Ataboy Studios and Bader Rutter leaders react to Big Game spots

Big Game
(l-r: Vikkal Parikh, Ned Brown)

The Big Game is over and the Philadelphia Eagles gave up their 10-point lead to lose by 3 to the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s heartbreaking if you’re a Philly fan, no matter how great the actual game was. And it was great. But those aren’t the only fans on pins and needles.

51 spots aired at a cost of $7 million each. So, it’s important to the brands, agencies and production teams that work diligently to entertain and inform us, that their creative efforts stand out as well.

Did they?

We asked the founder of New York-based studio Ataboy Studios Vikkal Parikh and Ned Brown, Chief Creative Officer at agency, Bader Rutter what they thought.

Which 5 spots were your favorites, and why?

Vikkal: It’s always such an experience watching the commercials airing during the Super Bowl. I look forward to watching every single one of them, but between beverage refills, finishing conversations and, of course, bathroom breaks, I am almost certain to miss a few.

But nevertheless, I really enjoyed quite a few celebrity-filled commercials that were pretty entertaining. Namely PopCorners, Uber One, Pepsi with Stiller and GM with Will Ferrell. In the non-celebrity category, The Boston Lager commercial was pretty funny as well.


Ned: The Super Bowl advertising stage so often turns into a throw-in-everything-and-the-kitchen-sink endeavor. It feels more like an assault of the senses. And along the way, too many brands lose their way in the point they were originally trying to make, all in the name of attention.

So I look for those brands and spots that don’t espouse the more-is-more philosophy. The ones that didn’t try to pull off the equivalent of a raspberry-grape-root-beer Mega Big Gulp from 7-Eleven.

There were four spots this year that delivered. They showcased captivating ideas that tapped into a simple truth and brought together the unique point of view of a brand, its product, and the people they’re talking to in a way that felt completely natural and genuine.

These spots – The Farmer’s Dog “Forever,” Google “#FixedOnPixel,” Bud Light “Hold,” Publicis Groupe “Monday” –  just let the idea do what a great idea does –  pull us in, take us on a journey, compel us to feel something (besides annoyance).

Which were your least favorites, and why?

Vikkal: I am going to leave a couple out of this for obvious reasons. However, the Avocado’s spot was a bit much. I didn’t really get it. Mr. Peanut’s roast started off funny but couldn’t land a lot of jokes for me personally.

Ned: In the least favorites category, there were too many to name. It was so much muchness. Celebrities are being used in incoherent ways. Even a celebrity’s mom. And one giving a horrible rendition of a famous half-time speech made by one of the greatest, most iconic actors in the history of filmmaking. All of it to no effect. Reaching no clear point of view. And cramming in as much as possible into the time they’d purchased. It’s almost as if some group in a boardroom said, “If we’re going to get our money’s worth, we’re going to make every millisecond scream.”  


Complete list of all our Super Bowl coverage. Enjoy!

What themes/trends, if any, did you see and enjoy in this year’s ads?

Vikkal: I loved the humor, and the tone of the commercials was back to pre-pandemic. Humor and throwbacks and big budgets… Love it!

Ned: The trend seems to be diminishing each year, but the few examples I see that let the idea rule the day and don’t get distracted by the big stage are the ones I get excited about. They don’t throw the craft of our business out the window and forget everything that can make this industry great. They believe in the power of ideas, of finding the place where a brand, the truth, and the audience can intersect in a way that feels so perfectly fitting. They believe in being simple. They believe in telling a story.

What themes/trends, if any, did you see and not enjoy in this year’s ads?

Vikkal: Overly relying on celebrity’s star power to carry the commercial through is sort of overdone!       

Ned: The trend of putting celebrities on full blast, with no real point or idea behind it, continues to grow each year, unfortunately. This year was the worst I’ve ever seen. And it left me feeling sad and disheartened for our industry. Have so many of us lost faith in the power of an idea and the incredible stopping power it has? It seems too many have forgotten why we got into this business in the first place.

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