The Super Bowl has, in many ways, become as much about the commercials as the game on the field.
The ads that ran during the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers saw a return to humor after a more somber tone being struck throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and a reliance on star power. But did they resonate?
On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Blain Crain, Jake Crain, and David Cone, hosts of The Daily Wire’s Crain & Company, to talk about the best and worst of the Super Bowl LVIII commercials.
From Beyonce for Verizon and Chris Pratt for Pringles to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito for State Farm, celebrities were seemingly everywhere during the big game. Advertisers reportedly paid around $7 million for a 30-second spot during the CBS broadcast, and one can imagine they shelled out untold millions more for the high-profile appearances.
While Hollywood partnerships may drum up media attention, it is unclear whether or not they translate to paying customers. “Many folks’ favorite thing about the Super Bowl is the commercials, and they have largely proven to be a flop,” Megyn said. “There’s not like a ton of buzz around one and there are reasons for that.”
In Cone’s view, Super Bowl commercials have gotten too timid. “I think most of these brands these days think the safest thing they can do is put a celebrity in their spot,” he said. “That way, they can get away with not having to actually come up with anything creative.” As a result, “nothing seems organic,” “nothing seems true,” and “nothing seems actually funny” – regardless how many ‘stars’ you sprinkle in, Blain added.
It wasn’t all that long ago, Megyn recalled, that brands like GoDaddy and Carl’s Jr. made headlines for their Super Bowl ads featuring scantily clad women. “It makes you bond with the brand when they give you a laugh, or it’s something provocative, or they show you the sexy girl,” she explained. “There was none of that. It was all like, ‘We’re very safe. We’re very safe.'”
With that said, Megyn and the guys agreed there were a few ads that, for better or worse, did cut through the noise and get people talking.
One of the most talked-about spots of the night was the Dunkin’ commercial starring Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, and more. In the 60-second ad, Affleck debuts his pop group “The DunKings,” which includes Damon and Brady, to a horrified J.Lo.
While the Crain & Company crew found the commercial to be too reliant on celebrity, Megyn said she enjoyed it. “That one worked for me,” she shared. “I love the friendship between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon… I like the fact that they kind of played on the J.Lo Ben Affleck marriage… and it’s fun to see Tom Brady make fun of himself.”
Even so, she believes the ad says a lot about the differences between the right and left. “Ben Affleck hates Republicans. He hates anybody who’s right of center,” she explained. “This is one of the fundamental differences between people on the right and people on the left: People on the right can look at people on the left who they know hate their damn guts and still be like… ‘The commercial was funny.’ People on the left are like, ‘What’s that person from the right doing here?'”
Another crowd pleaser was the BMW USA commercial featuring Christopher Walken. The minute-long ad featured celebrities doing their best impressions of Walken, while Super Bowl halftime show headliner Usher made a comical cameo at the end.
Megyn called it the “best” of the night, and this one also topped Jake’s list because it allowed him to whip out his own Walken impersonation – much to the dismay of his co-hosts.
Still looking to get back in the good graces of its core customer base, Budweiser and Bud Light hit the airwaves with two ads. Budweiser went for nostalgia with clydesdales and dogs, while Bud Light seemingly tried to nod to the “fratty humor” it was trying to get away from around the time of its ill-fated partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney last spring.
Megyn noted that the embattled brand continues to struggle because they have not properly tried to make amends with the type of people depicted in the commercial who are “not drinking the beer” anymore. “It’s like a suspension of disbelief to watch that ad,” Megyn concluded. “How much money do you think they spent on that ad to avoid apologizing? How much money have they spent on these few conservatives or on Donald Trump… to avoid apologizing?”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Crain & Company by tuning in to episode 722 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.