Super Bowl 2024 and the Rise of Generative AI in Advertising
As Super Bowl 2024 exploded on Sunday, one star player emerged across the advertising landscape isn’t a celebrity or athlete—it’s generative AI. While we’re not at the point where AI is penning Super Bowl commercials start to finish, there’s a consensus among experts that AI has become an invaluable asset in the ad-making process.
The adoption of generative AI by brands has notably increased since last Super Bowl, making 2024 a landmark year for AI in advertising. These tools now play a pivotal role in various stages of ad production, from the initial brainstorming sessions to the final edits, highlighting their growing importance to marketers. However, despite these advances, the reliance on AI for creating a full-fledged Super Bowl ad remains a gamble few are willing to take. Experiments by Ad Age illustrate improvements in AI-generated ads, yet they still fall short of award-winning quality.
That said, AI’s cultural significance offers a rich vein for Super Bowl ad themes, tapping into its widespread fascination. Moreover, social media platforms, where real-time engagement with the Super Bowl thrives, present opportunities for more subtle AI-driven campaigns.
According to marketers, AI has transitioned from a gimmick to a critical behind-the-scenes tool. A notable development is the emergence of the “prompt writer” role, essential for maximizing the output of generative AI technologies in the early, less constrained phases of ad development. Agencies like BBDO and VaynerMedia have incorporated AI for creative ideation and analytical tasks, such as analyzing trends in past Super Bowl ads and their audience reception.
The production phase also sees AI application, especially in ads requiring extensive computer-generated imagery (CGI). Despite this, details on AI’s use in specific brands’ Super Bowl ads remain sparse, with companies like Volkswagen and Kia providing limited insights.
AI’s dual role as a backstage tool and a cultural phenomenon positions it as a compelling theme for Super Bowl commercials. Its omnipresence in pop culture, underscored by its feature in dictionaries’ words of the year and its dominant presence on platforms like Wikipedia and late-night shows, underscores the public’s mixed fascination and apprehension towards AI, including concerns over deepfakes and job displacement.
Brands Can’t Get Enough.
Brands have capitalized on AI’s allure in various ways, from Salesforce to Sephora, indicating that even a mere nod to AI can significantly enhance ad engagement. Innovative uses of AI, such as the “Avocados from Mexico” personalized guacamole recipe generator, showcase how brands can weave AI into their messaging creatively and effectively.
Looking ahead, confirmed Super Bowl ads by Google and Etsy hint at a cautious yet strategic embrace of AI, avoiding direct mentions while leveraging its capabilities. This nuanced approach reflects a broader trend of integrating AI into advertising in a way that resonates with cultural currents and consumer interests, moving beyond novelty to deliver genuinely engaging and relevant content.
In the weeks following the Super Bowl, the advertising world will watch closely, recognizing that while 2024 may not be branded the “AI Bowl,” the technology’s influence on advertising and culture is undeniable and enduring, far surpassing the fleeting impact of past trends like cryptocurrency.
Primarily because it is not a trend. It is an entirely new way of life.
Managing Director, CyberEd
King, an experienced cybersecurity professional, has served in senior leadership roles in technology development for the past 20 years. He has founded nine startups, including Endymion Systems and seeCommerce. He has held leadership roles in marketing and product development, operating as CEO, CTO and CISO for several startups, including Netswitch Technology Management. He also served as CIO for Memorex and was the co-founder of the Cambridge Systems Group.