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Super Bowl Ads from Google and State Farm Resonate with Gen Z

Updated: Feb 26

By: UF College of Journalism and Communications

Google Pixel’s “Guided Frame” Super Bowl ad and State Farm’s ad featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger were big hits among Gen Z, according to survey responses collected during fifth annual “Brand Bowl,” a collaboration between The Agency at the University of Florida and the Atlas Lab, both housed at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

CeraVe, M&Ms and Doritos rounded out the top five ads. The bottom five ads, according to the data, were Temu, Bass Pro Shops, He Gets Us, Snapchat and a Robert Kennedy political ad.

Students evaluating ads in the Atlas Lab during the 2024 Super Bowl.
Students evaluating ads in the Atlas Lab during the 2024 Super Bowl.

Forty students and 20 observers attended the Brand Bowl watch party in the Atlas digital media analysis lab. The Gen Z students rated each Super Bowl ad in real-time during the game, while student researchers from the Atlas Lab examined social media responses from across the social web.

“In this year’s Brand Bowl, Google Pixel 8 finished in our Top 5 while Snapchat finished in our Bottom 5,” said Dan Windels, UFCJC Advertising Lecturer and Brand Bowl faculty adviser. “Based on our data, connecting with Gen Z is so delicate that even a Gen Z-centric brand like Snapchat can easily miss the mark.”

The top five ads were:

  1. Google Pixel: “Guided Frame” came out on top, stealing fans’ hearts with a campaign centered around accessibility in technology. It featured Javier, a man with impaired vision who managed to capture significant moments thanks to Google Pixel’s AI-driven photo framing.

  2. State Farm: Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger donning his usual action movie hero character, this ad took a more comedic approach by playing with a new take on the brand’s famous tagline: “Like a good neighbor.” As the Austrian actor struggled to properly pronounce the jingle, none other than Danny DeVito swooped in to save the day in the epic conclusion of a commercial that had fans clutching their stomachs in laughter.

  3. CeraVe: Following the trend of celebrity-filled ads, CeraVe partnered with actor Michael Cera — who conveniently shares his last name with the brand — to deliver a witty commercial that made the most of the actor’s usual dry humor.

  4. M&M’s: The “Almost Champions Ring of Comfort” ad had its fun with storied players like Dan Marino and Terrell Owens, who were unable to win a championship during their Hall of Fame careers. The always-silly M&M’s characters tried their hand at comforting them to no avail, but had fans laughing along with them nonetheless.

  5. Doritos: The brand tapped into its Hispanic side by featuring Dyna and Mita, two elderly women who fought their way to a cherished bag of Doritos Dynamita — only to be foiled by actress Jenna Ortega. It’s no surprise that the tale of the tape shows that humor ran away with the best performing ads this year for the most part.

The bottom 5 ads included:

  1. Temu: This was by far the worst performance in this year’s Super Bowl. With two ads that aired in the first and second quarters, the lack of fan-favorite celebrities or enrapturing storylines in favor of stale animation completely disconnected fans from the brand.

  2. Bass Pro Shops: Super Bowl commercials are meant to be flashy, engaging and bewildering. Bass Pro Shops’ ad was none of those. Although the brand’s voice lends itself to being more muted than other more flamboyant brands, it wasn’t a recipe for success this year.

  3. He Gets Us: “Foot Washing” definitely tried its hand at shock factor advertising but didn’t have the intended effect. Instead, fans turned away as the bizarre commercial had people questioning what brand would ever think to create it.

  4. Snapchat: “Less Social Media. More Snapchat” also missed its goal by a wide margin. What had fans most confused was Snapchat’s apparent being unaware of their status as a social media platform. This bewildered audiences in all the wrong ways.

  5. Kennedy Political Ad: There’s only so many ways you can leave an audience dumbfounded, but this commercial found the worst way to do it. With no warning as to what brand brought this commercial to life, the apparent stand-alone political campaign had no place airing during this kind of sporting event. Even after the fact there seems to be no rhyme or reason for why this ad was made in the first place.

Students were also tasked with rating the halftime performance featuring Usher and other big-name performers. While the overall sentiment was positive, the participants only gave the performance a 5.81 rating out of 10.  For more on the halftime show, read The Agency blog post.


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