The secret sauce of Super Bowl advertising

We sat down with Grant Pace, our executive creative director, before Sunday’s Super Bowl to discuss what makes a brand stand out on advertising’s biggest stage. He should know. Grant helped create one of the most iconic Super Bowl ads of all time – Budweiser’s Bud Bowl.


What makes a successful Super Bowl ad?

A good story well told. Whether it’s heartfelt, or hysterical, you have to bring your A game to play on our biggest stage.


Why are brands like Lexus, Skittles and others taking alternate routes to the Super Bowl?

Survival. They’re fighting for oxygen. It’s become very challenging for brands to stand out and justify the investment to be in this game. If you can create some buzz and engagement without going head to head with the biggest brands and best creative, more power to you. The Skittles idea is wonderful.


What trends will we see this year?

Brands will be fighting to be more relevant to today’s younger audience. The Michelob Ultra Pure Gold spot featuring Zoe Kravitz serving up an ASMR experience is a good example. Many will have no idea of the phenomenon of this YouTube craze. But those that do, will appreciate this execution and could see Michelob in a different light.


Last year a number of brands took a public stand. Will that continue?

No. I think this year brands will seek to entertain. The Budweiser nod to wind power and the environment is a well-played message, without having to get heavy handed. Plus Dylan, you know.


Which ads should look out for?

Jason Bateman is his typical funny self in the Hyundai spot. Nice to see Pepsi right the ship with Steve Carrell and Cardi B. Puts that awful Kendall Jenner concept further in the rearview. I know there is a good buzz around the Carrie Bradshaw/Big Lebowski ad for Stella Artois, but the execution left me a bit flat. I’m intrigued by the Kia “Great Unknowns,” which is denouncing the use of celebrities in the big game, and instead creating a scholarship for those in need.

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