Every year during the Super Bowl, my family will place bets on what the first commercial after kickoff will be. In my younger years, it was pure anecdotal speculation. “The Budweiser clydesdales must be high on the lineup,” my mom would say. “It’s gotta be Pepsi,” my dad would say confidently. Usually our guesses would all show up somewhere in the first quarter at least.
These days the guessing is more calculated. We discuss instead the ads we’ve seen teased on social media, the celebrities who will make an appearance first. The days of classic Super Bowl ads as they once were seems long gone—and nothing illustrated that better than the litany of commercials for cryptocurrency during Super Bowl LVI, each of which elicited a communal groan at my Super Bowl gathering. But there were two brands that upheld the Super Bowl commercial traditions of my youth, embodied the platonic ideal of a Super Bowl ad, and celebrated one of the greatest foodstuffs on Earth: the humble potato chip.
Lay’s perfectly leans on star power
The oversaturation of celebrities in Super Bowl ads means it takes something special to stand out. Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen singing along to Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” is, in this writer’s humble opinion, something special indeed. This celebrity casting didn’t rely on controversy or shock—in fact, there’s nothing that feels more comforting and normal than these longtime buddies eating chips together. (Extra points for being a believable endorsement; these guys definitely love potato chips.)
That doesn’t mean Lay’s doesn’t pull out all the stops. This ad was in fact one that was teased ahead of time with some similarly delightful trailers, and the concept of the spot allows for some full-on Hollywood-level production, channeling thrillers, action films, and horror movies while still being a buddy comedy with two of the most likable actors working today.
Pringles keeps it sweet, simple, and meme-able
Who among us hasn’t gotten our grimy paws trapped inside of a Pringles can? The hero of this ad isn’t a celebrity, but just some guy who really loves Pringles, and by the end of the 90-second commercial we (and the can of chips) have followed him throughout his entire life. It’s a simple but relatable visual that’s good for a chuckle and strangely pulls on the heartstrings.
And in an evening packed with loud, flashy ads, this one stands out in its simplicity, visually and conceptually. Still, if Pringles knows what it’s doing, it’ll take this ad to TikTok—I can already picture scrolling through video upon video of the Pringle Can Hand challenge (coming soon to your FYP).
Which ads do you think are gonna be this year’s classics?