From a Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer Friends reunion for Uber Eats, to Ben Affleck putting on a Dunkin'-inspired performance for Jennifer Lopez, there was a lot to see in 2024 Super Bowl commercials.
According to information provided by YouTube Canada, the Booking.com ad with Tina Fey was the most-watched commercial on YouTube (based on game day views until 12:00 a.m., Feb. 12).
The top 10 most-watched ads on YouTube:
Booking.com: Tina Fey books whoever she wants to be
Mountain Dew: Aubrey Plaza Having a Blast
20th Century Studios: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes | Official Trailer
Universal Pictures: Twisters | Official Trailer
As Susan Charles, brand strategy lead with YouTube Canada explained, successful 2024 Super Bowl commercials relied on "nostalgia" and "humour."
"Drawing on humour, drawing on the heartwarming feeling of nostalgia, drawing on happy memories, ... that's going to make someone remember more and retain that message that the brand was talking about," Charles told Yahoo Canada. "So yes, we're leaning into celebrities, and I would say more of the broad spectrum of human emotion, just to get audiences to remember."
For a brand like Booking.com, the company actually had the most-watched ad two years in a row, showing a winning concept one year can continue in the future.
"When we're looking for Super Bowl ads this year, we're satisfying the curiosity to see what were the most popular ads in previous years," Charles said.
"T-Mobile is a really great example, with the duo from Scrubs taking a front seat both last year and this year, but then also competing a little bit for their spot this year, via the Auditions ad that was Number Two on the top watched spot this year. We see that if brands have seen something work in the past, there's continuity and there's power in reiterating messages, and celebrating duos or trios, or ensembles, that people really loved."
Ultimately, while some Canadians may still be annoyed that we don't see all the U.S. Super Bowl ads watching the game on TV, brands are reaching that audience through platforms like YouTube, including different behind-the-scenes videos and extended commercial cuts that can be shared online.
"YouTube reaches 98 per cent of the Canadian audience, 18 plus, and brands are recognizing that, and using it to their advantage," Charles stressed.
"Brands know and we here at YouTube know that audiences want to know more. They have this insatiable curiosity to understand what happened in the making of the ad, if there's more dialogue that existed in the ad. ... YouTube has all of those answers for every single curiosity that Canadians have. So it played a much bigger role than we've seen in years past."
These are some of the best and worst Super Bowl ads to watch this year:
GRADE A: Dunkin’ - The DunKings ft. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, Jack Harlow, Jennifer Lopez, Fat Joe
It's a bold statement, but we think Ben Affleck is now responsible for the best Super Bowl ad two years in a row. With all those grumpy Affleck memes, it's nice to see him having fun with his own musical performance for J. Lo.
GRADE A: CeraVe - Michael CeraVe
You have to watch out for those TikTok conspiracy theories, but we love CeraVe leaning into the social media mayhem bout Michael Cera developing the skincare brand (but not actually).
GRADE A: Hellmann's - Mayo Cat
Starring Kate McKinnon, the SNL alum is having trouble figuring out how to revamp her leftover food, when her cat makes a sound that sounds like "mayo." And that's how you have a famous talking cat.
The best part of the ad, the cat making it on the front page of People magazine after dumping Pete Davidson.
GRADE A: Booking.com - Tina Fey books whoever she wants to be
What's better than one Tina Fey? Multiples!
Booking.com certainly entertained us with this ad about Fey being a different version of herself, with so many choices for her next vacation experience. This includes "Girls Weekend Tina," "Family Tina," "Cool Mom Tina," "Romantic Tina" and "Splurgy Tina," including 30 Rock costars Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer.
In the big finish, Fey's "nemesis," Glenn Close is pretending to be Fey.
GRADE A: Verizon - Can't B Broken
Beyonce can absolutely break the internet, we're not convinced she couldn't break Verizon's network too, but because of this commercial, we're now dying for someone to develop a new Veep-esque show starring Beyonce and Tony Hale.
GRADE A: State Farm - Like A Good Neighbaaa
Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking his action movie star career to another with State Farm's Super Bowl commercial, and it may actually be among the most entertaining roles he's ever had, filled with jokes about Schwarzenegger's pronunciation of words like "neighbour."
GRADE A: T-Mobile - Auditions
T-Mobile is doubling down on our love of Bradley Cooper's mom judging her son's acting from last year's Super Bowl commercial, stepping it up a notch in 2024 with Suits stars Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht competing for a role. We also have Laura Dern, Jennifer Hudson and common.
GRADE A: T-Mobile - Home Internet Feeling
We have to admit that in 2024, it doesn't really feel like the Super Bowl unless there's an ad with our favourite Scrubs alums Zach Braff and Donald Faison. This time, they're joined by Jason Momoa for a new rendition of "Flashdance...What A Feeling." The kicker at the end, the Flashdance star herself, Jennifer Beals, makes an appearance, and we love it.
GRADE A: Google Pixel SB - Javier in Frame
The commercial for the Google Pixel SB isn't just sweet, but features technology that looks pretty incredible, showing how Google AI allows blind users, or those with low vision, to capture photos.
The ad is directed by Adam Morse, who is registered blind after being diagnosed with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) in 2009, a genetic disease that results in vision loss. To translate the experience of blindness, Morse came up with the idea to use petroleum jelly on the camera lens.
Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes video about the making of this ad, which tells the story of a blind man and his girlfriend, and capturing the evolution of their relationship.
GRADE B: Squarespace - Hello Down There
An ad from legendary director Martin Scorsese is centred around aliens, flying around in UFOs, trying to get the attention of humans on Earth. How do they make contact? A Squarespace website of course.
What really makes the Squarespace Super Bowl ad a B grade is the addition video the company shared with Scorsese working with his daughter Francesca (truly our favourite person on TikTok), to figure out exactly what he wants this alien website to look like.
Ending with Scorsese saying, "this website slaps, kid," is great.
GRADE B: Kia - Perfect 10
We have to admit, it's a lot harder for the emotional Super Bowl ads to stick with us, but this one from Kia for the EV9 SUV did tug at our heart strings.
GRADE B: Lay's - Casting Call
Starring NHL icon Mark Messier, the former professional hockey player teamed up with Lay's for their "Casting Call" ad. People were invited to audition for the company's Big Game commercial, unknowingly part of a bet that if they only try one chip flavour they win $1 million.
Turns out, everyone tried multiple flavours, and they find out that it's not actually an audition, but this is the ad. Proving the "betcha can't pick just one" slogan. Overall, a fun concept.
GRADE B: M&M's - Almost Champions Ring of Comfort
From M&M's and Dan Marino, now "almost champions" can get a ring of their own, even if they've never actually won a Super Bowl.
Consisting of M&M's peanut butter pressed into diamonds, polished with "the sighs of those who almost won a Super Bowl, and Scarlett Johansson," now everyone can get some extra bling. It's an OK concept for the ad, the part about the "sighs" is definitely the funnest idea in the concept.
GRADE C: Popeyes - The Wait is Over
We love seeing Ken Jeong any chance we get, and he always makes us laugh, but we're still waiting for that Community movie.
GRADE C: BMW - Talkin Like Walken
A lot of people think they can do a great Christopher Walken impression, but thanks to BMW’s i5 electric sedan, they have to do it in front of Walken himself, including Emily in Paris star Ashley Park.
GRADE C: Budweiser - Old School Delivery
It's an old school approach for the "Old School Delivery" Budweiser. Nothing wrong with it, and has that nostalgia, just in that "meh" category.
GRADE C: Bud Light - Easy Night Out
Thanks to the Bud Light Genie, all your wishes can come true, including Peyton Manning being your best friend and ostrich racing with Post Malone. This ad definitely falls into the category for commercials that started off a bit bland, but will give you a chuckle by the end.
GRADE C: Coors Light - Chill Train ft. LL Cool J & Lainey Wilson
The Coors Light Chill Train made its debut in 2005 and now it's back, with conductor LL Cool J, travelling through different landscapes.
For Canadian viewers, it's nice to know that it was creating to air in Canada as well this year.
GRADE C: Uber Eats: Don't Forget
We all can be a little forgetful at times, but in this Uber Eats ad, some of our favourite celebrities take that to the extreme.
Jennifer Aniston can't remember Friends costar David Schwimmer, Victoria and David Beckham can't remember the name of the music group Victoria was in, and Jelly Roll doesn't remember that he has tattoos on his face.
It's hard to not be entertained with all these stars involved. But, the ad lost a few points or making fun of having a peanut allergy.
GRADE C: Mountain Dew - Aubrey Plaza Having a Blast
Aubrey Plaza is enjoying a bottle of Baja Blast, a flavour from Mountain Dew that previously only sold through Taco Bell.
The highlight of the ad, seeing her reunite with Parks and Recreation costar Nick Offerman.
GRADE C: Michelob ULTRA - Superior Beach
Sometimes it just takes one quick appearance to turn an ad around, and in this instance it didn't come from Lionel Messi, but Ted Lasso co-creator and star Jason Sudeikis, who pops up to say he goes "way back" with the soccer star.
GRADE C: Etsy - Gift Mode
We would love getting some cheese as a gift, but in terms of this Etsy ad, it's a fun enough concept that you're probably just going to forget about shortly after.
GRADE D: Oreo - Twist on it
With Kris Jenner making an appearance, we had high hopes, but a not-so-funny nod to the success of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and now The Kardashians, fell flat.
GRADE D: Doritos - Dina & Mita
We're not saying that Dina and Mita don't look like a blast to spend time with, but this commercial just didn't make us laugh at all.
GRADE F: Nerds - Addison Rae
Well, this is awkward.
The particularly unfortunate thing for Nerds is that T-Mobile also channeled Flashdance for their ad, using the song "Flashdance...What A Feeling"as well, and recreating Jennifer Beals' big number from the movie.
But unlike T-Mobile, Nerds didn't get the film's star, and a dancing giant Nerd candy can't really compete with the Scrubs stars and Jason Momoa, even it has Addison Rae as a coach.
GRADE F: Snapchat - Less social media. More Snapchat.
This commercial from snap chat is just downright enraging. Yes, Snapchat is a social media platform, and one that has had extensive problems with data collection, child exploitation and more issues.
GRADE F: BODYARMOR Sports Drink - Field of Fake
In an effort to debunk the myths about artificial flavours, this sports drink commercial features Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid. But the ad isn't as successful, or interesting, as McDavid's hockey skills.