Brand Strategy Super Bowl Marketing

It was adland’s worst Super Bowl in years, but everyone is too afraid to tell you


By Andrew Tindall, Global Director

February 13, 2024 | 11 min read

After some long nights crunching the numbers, System1’s Andrew Tindall reveals that Super Bowl LVIII had some of the least effective advertising in the event’s recent history. Not all hope is lost, however. Here, he shares this year’s 11 best TVCs.

Super Bowl

I write for The Drum’s Opinions section because I work for System1, not The Drum. But let me assure you, I won’t be sharing a single opinion on Super Bowl ads here. has been in overdrive, delivering “hot takes” for the past three days already. Instead, we’ve spent the past 72 hours testing all 70 of the 2024 Super Bowl ads with over 10,500 Americans to understand consumers’ thoughts and feelings. All to understand which ads truly were the most creatively effective.

It’s a good job that I won’t be trying to share any of my opinions either because I’m “fucking knackered” (as my Dad would say).

Our research and marketing science team has analyzed every Super Bowl ad for its creative potential for the past five years - naturally, working through the night. All in the name of providing something a little more robust than “my Mum text me about that ad.”

Before the big reveal, it’s worth pondering what a “winning a Super Bowl” ad even means. And whether you should care about those rankings, articles or posts from senior marketers. An effective ad does the job it was meant to. Wouldn’t it be nice if marketers spent money making ads that grew brands and drove the economy? But what source should we trust to pick the best ads?

Well, I was trained as a doctor at University College London before I disappointed my mum and started marketing booze for Bacardi and Diageo. I was taught to make evidence-based decisions. To make this easy, you’d follow a Hierarchy of Evidence pyramid, like that below from the Marketing Scientists, cartoonist Dhananjay Khanna and myself.

The Marketing Scientists / Dhananjay Khanna, Cartoonist, with Andrew Tindall

All the articles you see from senior marketers sharing their favorite ads are brilliant and draw from decades of experience. Still, they firmly sit at the bottom of this evidence pyramid. Just above the layer that my PR director told me I wasn’t allowed to draw in. An invisible shit-brown base layer: “Some Wanker’s Opinion on LinkedIn.”

That’s not to say we need to use “Systematic Reviews” to create ads. We need expert creatives, marketers and strategists to make ads with craft. But to understand how ads will perform, we also need to reach as high up this pyramid as possible to get evidence supporting these experts’ efforts.

So here’s the System1 Star Rating of all 70 2024 Super Bowl ads.

Why should you care? These 70 Star Ratings are built from the emotional reactions of over 10,500 nationally representative American consumers. My sherry-drinking colleague, Orlando Wood, built on the work of Les Binet and Peter Field’s ‘The Long and Short of It’ to do a complex meta-analysis to understand what drives market share growth using our Star Rating. You could possibly call it a Systemic Review, as he’d read everyone else’s research in this area before building this study, but I’m not going to push my luck.

He used effectiveness data from the IPA (International Practitioners of Advertisers) to show that Star Rating and ESOV predict nearly half of long-term market share changes. It’s simply incredible that media and ad creative explain almost half of all market share changes for brands. Leaving the other half to the other three Ps. This is golden news for anyone who works in ads.

Star Rating

So, screw my opinion of Super Bowl ads.

I’ve spent three days using our data to try to give you some definitive answers. And like I do on my LinkedIn. I will overshare a load of insights that costs us thousands to create.

Firstly, to get this out the way, that Temu ad. One large publication said the brand gave up on creative excellence and went for brute media force. High-horse-bollocks. Our testing shows this ad does exactly what it needs to do. He tells everyone who Temu is. Only 2% of Americans didn’t link the ad to Temu–98% Fluency. As a “newbie,” this is brilliant. It also does rather OK on our other metrics.

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

The Drum Insider

Once a month

Learn how to pitch to our editors and get published on The Drum.

However, our data agrees that this year’s Super Bowl ads were generally the worst we’ve seen in a while. About a third of them scored 1-Star. This means they failed to elicit any positive brand-building emotions. This is still less than the usual half of American advertising getting 1-Star. But come on–$ 7m. Let’s dream a bit bigger.

Long term effectiveness of the Super Bowl ads

What about the standout ads? I’ve shared our “top 11” below. What’s more interesting is to comment on what they have in common. They are all broadly entertaining. There is no complex in-joke or reliance on you knowing who an (arguably niche) celebrity is or a TikTok trend. They are well crafted, have melodic music and humor and mostly have strong characters in them.

Two of these stand out further in the testing.

One T-Mobile. It did well last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. It has what most ads don’t have. No, not a meme. It’s a repeatable campaign idea. It adjusts it slightly annually to keep it fresh but Zach and Donald are always there singing and showing how easy its wifi is. Most of the other ads have a serious lack of consistency and campaignability. Two, Pfizer. Pharmaceutical ads are horribly functional and wrapped up in red tape. A real silver bullet would be to build a pharmaceutical brand using emotion and storytelling. Avoid the “modes of action” and symptoms. Pfizer did precisely that.

Picture 4

I’ll also address the red elephant in the room. There are ads in the red zone where 40%+ of Americans had no idea what brand the ad was for. And for those who are halfway through counting the dots on the graph. You’re right. There aren’t 70 on there because one or two ads had about 20% Fluency. Ie, almost everyone couldn’t recall what brand the ad was for. I just couldn’t make the graph work to fit these ads in. You could argue these ads wasted 80% of that $7m media buy.

Dipping back into that Pfizer idea of standing out from the category, as we test every UK and most US TV ads as they air, we know the category averages for general effectiveness. We’ve seen that comparing the ads to the category average is the most powerful predictor of growth. So, here are the top 11 “Category Standouts.”

Picture 6

To try to look for one salient theme here, it must be consistency. T-Mobile, ETrade, Budweiser, Hellmann’s, and StateFarm all have elements of longevity. Either character, idea or message have been the same for years. It not only signals that this brand is here to stay but also effectively builds the mental structures advertising needs to create lasting effects.

I know what you’re thinking. The above is all well and good, but after I’ve personally watched all the ads, you want to see this wanker-from-LinkedIn’s favorite Super Bowl 2024 ad. Don’t you?


It’s the Jesus “Washing Feet” ad from the charity ‘He Gets Us.’ Not because I’m a customer; there is no holy Rosser Reeves Fallacy at play here. But because it tells a powerful, culturally relevant story. A clear message, all without the need for celebs. And it’s a campaign idea that can be stretched and used for years. No wonder the Jesus ad is good; religions have used stories to win hearts and minds since before Reese’s put peanut butter into chocolate.

If you want to grab our full insights deck for Super Bowl ads, looking at all 378 ads over the past five years with data from over 55,000 Americans. You can grab that here.

Brand Strategy Super Bowl Marketing

More from Brand Strategy

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +