“Which cultural themes or trends were evident in this year’s Super Bowl advertising?”
By far the biggest trend I noticed this year was celebrity endorsement across the board. From Danny Devito incarnation as an M&M,
to Morgan Freeman + Peter Dinklage rap battling it out for Mountain Dew & Doritos, celebrities were the stars of the super bowl.
This year none of the ads were particularly interesting or engaging but all of them were fun. Next to celebrity endorsement, comedy was the biggest theme in this year's Super Bowl advertisements, which is hardly news. Everyone just stuck to the status quo and tried not to ruffle any feathers. Given the political climate that our country is currently in, companies don't seem willing to take a stance and face the consequences. We can see how this backfired with Ram's MLK ad, and the horrible backlash they received by using MLK to try and sell trucks.
The stars of the superbowl this year was definitely Tide's "It's a Tide Ad" with David Harbour. While still being safe, Tide did take a differentiated opinion, by revealing what the traditional advertising archetypes are. They called out those stereotypical ads, but instead of doing the opposite, they just imitated the ads. Which was still very funny, but not necessarily innovative.