As a team of storytellers, we watch the Super Bowl for the commercials [and the half-time show]. In case you missed it, we’ve rounded up the top five ads centered around a common theme: nostalgia, a tool that can easily connect you to your audience. Plus, our Head of Post-Production, Alex Shumate, gives pro tips!

These ads represent some of the highest-stakes, most creative, and most effective advertising efforts of the year. Here are five key takeaways from this year’s Super Bowl ads that you can apply to your business:

1. Emotional Connections are Powerful

Advertisements that form an emotional connection with viewers are often the most memorable and effective. Whether they use humor, drama, or heartwarming moments, the best Super Bowl ads tap into viewers’ feelings and create a lasting impression. Our pick for Best Emotional Connection is The Farmer’s Dog (we dare you not to cry). 

Producer Tip: Using an editing technique that communicates the dog’s perspective elevates the entire spot and creates an emotional beat.  The commercial could have ended without this, but by adding that quick montage, it really ramped up the emotional element, letting the viewer truly feel what the dog is experiencing. Plus, having it all shot with a wide lens to communicate to the viewer that they are seeing the dog’s perspective is a nice touch.

2. Authenticity is Key

In an era when audiences are increasingly skeptical of advertising, authenticity is more important than ever. Ads that feel genuine and true to the brand are more likely to resonate with viewers and build trust. “Diddy don’t do jingles.” But he does do hits, and he dropped one for Uber One. Plus, Montell Jordan, Kelis, Donna Lewis, Ylvis, and Haddaway all make an appearance and leverage some of their iconic hits.

Producer Tip: When all else fails, you can always rely on the power of nostalgia to connect with your viewers, which is what this commercial executed to the “T” by using a variety of songs from different eras to try and connect with everyone.

3. Timing Matters

The Super Bowl attracts a massive, captive audience, making it an ideal time for brands to launch new products, campaigns, and initiatives. By aligning your advertising efforts with this highly visible event, you can maximize the impact of your message and reach a wide audience. Take U2’s Floating Object ad for example.

Producer Tip: The fast cuts, digital noise, and news nat sound emphasize realism. I like that the full shape and scale of the sphere is not shown until the end to increase tension. At the halfway mark they, show it from a ground perspective, but it’s completely out of focus, holding back the reveal to the viewer until the end.

4. Creativity is Rewarded

The Super Bowl is the perfect platform to showcase creativity and stand out from the competition. Ads that are unique, surprising, and visually appealing are more likely to capture viewers’ attention and leave a lasting impression. Watch Avocados from Mexico’s spin on the story of Adam and Eve and how humanity would have changed had they eaten an avocado instead.

Producer Tip: It looks like when they show the “Avocado World,” the color does look like it has a consistent green color tone throughout. It’s subtle but I think it’s there. This is a nice touch since it fits with the Avocado’s brand and product.  

5. Storytelling is Critical

The best ads are those that tell a compelling story and convey a clear message. Whether they are focused on a new product, a social cause, or a brand message, the most effective Super Bowl ads use storytelling to engage and captivate viewers. Last but certainly not least, our pick for Best Storytelling is Amazon. Setting the stage with a story most of us can relate to, this ad takes us through life with a dog through the pandemic and after, showing us how Amazon is here for all of life’s needs (including your fur babies’). Two dog commercials in our roundup? Not a coincidence.

Producer Tip: This spot is great because it keeps changing the story beat on the viewer. While not visually complex, this commercial relies on the thing that matters most… excellent storytelling.

In conclusion, marrying an emotional connection with a functional solution is a winning combination!