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Super Bowl LVI Highlights

The Los Angeles Rams may have emerged victorious in Super Bowl LVI, but there was more than one winner of this year’s game. Highly anticipated ads scored with audiences, who enjoyed the celebrity appearances, hits of pop-culture nostalgia and generally light tones offering a welcome break from the pandemic, plus a few purpose-driven spots that managed to successfully address our current cultural moment. Extreme Reach likewise played an important role in getting the ads to air, with over 90 percent of them moving through the ER platform. Teams responsible for Talent & Rights, Clearance, Traffic and Delivery ensured that the high-priced spots aired in compliance and pristine condition. ER has proudly done this job for over a decade, reaching a new record of volume in stewarding spots through the creative supply chain for this year’s biggest day in live TV. Just in case you missed them, here are a few more top moments from the Big Game!

Tuning In
Following last year’s Super Bowl ratings slump, NBCUniversal scored a touchdown with its 112.3 total million viewers who watched the game on linear and streaming platforms including NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, NBC Sports digital, NFL digital and Yahoo Sports mobile. That marked a 16 percent viewership increase over the 2021 game seen by 96.4 million people on CBS. While the vast majority of viewers—99 million—tuned in via NBC, an additional 1.9 million watched Telemundo’s first-ever Spanish Super Bowl broadcast, while 11.2 million fans caught the action on streaming sites. The history-making halftime show featuring Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar—plus surprise guest 50 Cent—became a top 10 hit that drew over 103 million viewers, up 7 percent from last year’s hit performance by The Weeknd. All these numbers add up to the most-watched Super Bowl since 2015, when 114.4 million people saw the New England Patriots victoriously battle it out against the Seattle Seahawks. What’s more, the average ad this year reached 106 million viewers, according to iSpot.tv data.

Funny and Famous
Comedy ruled on game day and celebrity participation in Super Bowl spots was even higher than last year. According to Source Creative, the continuously updated database of global commercials with full production credits and a division of Extreme Reach, 43 of the 64 in-game national spots fall into the category of comedy and 37 of the 64 featured celebrities, up from 34 in 2021. “The thing that I’ve noticed coming through the work that I’ve seen come out so far is this sense of escapism,” James Denman, head of innovation and marketing at agency Yard NYC, told Marketing Dive. “Everything just feels lighter.”

General Motors paired with McCann Detroit to deliver “Dr. EV-il,” an offering that featured Mike Meyers reprising his beloved role as Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil to make a plea for electric vehicles (EV) that can help combat the effects of global warming. FTX delivered “Don’t Miss Out,” a tongue-in-cheek spot featuring Larry David as a misguided crank throughout the ages who consistently—and incorrectly—belittles remarkable innovations like indoor plumbing, the light bulb, the Declaration of Independence and, now, cryptocurrency. Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan paired up for Lay’s “Golden Memories,” which saw the comedic duo reminiscing about unforgettable moments they’ve had together, like their first road trip, the time they were kidnapped by a stalker or when Rogan bought his first house, which ended up being haunted. Through all these “golden” escapades, Lay’s chips were there. Finally, Uber Eats featured a zany ensemble cast including Jennifer Coolidge, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicholas Braun (Cousin Greg from Succession) in their “Uber Don’t Eats” second-quarter spot that saw people sampling kitty litter, tearing into diapers and crunching on candles, to let consumers know they can now also order non-food items from the delivery service.

On Purpose
While levity ruled the day for Super Bowl messaging, a few socially conscious spots warmed hearts and won positive feedback. Unilever’s Hellmann’s mayonnaise brand played on a pun to inject notes of humor into an ad focused on a serious subject—tackling food waste. Former NFL linebacker Jerod Mayo literally tackles consumers who are about to throw away old bread, leftover potatoes and slightly wilted spinach, telling them to make grilled cheese, potato salad or a frittata instead. “Hellmann’s…struck a nice balance between purpose and entertainment,” said Leeann Leahy, chief executive of VIA. “They did a nice job of making a purpose message accessible.”

Google’s emotional ad touched on the fact that camera technology has historically excluded people of color, leading to unflattering portraits or images that were too dark to see. But now, thanks to the AI-powered Real Tone feature on Google’s Pixel 6 smartphone that enables more accurate portrayal of dark skin tones, consumers are finding increased photographic equity. The spot played to a previously unreleased song by Lizzo, who sang, “If you love me, you love all of me.” From giggle-inducing moments to celebrity appearances to messages worth pondering, this year’s Super Bowl spots drew record fans and made all the right plays. We’re already looking forward to what next year will bring!