The game was close. Defenses dominated. Scoring was low. Lowest in Super Bowl history. And so were the ratings. Lowest in a decade.

,TV spots cost the most in history, up to $5.3M per :30 and that did not include production, agency fees or creative.

As for ads, we definitely saw a few trends. Here’s a rundown of some of the things we learned from this year’s Superbowl of Advertising.

  • Trying to be cool doesn’t work. Being cool isn’t something you do, it’s something you are. We ask every year, why not feature the product.? Just putting a rapper in an ad doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. That was Pepsi’s philosophy with Steve Carell not being funny with Lil Jon and Cardi B.
  • Downers don’t play. If you don’t get our attention, and don’t keep it, you lose. Think Turbo Tax, Turkish Air, and ADT. The advertisers need to think of the home TV environment and the amount of drinking, especially on east coast.
  • Funny plays well when there is a message. Bud Light actually had a message about ingredients. It was about what their competitors are putting into beer., Who knew corn syrup was being used? Alexa made fun of themselves, in a good way. Hyundai hooked us with the elevator spot.
  • If we don’t know who you are, tell us, and tell us what you do, otherwise, we don’t care. Bumble, Mint Mobile, and Persil are guilty as charged.
  • Preach to the choir. NFL killed it with their 100-year kickoff promotion. Nicely done. Brought out the personalities of the stars.
  • Tugging at heart strings or strong advocacy messages resonated. Verizon, Microsoft, Google, and the Washington Post all had winners with smart ads.
  • Changing perceptions is difficult, but possible. Stella Artois and KIA both had memorable ads that asked us to see things in a new light. Or as Londre says, has Stella spent so much and knew people didn’t know how to pronounce it.  It’s beer drinkers who have to order.
  • Boring is bad. Wix’s popular Karli Kloss ads played like they were old and stale on the big Superbowl stage.

Superbowl advertising is a time to be special, to make a big impression. It’s sad to see wasting the chance for a big audience and a big message.  Kudos to those who succeeded. Back to the drawing room for those who didn’t.

Want to see Ad Meter‘s full rundown of the best and worst? Click here.