The Superbowl attracts fans. Football fans, concert fans, and fans of the art form that is advertising. Marketing is massive in our world, and Superbowl ads have become known as trendsetting small pieces of cinematic art, ads that reflect changes in our society. They are such a big deal that part of their appeal now includes commercial teasers and previews. Creatives, writers, actors, and voiceover artists (like me) particularly view and review the impact of the Super Bowl spots. A VO perspective on what worked, what didn’t. And if anything that aired might impact the way we tell each other our marketing stories moving forward into the following year.
Without any further adieu, this is my humble review of some of the memorable ads from the ‘22 Super Bowl spot-orama. It includes a unique view on the impact of voiceover (or lack thereof) in the best of them. Here are four amazing Super Bowl LVI ads with celebrity voice over, and three iconic ones that use none at all.
Four Amazing Superbowl Ads with Celebrity VoiceOver
#4 Salesforce – Voiceover by Matthew McConaghey: Speaking of ads that reflect changes in our society, we start our list off at #4 with this nifty little ad from Salesforce. Featuring voiceover from Matthew McConaughey, this particular Superbowl spot pokes a couple of light-hearted jabs at both the Metaverse and the idea of becoming an interplanetary species. This ad works so well on several levels for so many reasons. It’s relatively comical and ironic given his role in Interstellar (where he is the man tasked with finding humanity a second home among the stars). It asks us to take a step back and clean up what we already have and feels like more of an endearing PSA than a commercial for Salesforce.
#3 Cue Health – Voiceover by Gal Gadot: Next up in our third spot, we have the ad from Cue Health. While you may not notice it at first, this particular spot uses the voice of Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, and it instills a subconscious sense of hope for the viewer. Keeping with the theme of ads that mirror us as a society, this strategically placed ad represents hope for a new normal. It is meant to showcase a revolutionary new technology for the at-home testing of Covid-19. The light, playful attitude taken in the ad gives the impression that a new tone is being set and change is coming.
#2 Cheetos x Doritos – Voiceover by Megan Thee Stallion & Charlie Puth: This next ad is less about changes in our society and more about how a little goes a long way when you’ve got a celebrity voiceover or two. Having been hyped up for weeks, with several teasers each, Megan Thee Stallion and Charlie Puth subtly lend their voices to a couple of woodland critters for an acapella snippet of Salt n’ Peppas’s Push It. To fans that hadn’t seen the teasers, the Doritos and Cheetos crossover commercial might just seem like a fun little ad that follows suit in the Marvel-inspired crossover-craze of the last decade or so. But the number of teasers that went out for this ad spot built up a ton of hype over what the commercial would be, but I’m sure nobody suspected that it would simply be Charlie Puth beatboxing as a fox and Megan Thee Stallion voicing a tiny little bird.
#1 Sally’s Seashells – Squarespace – Starring Zendaya with Voiceover by Andre 3000: And finally, in our #1 spot, we have this fantastic spot from Squarespace. No stranger to super bowl ads, Squarespace has been at it for years, so they know which buttons to push and who to hire. A flawless blend of nostalgia and star power, this ad uses the oldest voiceover trick in the book and tells us a story. It’s done so well that you feel drawn in and forget that it’s an ad in the first place. Ever since the pandemic struck, more and more people have been finding themselves starting small businesses online, and this ad captures that sentiment perfectly. There’s a vague sense of familiarity to the voiceover narration throughout this spot. By the end, we realize that it’s performed by none other than Andre 3000; just another callback to the 2000’s nostalgia that was featured for this year’s halftime show.
A VO Perspective: Three Iconic Superbowl Ads That Featured Zero Speech
#3 The Sopranos – Chevrolet Silverado: Keeping with the trend of throwbacks that simultaneously look to the future, this Chevrolet ad gave Sopranos fans everywhere a small glimpse into a post-finale world of the HBO cult-classic series – yes, that finale. What’s so clever about this ad is that it features no voiceover but uses the series’ infamous theme song to do a shot-for-shot remake of the opening scene. Only now, it features Jamie-Lynn Sigler in a reprisal of her role as Meadow Soprano instead of Tony and an all-electric Chevy Silverado instead of a gas-guzzling SUV. It teases at what happened after the finale and gives us the idea that the next generation is now in charge.
#2 QR Code – Coinbase: This next ad is straightforward and to the point but ingeniously effective. A huge callback to anyone that’s ever left their DVD player on a little too long or had a PC screensaver in the 90’s-2000s, this Super Bowl spot from Coinbase is just a square bouncing around the edges of your TV screen. No glitz, no glam – just a QR code for people to curiously scan for a chance to win $3 million in Bitcoin.
#1 “No Epic Voice Over” – Polestar: And finally, in the number one spot, we have this feisty ad from the electric car manufacturer, Polestar. Much like the Salesforce ad, this commercial takes a few heavy swings at its competitor Tesla in the most honest way possible. Opening on the caption of “No epic voiceover,” this ad demonstrates a shift from the outwardly dramatic, like a mission to Mars and punchlines, to just the barebone facts that people want to hear. It’s a bold ad that doesn’t pull any punches against Elon Musk and just works because it draws on the honesty that people look for in a brand these days.
And that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this review of the Super Bowl ‘22 ads from a voice over actor’s point of view. If you want to learn more about the different kinds of voiceover narration and their impact on the industries, make sure to subscribe to the Kim Handysides Voiceover blog for new content every week.