By continuing to use this site you agree to our Cookies Policy.
Expert Q & A

The New Mainstream, According to Super Bowl Ads

July 5, 2022
February 15, 2022
Mae Rice

Super Bowl ads cost so much and reach so many people that they’re usually “basic.” In 2022, turns out cryptocurrencies and electric vehicles are basic!

Table of Contents

This is an excerpt from MarketerHire's weekly newsletter, Raisin Bread. To get a tasty marketing snack in your inbox every week, subscribe here.

Super Bowl ads are usually pretty “basic.”

That’s according to Ellen Kim, MarketerHire’s VP of creative operations who led production on global creative agencies’ Super Bowl projects for years. 

Super Bowl ads are expensive media buys — $6.5M for a 30-second spot this year, up 6X+ from last year — and they reach an audience of 36M households

The brands that can afford that usually sell alcohol, pizza and phone plans. Mainstream stuff. 

This year, the mainstream expanded. Here are three new product categories Kim noticed in the 2022 Super Bowl ads, and her take on an in ad each one.

Crypto (and QR codes)

Most noteworthy ad: crypto wallet Coinbase’s ad, starring a screensaver-esque QR code bouncing around the screen

Why it stood out: Unlike most Super Bowl ads, this one had no story and no text CTA — but thanks to pandemic-era menus, everyone knew what to do. 

In one minute, 20M people clicked through to the landing page — so many that they briefly crashed Coinbase’s app

“QR codes were such a dead thing prior to the pandemic,” Kim said. No longer

Other Super Bowl advertisers in this space: Crypto.com, FTX

Electric vehicles

Most noteworthy ad: BMW's ad for the BMW iX, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek as retired Zeus and Hera 

Why it stood out: This one struck Kim as a bit off-brand and “overly silly.” The story is a (tortured?) pun, linking Zeus’s mythical lightning bolt and “power” to electric vehicles.

Even the closing music cue, “Electric Avenue,” is punny.

“I don't expect that [tone] from the ultimate driving machine,” Kim said — or in an ad for something that costs $83K.

Other Super Bowl advertisers in this space: Wallbox, Nissan, Polestar, Kia, Chevy

Freelance services

Noteworthy ad: TurboTax’s ad for TurboTax Live, featuring “a freelancer who just bought a home that’s also her office”

Why it stood out: It touches on challenges freelancers have had forever — figuring out their home-office tax deductions, working for international clients, etc. 

Kim works for MarketerHire, a freelance talent platform, so this one caught her eye. Freelance message board fodder had “made it out into the open.”

Other Super Bowl advertisers in this space: None (yet)!

Our takeaway? 

The pandemic has changed everything — including what’s worth a ~$7M ad buy. 

Priuses and Teslas now have a category’s worth of competition; crypto is pop culture; and freelancers are a big enough audience to address directly on Super Bowl Sunday. 

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

Hire a Marketer
Join MarketerHire Today
We'll match you with a perfect expert.