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Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review Results

By Tim Calkins and Derek D. Rucker

The Super Bowl remains the most expensive, the most watched, and the most important marketing event of the year.

For the 20th year, students at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management gathered to review the advertising. The focus: business impact. Will the ads succeed in building the brand and the business?

Using ADPLAN, a framework created by Kellogg faculty, students evaluated each spot. Their ratings were used to generate overall grades for each brand: A, B, C, D and F. Brands that ran more than one spot like T-Mobile received an overall grade for their total Super Bowl effort.

Overall, the 2024 Super Bowl featured some remarkable advertising. Below are the grades from the panel for some of the spots, along with some of our own observations.

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Strong Spots: Grade A

These spots didn’t necessarily make everyone’s top list, but we share our thoughts on why they earned an A with our panel.

Google Pixel

The top spot this year was Google Pixel. The ad broke through the clutter with a focus on a product feature to aid visually impaired individuals. At the core, it was a product demonstration, but it elevated the association of Google to an emotional level. The approach is consistent with prior efforts by Google to take function to emotion. The spot's strong distinction and linkage likely pushed this one to the top.


Doritos has done better than any other brand over the past 20 years in the Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review, and the momentum continued in 2024. The brand played on the equity of how great the product is by running a funny spot about two ladies scrambling for a bag of Doritos Dinamita chips. The panel rewarded the spot because the brand was the center of the action. Linkage was strong and the benefit was clear.


There wasn’t a lot of AI featured during the Super Bowl, which is surprising since many see it as the next big thing. One possible reason for the lack of AI is that most brands are not yet certain what to do with it. Microsoft stepped up, however, with a compelling spot for its new Copilot AI platform. The benefit: Copilot can help you achieve your dreams. The brand didn’t show up until midway through this spot, but ultimately linkage was strong. The ad broke through the clutter with a product focused message, and we’ve already heard more people talking about Copilot now than before.


Sometimes a simple joke is enough. It worked for Hellmann’s, as the brand embraced its mayo cat. The advertising was silly and compelling. Most important: it focused on mayo and increasing usage. The celebrities enhanced the impact, though the spot worked either way. If you knew the celebrities it was great, but if you didn’t know the celebrities it still worked. Our favorite scene was the one where people were scrambling to pull the Hellmann’s off the shelf. This was a clear effort to drive purchase.


One of the most important tasks for any brand is to figure out the use case. When should I use this brand, anyway? For some brands it is obvious, but for others this takes more work. Etsy’s Super Bowl spot did a terrific job of showing this. Why go to Etsy? To find a unique, special gift. The scenario was just absurd enough to break through: finding a gift to send back to France after they sent the Statue of Liberty. The solution was Etsy, and, of course, a cheese platter.


It is hard not to like the Reese’s Super Bowl spot. The scenario is over the top absurdity; a group of people panic that Reese’s might be changing, then celebrate with the new caramel flavor, then panic that supply might be limited, then celebrate that the company will be making millions of them. It all works because the branding is exceptional, and the benefit comes through. The spot does a great job introducing the new product while also supporting the base business.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats was built around a cute concept: to remember something, you have to forget something else. So, to remember Uber Eats you have to let other memories go. The spot showed the range of things Uber Eats delivers, though this wasn’t the creative focus. It was more about what people forgot. Uber Eats deserves credit for responding to feedback on earlier creative. The original version of the ad featured someone having an allergic reaction, having forgotten that peanut butter contains peanuts. After hearing negative feedback from the food allergy community about making light of a serious issue, the company reworked the ad to cut that scene. A smart idea to head off potential negative amplification.


There were two exceptional uses of celebrities on the Super Bowl this year. First, Verizon, which ran a remarkable ad featuring Beyonce and her efforts to break the internet. The message was clear: even Beyonce couldn’t generate enough traffic to take down Verizon’s incredibly resilient network. We wonder about the deal behind this spot. Verizon likely paid a small fortune. But perhaps less than one might imagine because this put Beyonce on the Super Bowl in a big way and was a platform for her to announce her new album. Verizon paid for Beyonce’s Super Bowl ad. A great win-win partnership.


The other remarkable use of celebrity was CeraVe’s partnership with Michael Cera. This clever tie-in turned into an integrated campaign with a host of different touchpoints. The spot worked well; the Michael Cera connection was prominent, but the product benefit also came across: CeraVe is a dermatology product with exceptional moisturizing.


Dove was back this year with a spot about keeping girls in sports. The ad was completely in line with Dove’s real beauty campaign. The consistency of Dove is impressive.

Mountain Dew

Aubrey Plaza was the star of this spot for Mountain Dew Baja Blast. The focus was the key line: Having a blast. The line is memorable and catchy. Branding is strong. The spot works well. One could debate the decision to focus on the name of a flavor, Baja Blast, instead of the overall brand.


We wondered if this spot would make the top group, but it did. This look-back at the history of VW highlighted the power of the brand and its emotional connection with people. The goal here was to strengthen connection to the VW brand, not promote a particular vehicle. With strong branding, the spot appears to have achieved that goal.

Weaker Spots

A few brands fell short this year. Here are our thoughts on a few of them.


It is always notable when our panel’s results differ from other evaluations. Square Space is a perfect illustration. The New York Times television critic reviewed the Super Bowl ads and declared that the Squarespace spot, directed by Martin Scorsese, was one of the best. Our panel, taking a more strategic perspective around building a brand, had a different assessment. The Squarespace spot missed on multiple fronts. Brand linkage was exceptionally weak. There was little in terms of benefit. Even the basic message, you need a website, doesn’t make strategic sense. Most people now know that websites are important. The question for Squarespace: why is Squarespace the best place to build one?

Bass Pro Shops

It makes lots of sense for Bass Pro to advertise on the Super Bowl; people are starting to think about summer plans. Drumstick is more debatable; it is a challenge to sell ice cream in the winter. The Bass Pro spot didn’t score well with the panel. We suspect this was due to the complicated message; there was some history, some focus on the Tracker brand of boats, some discussion of the Bass Pro Shop brand. The learning: sometimes it is best to embrace simplicity and focus.

You have to give credit for trying. The brand ran three spots on the Super Bowl (four if you count and worked with high profile celebrities including Dan Levy. The problem: the message was cluttered and hard to follow. Even basic positioning questions got lost. What exactly is anyway? A website? A network of realtors? To be fair, maybe it got the name across, but with so many spots it seems like an opportunity to do much more was missed.


Discount retailer Temu takes the prize for most annoying Super Bowl advertiser. The brand’s spot wasn’t a catastrophic failure: branding was solid, and the benefit was clear: cheap stuff.

That said, it lacked the luster of a Super Bowl spot. To make matters worse, the company ran the same ad three times. On the Super Bowl, this is not a winning approach. The amplification can turn into “Why did they run that terrible ad three times!” instead of something more positive. 

Other Interesting Spots

There were many other spots on the Super Bowl. Here are a few notable ones.


One of the core Super Bowl advertisers, T Mobile was back with two spots this year. One was a funny spot about people auditioning for T Mobile’s loyalty program. The other focused on home internet service. Branding for both spots was strong, but we suspect the audition spot might not deliver. T Mobile’s old strategy of highlighting how its product is better than Verizon’s strikes us as more promising.


The M&M's brand was back with the characters and with a clear message: peanut M&M's are the perfect consolation, just right for when things don’t go your way and you need of a boost.The spot worked fairly well. Linkage was good, and the ad was both attention-getting and distinctive. The complexity of it – something about M&M's being compressed into diamonds for some reason - detracted a bit from the impact.


The most heart-warming spot this year was for Kia. The story of a girl finishing a competition and then driving to her grandfather’s house to give him the performance was emotional. It is easy to lose the brand and the benefit in a spot like this, but the Kia team kept the focus on the brand. Benefits came through: Kia EVs perform well in the snow and can be a power source. Ultimately, Kia enhances your life.

Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism

One of the more anticipated spots was for the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism. People in the industry wondered: how would this fit into the Super Bowl environment? Would the spot polarize?

The ad worked well. In a deft move, the creative focused on all forms of hate and racism. This elevated the message to one with universal appeal.


One of the most entertaining spots was for MGM. This was a well-produced ad that had a clear message: everyone is welcome to bet at MGM except Tom Brady. He has won too much so should let others have a chance. The issue here is that the spot doesn’t address the obvious question. Why should someone bet at MGM? In a world with Draft Kings and Fan Duel, what is the reason to use MGM? We suspect that some sort of differentiating message would have been more powerful.

Pringles, State Farm, Dunkin and BMW

Quite a few advertisers this year focused on things only tangentially related to the actual product. State Farm’s spot was about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inability to correctly pronounce its slogan. Pringles focused on the character on its package. BMW’s spot was about Christopher Walken. Dunkin's was a joke about last year’s Super Bowl spot.

The result? Mediocre Super Bowl ads, according to the Kellogg panel. While the ads were memorable, there weren't any clear benefits.


It was a great year for Super Bowl advertising, and no spots received an F from the Kellogg panel. Advertisers are being careful, and this is good.

With record viewership, 2025 should set a new high for pricing. There is no sign that the Super Bowl is losing its place as marketing’s biggest event.

Contact us about the Super Bowl Ad Review

Haley Robinson
External Communications