As the excitement, the laughter, maybe the crying, settle down following the 2024 Super Bowl, people return to their routine. Eventually the play reviews among friends, favorite shared moments, the Taylor Swift sightings among Swifties, all dissolve into the background.

But lessons can continue to be dissected from an important element of the event: the commercials.

For those of us who could not care less about football, the Super Bowl, still, is a time of creative advertising, which we non-football fans enjoy. And we can learn a lot from the 30 second commercials, such as that there are a lot of companies with way too much money. Each 30 second spot cost $7 million just to play, not including production fees and the fees for some of the super people you spotted in those commercials. BetMGM spent roughly $50 million on its commercial and promotions that included former quarterback Tom Brady (one of two he was in), actor Vince Vaughn, and hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

Whether you’re into pop culture and reminiscing (and might have to explain a few things to the less ‘80s and ‘90s cultured), what most of the commercials really targeted was an important emotion — joy.

When we talk about storytelling for our organization and our products, focusing on emotion is a key objective. But do we always have to tug at heartstrings? Or can making people laugh still create interest and get our point across?

Let’s see what some of these story time lessons were in those advertisements.

Stories from the 2024 Super Bowl ads

We all have our favorite commercials from the 2024 Super Bowl. The advertisements resonate with various people for different reasons. Which is what storytelling is about. While not all showcased brand storytelling specifically, if anything, the commercials highlighted that these companies have a sense of humor.

What was really fascinating was after coming out of a few years of somber reflection due to the pandemic and isolation, and even the current despondence that surrounds us, these companies realized we need to laugh. It truly is the best medicine. We’re tired of crying and crave more joy.

Enter the Super Bowl commercials. What are your favorites?

Here are a few I caught, with their brand storytelling takeaways, which still make me think deeper long after they’ve aired. (click on the titles to view the videos)

T-Mobile Home Internet Feeling

Not only did this piece include “Scrubs” stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison, who have done a few T-Mobile musical commercials, but this one included “Aquaman” himself, Jason Momoa. Did you know he could dance? (Not sure if that was really him dancing). What made this hysterical was the tie-in to “What a Feeling,” the title song to the movie “Flashdance,” even down to Braff’s sudden cut sweatshirt pulled off shoulder, an iconic and trend-setting image from star Jennifer Beals. Who, by the way, was the woman who appeared at the end of the commercial. Not only a wonderful reminisce to the “Flashdance” story, but a great backdrop to the feeling of cutting the cable cord and setting oneself free. Kudos to the actors for throwing in those familiar dance moves.

Takeaway: Your brand story can help your audience feel good.

Dunkin Donuts with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

The Dunkin Donuts commercial is an example of an ongoing saga in brand storytelling, using familiar faces and one-liners that are funnier when you know the inside jokes. “Anything is possible when you run on Dunkin” is the moto, and Ben Affleck’s journey to pop stardom is one example. Starring Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon and Tom Brady, this will have you in stitches. From Damon’s: “It’s really hard to be your friend, man,” line to Affleck (the two have been best buds for decades), to Lopez’s remark to Brady, “Tom, you can stay,” there are many hysterical moments in this entertaining piece.

Takeaway: Your brand story can be an ongoing storyline that is entertaining.

State Farm with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito

At first glance, this might seem like a trailer to Schwarzenegger’s next movie. But it’s a State Farm commercial. The focus on helping him to pronounce “neighbor” audibly and correctly from the almost Bostonian style of dropping the “r” in words: “neighbah,” was an interesting take on State Farm’s moto of being a good neighbor to their clients. Enter DeVito, Schwarzenegger’s costar in “Twins” (among other movies), to help the latter pronounce “neighbor,” only to step in and say it himself. Instead of thanking his longtime friend for bailing him out, he referred to DeVito as “back stabbah.”

Takeaway: Your brand story can be funny and snarky with the right setting and people.

BMW USA with Christopher Walken

The theme, “Talkin Like Walken” is a satire on what Oscar-winning actor Walken probably encounters regularly, people thinking they can talk just like him and unabashedly do so at every turn. I imagine that gets annoying. But he smiles and takes it in stride. He even chides Usher. The point of this commercial: “There’s only one Christopher Walken, and only one Ultimate Driving Machine, the rest are just imitations.”

Takeaway: Your brand story is unique because there’s only one you.

Uber Eats

“In order to remember something, you’ve got to forget something.” Uber Eats created a memorable commercial about forgetting, which included A-listers Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, among many others. What is cool about this piece (and more memorable for me) is when former “Friends” costars Aniston and Schwimmer reconnect. “Friends” fans tie them with the show as Ross and Rachel. But here, there’s no mention of the show or their former characters. Which is cool because there is no need to bring up the past that is imbued in our brains. We see the connection without going back in time. Now you’re just moving forward. All of which the commercial, with its stars, is trying to showcase in its theme

Takeaway: Your brand story can subtly reminisce but steer your audience forward.

What were your favorite 2024 Super Bowl commercials?

What were your favorite snacks at your Super Bowl party?

We can learn a lot about storytelling from the 2024 Super Bowl commercials. While we target our audience’s emotions in our branding, that can include joy and laughter. We can entertain and make people laugh. Ask yourself: when you tell your brand story, is it memorable? How can you make a lasting impression? Our brand story stems from our values, but we can also have fun when telling that story.

(Photo by Pixabay from Pexels)

Need help telling your business or author story? My Storytelling and Branding Training helps you recognize your story and how to effectively use it to build better engagement and increase sales. Find out more here and book a call with me!