Super Bowl ads 2022: what they can tell us about marketing in the future?

Super Bowl Ads 2022

After weeks of hype, an epic build-up, and an unforgettable halftime show, the Super Bowl has come and gone, but not without making a lasting impact on the marketing world once again.  

The Super Bowl is the biggest marketing opportunity of the year of advertisers. With an audience of over 112 million viewers worldwide, getting an advertising spot during the game is a chance for brands to reach new customers and promote themselves unlike any other.  

This year, each 30-second slot reportedly cost $6.5 million. With that kind of investment, it’s imperative these big brands get it right.  

That being said, what can we learn from the 2022 Super Bowl ads?  

With such a broad and diverse audience to appeal to, brands work with some of the top minds in advertising to perfect their marketing message. It’s their job to translate the sentiments of society today and turn them into ads that connect with the audience.  

Every year advertisers and marketers put the work in to discover what’s important to audience in the moment and deliver the perfect 30-second video to have a resounding effect on new prospective customers.  

So, now the Super Bowl is over, and the ads have aired, what are the key themes this year and what messages should we incorporate into our own marketing?  

1. Sustainability is top of the agenda

The Super Bowl has always been a prime spot for car advertising and this year was no different.  

However, what was different was the fact every car advertised was electric. Anyone who’s been paying attention to the automotive industry over the past couple of years will know there has been a major shift in focus; many have set clear-cut objectives to end the production of gas-guzzling cars in favor of electricity-powered vehicles.  

We’ve seen this commitment cemented in place this year.  

There has been something of a reckoning in recent years around the subject of sustainability. There’s no hiding away from the effects of global warming today. And we all have a part to play, especially big automotive brands.  

General Motors don’t shy away from the subject at hand. Starring Mike Meyers as the one and only Dr. Evil as he takes over GM’s HQ, he and his loyal sidekicks decide to continue to make the brand’s new electric vehicles so they can save the world. Of course, in standard Dr. Evil fashion, it’s so they can ultimately take over the world, but the message is still there.  

The electric car company, Polestar, was named as the top-performing commercial of the Super Bowl. In it, it took aim as ‘greenwashing’ marketing tactics.  

This is a message very close to our hearts here at Dotdigital, so it’s amazing to see huge brands getting onboard and championing the cause. It’s all about being open, honest, and having the integrity to do what you say.  

2. Human-to-human marketing is here to stay

Another noticeable change is not just the message that’s being communicated, but the brands that are advertising.  

The last couple of years has resulted in a significant change in the work-life balance. Work from home edicts meant that ways of working adapted almost every night. Two years on and we’re seeing the evidence of a new culture emerging. One where the line between work and home life is blurred.  

This year’s line-up of Super Bowl ads included brands like, Squarespace, QuickBooks, and ClickUp all of which are B2B brands designed to make working easier. In a world where ecommerce marketing tactics always seem to outshine B2B tactics, it’s exciting to see brands embracing a human-to-human marketing approach.  

At the end of the day, B2B buyers are humans, exactly the same as consumers, sitting down to watch the game with friends and family. Reaching them on a traditionally ecommerce-centric channel is brilliant and memorable.  

It’s time all B2B and non-commerce brands start thinking about the ‘people’ they’re marketing to, not just the job title, industry, or charitable cause they’re trying to connect with.  


3. Realizing the power of QR codes

Widely considered to be one of the best commercials from this year’s crop, cryptocurrency brand Coinbase used a single QR code to tap into the audience’s curiosity and fear of missing out.  

Stylized to look like the DVD logo of old, the brand’s ad saw a QR code bouncing around the screen. Ingenious in its simplicity, the ad appears to have crashed the company’s ads and thousands flocked to their phones to discover the story behind the code.  

We’ve seen a recent resurgence in QR codes. For some reason, they never really took off when they were first introduced to the world, but this commercial has helped cement their place as a key marketing tactic. QR codes are easy to create, share, and track whilst being accessible to everyone with a smartphone. With over 6 billion smartphone users worldwide, it’s time marketers got onboard and realized the real power of QR codes.  

4. Empowerment of the consumer

This year’s Super Bowl commercials saw an increase in the number of finance brands getting involved. And, not just traditional banks, but investment and cryptocurrency brands in particular.  

So what? What does that mean for all the non-finance brands out there? Simply put, it’s the message repeated by each and every one of these brands: it’s time to take control.  

This comes hot on the heels of Apple’s iOS 15 update that gives Apple users better control over their data and privacy. Consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. This means they’re able to make informed decisions about everything and anything that concerns them.  

Brands that want to survive should consider how they can empower their customers. In our ‘rise of the responsible marketer’ report, we found that trust and data are huge considerations in the modern consumer’s decision-making process. They want to be in control of what data brands hold on them. They want to be empowered.  

5. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Typically, Super Bowl ads are a mixture of heartfelt sentiment, seriousness, and humor. This year, however, there were laughs all around.  

Let’s face it, we’ve had a tough couple of years. We don’t need to be reminded about it anymore, let’s start moving forward and returning to normal. And what’s more normal that having a laugh and a joke with your friends.  

Even brands you wouldn’t expect got in on the act. Walmart’s Sam’s Club turned to Kevin Hart to make shopping fun. Greenlight used Ty Burrell to teach financial literacy. Hellman’s spread their message about food waste with the help of Jerod Mayo and Pete Davidson. Amazon’s Alexa, Planet Fitness, Uber Eats. They all got their message across while bringing a smile to the audience’s face.  

And, better still, they did so without controversy and maintaining their impeccable brand images. This is a testament to the fact no matter what industry you’re in, there’s always room for a laugh.  

Special mention: Cutwater Spirits

Work smarter, not harder – a motto we live by at Dotdigital, and one we want to make possible for you too. 


Jenna Paton, Content Marketing Manager
Jenna expertly writes thought-leadership content about cross-channel marketing and customer engagement and manages the creation and execution of Dotdigital's content marketing strategy.

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