brew their beer. However, this advertisement upset many corn growers in the Midwest. This also elicited a response from Miller Lite about what kind of corn syrup they use by taking a full-page ad in The New York Times. Bud Light has since issued an apology by a “message from the King.”

One commercial I felt should not have aired was The Washington Post’s attempt at saying the media are not fake news and journalists, no matter where they work, are all hard-working individuals. They gave a short tribute to journalists who recently passed before ending in black with the phrase “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Sports have been a way for Americans to escape politics and enjoy some fun. A local sports talk show, “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on 1620 AM The Zone with John Bishop and Josh Peterson,” have a saying when anyone tries to bring up politics on the show: “stick to sports.”

Hopefully for Super Bowl LIIII the ads return to their usual comedic, risky vibe and free of politics. Everyone will be around their televisions with friends and family with a cold one watching Tom Brady and the New England Patriots win their 7th Super Bowl.