The Super Bowl is more than just a game; it’s a cultural event. And what’s a cultural event without some memorable advertising? Whether you’re a fan of the game or not, chances are you’ve tuned in at least once to catch the spectacle of the Super Bowl commercials and half-time show.  


It was drama on and off the pitch for 2024’s big game and, as ever, the ads continued to provide ripe pickings for brand and marketing learnings. A showcase of effective storytelling, audience engagement, and brand strategy resonance turns a simple 30-second spot into a grandiose spectacle capturing the attention of millions. 


When it comes to helping students understand the power of branding, Hult professor Dr. Matthew D. Fisher always kicks off his brand management class with a deep dive into Super Bowl ads. With a jaw-dropping 7-million-dollar price tag for a 30-second spot, brands entering this arena need to bring their A-game. 


We caught up with Dr. Fisher for a quick brand strategy debrief post-match. Here’s his breakdown of 2024’s winners and losers: 


🎯Hit: Verizon & Beyonce  

 Leveraging Beyonce’s influence to illustrate the strength of their network was a smart move.  


Why it worked:  

  1. With Beyonce as their spokesperson, Verizon managed to make a less tangible service feature like network capacity seem appealing.  
  2. By depicting scenarios where Beyonce’s activities could potentially “break the Internet,” she couldn’t overwhelm Verizon effectively showcasing its robust infrastructure.  
  3. This approach served to drive home the point about Verizon’s readiness for any eventuality, including an unexpected political announcement from BOTUS (Beyonce of the United States) herself.  
  4. Beyonce did announce a new album and drop new tracks to ensure that fans don’t leave empty-handed. 
  5. The ad not only resonated with fans but also highlighted the brand’s reliability in handling high internet traffic. 


Watch Verizon’s Super Bowl ad featuring Beyonce. 


❌ Miss: BMW & Christopher Walken  

How did this ad enhance the BMW brand? You’ve got me. You would be grasping at straws to offer much of an argument for how this advanced the brand or promoted products.  


Why it didn’t work: 

  1. Despite featuring a recognizable (for older audiences anyway) celebrity in Christopher Walken, this ad failed to leave a lasting impression.  
  2. BMW’s attempt to harness Christopher Walken’s charm fell flat and left audiences confused. 
  3. The ad’s focus on Walken’s persona overshadowed BMW’s message and it was ineffective in promoting the brand or its products.  
  4. While the ad may have been entertaining, it failed to deliver on brand promotion or recall—a key aspect of any successful ad. 
  5. A lot of money was spent on the ad time and Christopher Walken, but it is hard to see how any of this benefits BMW. 


Watch BMW’s Super Bowl ad featuring Christopher Walken. 


😢 Tear-Jerker:  Kia EV9 

This standout ad tugged at heartstrings with its poignant narrative of a child figure skater and her elderly relative.  


Why it worked: 

  1. It told a heartwarming story that managed to engage the audience on a deeply emotional level. The scene featuring a young figure skater performing for an absent relative, unable to attend a precious event, really struck a chord with viewers. 
  2. Kia employed the effective storytelling technique of relatability. It took a feature associated with distress and emergency (storms or power cuts) and turned it into a tool for everyday use. 
  3. By showing the vehicle powering the lights for the child to recreate the special event at the home of the elderly relative, it showed how Kia EV 9’s features could create meaningful moments, moving beyond its standard use. 
  4. The tear-evoking scene was a stark contrast with so many ads aimed at making the audience laugh, causing many to remember lost loved ones. 
  5. The young skater used in the ad was discovered through an extensive search, and she had no idea her performance would be featured on such a grand platform. This backstory adds depth to the ad’s emotional connection. 


Watch Kia’s emotional Super Bowl ad 



🤣 Biggest Laughs: CeraVe & Michel Cera 

 The funniest ad by far and certainly a contender for best overall, is CeraVe.  


Why it worked: 

  1. Michael Cera’s humorous endorsement of the skincare brand added a refreshing twist to celebrity endorsements.  
  2. While celebrity cameos have become almost formulaic to Super Bowl ads and often overshadow the associated brands, CeraVe’s was a triumph. Not just because it featured the celebrity cameo trend, but how it deployed it. 
  3. The layered storytelling of Michael Cera laying claim to his namesake product is fun, clever, and attention-grabbing—instantly setting the tone for the rest of the ad. 
  4. The story abruptly pivots to imply an odd obsession by Cera (the actor, not the product) that is not what the company has in mind. 
  5. The ad smartly played on the duality of “Cera”—the actor and the product—creating a memorable storyline that raises both brand awareness and recall. 



🌟 Instant Classic: Volkswagen 

Hands down the best nostalgic ad this year and one that will be shown in the classroom for years to come. While the other ads are very well done, this is the one that will be the most enduring in my classroom content and is my winner of the Super Bowl 2024.


Why it wins: 

  1. This nostalgic ad told the story of the brand’s heritage throughout the decades, from the novel VW bug to the future of the reintroduced microbus.  
  2. The nostalgia-driven visual narrative compels the audience to think of the cultural significance that the vehicles have had in pop culture.  
  3. The ad mixes black and white scenes with color to drive home the transition from the past to the future. Navigating the balance between nostalgia and the promise of tomorrow, Volkswagen delivered an ad that packed an emotional punch while both promoting upcoming VW models and brand building. 
  4. Let’s not overlook the masterful choice of Neil Diamond to add depth and gravitas to the imagery.  
  5. With several cut scenes of family film footage, the commercial hits all the feels with music, imagery, and authenticity. 




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