Super Bowl 2019 - How Brands Approached Their Opportunity

February 4, 2019 by 

Another year, another Super Bowl, another Patriots victory…and another year’s worth of Super Bowl ads to chew into. This year, we asked four bright talents from Ogilvy’s Young Professional Network to weigh in on their favorite ad and why it topped their night.

Here are their picks:

Kristen Rodriguez, Account Supervisor


Doritos – Chance the Rapper/Backstreet Boys
For a brand with a history of innovative and breakthrough ads during the Super Bowl, Doritos is expected to deliver. Promoting their new flavor “Flamin’ Hot Nacho,” the brand offered a fresh take on an old song. Was it risky? Well, no. Was a Chance the Rapper x Backstreet Boys collab a mashup we didn’t know we needed in 2019? Also, probably no. But the spot leaned into the millennial affinity for nostalgia, and was nothing short of entertaining. The spot won’t go down in Super Bowl ad history, but with few standouts this year it rose to the top of my favorite list. And, I’ll probably be listening to 90s songs all week.

Gabrielle Maniscalco, Account Executive

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Olay – #KillerSkin
This year, Proctor and Gamble joined Bumble, Toyota, and Michelob Ultra in an effort to represent the Super Bowl’s increasing female audience. Their Olay #KillerSkin spot, the first Super Bowl ad for the brand, depicts Sarah Michelle Gellar hiding from a masked killer while scrambling to unlock her phone through facial recognition technology. Despite a suspenseful start, the commercial takes an upbeat and humorous twist as Gellar comes to the realization that she is unrecognizable due to her use of Olay. The spot channels nostalgia with a nod to cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is presented in a clever and memorable way; no doubt making it a successful Super Bowl commercial. Yet, this comes at the expense of providing product information. While Gellar marvels at the strong efficacy of her skincare routine (the effects of which are exaggerated for entertainment value), she fails to note which skews she uses, and how long she used Olay for before her phone would no longer recognize her. Had these details been neglected in a regular skin care commercial, the spot would not have been as successful, but for Super Bowl purposes, the spot hit the mark.

John Coates, Brand Planner

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Microsoft — We All Win
Nike’s “Dream Crazy”, P&G’s “The Talk”, State Street Global Advisors’ “Fearless Girl” — the marketing world has seen a proliferation of socially conscious advertising of late, and Microsoft’s “We All Win” from Super Bowl LIII can be added to that list.

Brands are shifting to reflect the reality of consumers today. Indeed, over half of US consumers expect brands to be a force for positive change and over two thirds even find a sense of pride from supporting a socially responsible brand.

While personally I don’t think “We All Win” was executed as beautifully as say, “Dream Crazy”, it certainly pulls at your heartstrings to see kids of all abilities enjoying video games with their friends. Moreover, the spot was grounded in the reality of gaming today — gaming is far more than just fun, it’s a way for people to make friends and build community. Overall, well done Microsoft.

Marissa Michaels, Associate, Account Management


Olay – #KillerSkin
Skincare, beauty, makeup, and … football?

Olay was an unexpected player in this year’s Super Bowl. Competing alongside veterans like Pepsi, Budweiser, and Audi, Olay had to think yards outside the box. Olay took a risk by creating an ad completely incongruous with its brand image. Rather than their standard cast of barefaced women smoothing serums onto already-flawless skin, their 30-second spot resembled a horror movie trailer complete with expert scream queen Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Although Olay leveraged a unique form of intrigue amongst a sea of comedy tropes and tear-jerking emblems, it’s evident that 2019 Super Bowl advertisers were all utilizing a common equation: celebrities plus nostalgia equals success. For Olay, it was Sarah Michelle Gellar plus a nod to ‘90s teen horror. For others, it was Sarah Jessica Parker plus references to “Sex and the City” (Stella Artois), or Chance the Rapper plus Backstreet Boys (Frito-Lay).

Releasing your first Super Bowl ad and promoting a product category not usually associated with football fans is a challenge, but Olay took a risk and it paid off.

Ogilvy’s Young Professionals Network nourishes talent to fuel the development of its members and the future of Ogilvy, through offering cross-disciplinary work, continued educational opportunities and meaningful dialogue with agency leadership. It is one of ten professional networks at Ogilvy.

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