A screenshot from Rocket Mortgage's 2022 Super Bowl commercial, featuring Barbie and characters from the 1980s children's cartoon, "He-Man." Image courtesy of Rocket Mortgage

On the field, the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals played a nail biter during Super Bowl 56, with the Rams emerging victorious.

Off the field, Super Bowl advertisers were in a tough competition of their own. Advertisers shelled out up to $7 million for 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl, so they pulled out all the stops to win over the estimated 100 million people that tune into the game. Big stars, humor and a heavy dose of nostalgia were prevalent throughout the night.

“Marketers are recognizing Americans have had a very heavy, difficult two-year period and are responding by bringing some good old-fashioned entertainment for Super Bowl Sunday,” said Kimberly Whitler, marketing professor at the University of Virginia, who called the commercials “one of the most engaging set of ads I’ve seen in several years.”

Mortgage giant Rocket Mortgage used its air time to tout the company’s Rocket Homes listings portal and its own home lending services. In the ad, Anna Kendrick tells kids how to beat the competitive housing market with Rocket’s products by using examples of classic kid toys like Barbie’s Dream House and Skeletor’s Castle Grayskull.

With the refinance market set to dry up this year thanks to rising mortgage interest rates as the Federal Reserve tries to fight inflation, mortgage lenders are looking to drum up new customers in the purchase market.

Also among the 30 new advertisers were several cryptocurrency exchanges, earning the event the moniker of “the Crypto Bowl” in some quarters. Advocates of the blockchain-based digital currencies that have captured the interest of investors and financial service firms alike, want to lure regular Americans too.

“[Cryptocurrency exchanges] have a lot of money and they need to create a lot of change,” said Mark DiMassimo, founder and creative chief of marketing agency DiGo. “They want to get crypto assets into as many hands as possible so people can start feeling comfortable playing that game.”

FTX, one of several cryptocurrency exchanges that advertised, enlisted Larry David of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to convey that cryptocurrency is ready for the mainstream.

Crypto.com didn’t even mention cryptocurrency, instead hiring basketball legend LeBron James to tell a younger version of himself that “if you want to make history, you have to call your own shots.”

Coinbase’s ad just showed a QR code that changed colors while electronic music played. The QR code led to Coinbase’s web site. University of Virginia’s Whitler said the ad might drive signups but could fall flat for some.

“A floating QR code without a brand name may not be sufficient to drive interest,” Whitler said. “They are likely hoping that curiosity will inspire people to put down the beer and pick up their phone … but that is a tall order without any other ‘reason why’.”

Super Bowl viewership has declined in recent years. Last year, 92 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen, the lowest viewership since 2007. But viewership at other big live events like the Grammys and the Oscars has also plummeted. Ratings for the Olympics – which NBC is broadcasting concurrent with the Super Bowl – are way down, too. So the Super Bowl remains the biggest night for advertisers.

“It’s the only game in town,” said Villanova marketing professor Charles Taylor.

Crypto, Rocket Mortgage Splurge on Super Bowl Commercials

by The Associated Press time to read: 2 min