The biggest star of Super Bowl LVII commercials? Nostalgia. (2024)


By Khristopher J. Brooks

/ MoneyWatch

Super Bowl ads released ahead of the game

Although a range of companies are advertising their wares duringSuper Bowl LVII, a common theme runs through many of the spots: nostalgia.

Many of this year's crop of Super Bowl ads are playing it safe, tapping cultural references from the 1970s, '80s and '90s. For example, tennis champion Serena Williams stars in a Michelob Ultra ad that draws on the classic comedy "Caddyshack," while John Travolta, who starred in "Grease" more than 40 years ago, croons the musical's hit "Summer Nights" on behalf of T-Mobile's 5G home internet service.

"Super Bowl ads are always a reflection of the country, to some degree," said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University. "Companies are sticking with lighthearted advertising as a safe approach given all the challenges facing the country."

  • Here's a sneak peek at some of this year's Super Bowl ads

That means edgier ads, like Apple's celebrated 1984 commercial for its MacIntosh computer, are out, and humor is in.

"Consumers are looking for a good laugh and to feel comfortable," said Rich Weinstein, a professor at VCU Brandcenter. "It's less about living in the problems the world faces today and more about leaning into nostalgia and having fun."

Other Super Bowl ads this year that look back fondly on the past: Alicia Silverstone reprising her role from the 1995 film "Clueless" in an ad for Rakuten; Intuit TurboTax using the 1982 song "Safety Dance" from Men Without Hats; and actor Adam Driver starring in a Squarespace commercial that evokes "The Matrix."

Driver told CBS MoneyWatch he has practically no experience creating websites, which is the main service Squarespace provides. Still, the actor said he agreed to do the spot because he has always been a fan of Squarespace's "odd and funny" commercials.

"I never think of the people in their living rooms watching it until someone reminds me that's the end game," he said.

Time for a national "group hug"?

The Super Bowl is advertising's biggest stage, with companies jockeying to get their products in front of millions of people. Last year, more than 208 million peoplewatchedthe big game, according to NFL data. This year, a 30-second ad costs about $7 million. But the costs can be more than twice as high once the price of producing the spot and running associated social media campaigns are factored in.

Beyond the sheer numbers of people who are watching, creating a Super Bowl ad is tricky in part because of the audience's diversity. For example, "You have to come up with a spot that is going to resonate with younger people and also older people," Calkins said.

And for Super Bowl LVII, advertisers are likely tapping older, well-known celebrities because of their broad appeal. Meanwhile, the U.S. is still emerging from the pandemic, while inflation and the raging war in Ukraine also shade the current cultural moment.

"This year people are over it, and advertisers are responding really well," said Kelly O'Keefe, CEO of Brand Federation. "There are traditional brands, traditional humor, and it's going to feel like just a big old group hug."

Crypto loses value, Coinbase and FTX Trading debuted some of the most talked-about commercials during last year's Super Bowl, but none of those companies will air an ad this year. Four crypto companies were gearing up for Super Bowl ads but decided to bow out late last year, a Fox Sports executive vice president said.

The crypto industry ismired in its version of a bear marketand still reeling from thesudden bankruptcy collapse of FTX. Some of the biggest names in crypto — including Binance, Coinbase and Kraken — confirmed with CBS MoneyWatch that they're out.

"A 30-second ad at this point in our industry's infancy is not a good use of resources at best and at worst risks bringing in new users before they completely understand the opportunities and risks," Binance Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Hilmann said. "There is a way to advertise crypto responsibly, but the expectations around a Super Bowl ad is not conducive to that type of message."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Khristopher J. Brooks

Khristopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch. He previously worked as a reporter for the Omaha World-Herald, Newsday and the Florida Times-Union. His reporting primarily focuses on the U.S. housing market, the business of sports and bankruptcy.

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts


As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a wide range of information on various topics, including public speaking, Super Bowl ads, and cryptocurrencies. I can provide insights and answer questions related to these subjects. Let's dive into each concept and explore the information available.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is the act of delivering a speech or presentation to an audience. It involves communicating information, persuading listeners, or entertaining a group of people through words, physical delivery, and visual or audio aids . Public speaking is more formal than casual conversation and requires preparation, professional presentation, and effective communication skills.

There are different methods of delivering a speech, including:

  1. Manuscript: This method involves reading a prepared speech word-for-word from a written manuscript.
  2. Memorized: In this method, the speaker memorizes the entire speech and delivers it without referring to any notes.
  3. Impromptu: Impromptu speeches are delivered without prior preparation or planning. The speaker speaks spontaneously on a given topic.
  4. Extemporaneous: Extemporaneous speaking involves preparing some notes in advance to trigger the speaker's memory. These notes are often placed on notecards, and the speaker turns them into full sentences when speaking aloud .

Public speaking can be challenging, and many individuals experience speech anxiety. Strategies for managing speech anxiety include practicing body language techniques, focusing on the audience's interest in the content, and using humor to engage the listeners.

Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl ads are highly anticipated commercials that air during the Super Bowl, the championship game of the National Football League (NFL). These ads are known for their creativity, humor, and high production value. Companies invest significant resources to create memorable and impactful advertisem*nts that reach millions of viewers.

In recent years, a common theme in Super Bowl ads has been nostalgia, with many commercials tapping into cultural references from the 1970s, '80s, and '90s Advertisers often use well-known celebrities from the past to appeal to a broad audience. The goal is to provide lighthearted and entertaining content that resonates with viewers and offers a break from the challenges and problems of the world.

Super Bowl ads are considered a reflection of the country and its cultural moment. They provide an opportunity for companies to showcase their products or services to a diverse audience. Advertisers aim to create ads that resonate with both younger and older viewers, striking a balance between nostalgia and contemporary appeal.

Cryptocurrencies and Super Bowl Ads

While cryptocurrencies have been featured in Super Bowl ads in the past, such as commercials from, Coinbase, and FTX Trading, these companies decided not to air ads during the most recent Super Bowl. The decision was attributed to the crypto industry's current challenges, including a bear market and the bankruptcy collapse of FTX .

Some of the biggest names in the crypto industry, including Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken, confirmed that they opted out of Super Bowl ads. They expressed concerns about the expectations around a Super Bowl ad not aligning with the responsible advertising of cryptocurrencies. These companies believe that educating users about the opportunities and risks of crypto is crucial before engaging in large-scale advertising .


In summary, public speaking involves delivering speeches or presentations to an audience, and there are different methods of delivery. Super Bowl ads are highly anticipated commercials that often tap into nostalgia and use humor to entertain viewers. Cryptocurrency companies chose not to air ads during the most recent Super Bowl due to industry challenges and the need for responsible advertising. If you have any more specific questions or need further information, feel free to ask!

The biggest star of Super Bowl LVII commercials? Nostalgia. (2024)
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