Did you get your fix of dopamine (CHNO) at Super Bowl LVIII? Let’s gather around the digital water cooler to discuss the most important aspect of the game — the ads! It’s time for Intermark’s annual Super Bowl Psych Awards, where we put on our lab coats and analyze each commercial through the lens of social psychology. Very similar to how Sigmund Freud might approach football commercials, only we promise not to bring your mother into the conversation. 

Will your favorite ad take home a coveted best-in-category Psych Award, or will it be left on the sidelines, crying into its beer? Only time (and our expert assessment) will tell which brands will be crowned the best psych ad spots of Super Bowl LVIII. 

Category #1: Best Use of Cognitive Disruption. Our first category is about breaking up the monotony of the mundane. Been there, seen that? Well, that doesn’t apply to the following advertisers. The following three brands successfully leveraged Cognitive Disruption to deactivate the autopilot on consumers’ brains, breaking through the typical narratives that leave Super Bowl viewers thinking now is a good time to go grab another beer from the fridge.  

Our nominees for Best Use of Cognitive Disruption are: 

  • Popeyes, “The Wait Is Over” 
  • Pluto TV, “Couch Potato Farms” 
  • Doritos Dinamita, “Dina & Mita” 

And coming in at number 1 is… Pluto TV and Couch Potato Farms! Combining familiar elements in novel ways is what cognitive disruption is all about. This year, no one did that better than Pluto TV with an ad that really stood out from the bunch. No fancy celebrities, no mega-buck music track, just a powerful and visually disruptive idea perfectly executed.  

Category #2: Best Use of Nostalgia.Nostalgia is one of the more effective approaches in the marketer’s toolbox (if used effectively). Not only does nostalgia lead to positive moods and better product recall; it also helps bolster social bonds and counteracts existing negative emotions. In fact, consumers will often seek out feelings of nostalgia when experiencing threat or uncertainty. Making the big game a perfect time to bring back beloved and familiar faces.  

Ournominees for Best Use of Nostalgia are: 

  • T-Mobile, “That T-Mobile Home Internet Feeling” 
  • Uber Eats, “Worth Remembering” 
  • Budweiser, “Old School Delivery” 

Now, all these contenders showed masterful use of nostalgic principles, reminding Super Bowl viewers of happier and simpler times. But only one can be named this year’s winner. And that winner is… Budweiser with Old School Delivery! With the war in Europe and the Middle East, and elections on our heels, consumers are navigating a lot of angst and social tension. This spot reminds us of the good old days — like a warm comforting hug triggering solace within ourselves and affinity for the brand.  

Category #3: Best Use of Altruism. Last, but not least on our list, Altruism is a powerful psychological trigger. Rooted in empathy and tribalism, the principle of Altruism demonstrates genuineness and authenticity to consumers. There are few better ways to build long-term loyalty between your brand and consumers than demonstrating selfless promotions of goodwill towards your customer base. The following ads did an outstanding job of leveraging this principle. 

Our nominees for Best Use of Altruism are: 

  • Dove, “Hard Knocks” 
  • Google Pixel, “Javier in Frame” 
  • Microsoft, “Copilot” 

And coming in at number 1 is…Dove and Hard Knocks! Dove is a mastermind at helping consumers build positive relationships with the way they look. In this well executed and insightful film, the brand demonstrates a deep understanding of their audience and that their commitment is more than skin deep by supporting programs that encourage girls to continue playing sports.  

So, there you have it. The winners of Super Bowl LVIII’s best-in-class ad spots according to principles of consumer psychology. If you have any questions or just want to share which spots would have earned your vote, send us an email at info@intermarkgroup.com

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