From ‘goofy’ to ‘tone-deaf’: Creatives dissect the tone of Super Bowl LVII ads

Campaign US, February 13th 2023

Super Bowl LVII is done and dusted, and the Kansas City Chiefs are headed back home with the Lombardi trophy in tow.

Campaign US has been diligently covering this year’s slate of ads, from breaking news, to behind-the-scenes deep-dives, to TikTok posts recapping our favorite moments.

But we want to know what the creative industry thinks. So we posted the following question:

What was the tone overall of last night’s Super Bowl ads, and what does that say about the state of the industry? What major themes did you identify?

Sean McBride, chief creative officer, Arnold
To me, this year’s ads felt eager. Eager to please, eager to make a splash and eager to shed the timidity of the past few years and make some truly bowl-worthy things.

But with a few exceptions, when it came to execution, we looked rusty. We got the budgets we wanted, the celebs we wanted, the IP (Caddyshack! Breaking Bad!) we wanted, the client buy-in we wanted… All we needed was the chops to execute and we fumbled.

What we made was too complicated, or too celeb obsessed, or we simply couldn’t land the joke. Too many scenes, too many cameos, too many layers and too few sticky scenes or memorable moments.

To steal from the M&M’s ad, the hard candy shells of the ideas looked pretty tasty, but when we took actual bites, we mostly got clams instead of chocolate.

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