Fumbles, Incomplete Passes and Touchdowns: Which SuperBowl advertisers scored with older viewers?

Well, SuperBowl LIII has come and gone bringing with it a wave of new ads that have been teased over the last few weeks or which debuted with the broadcast of the big game.

There were some usual suspects reflected in the game itself (i.e. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots) and in the advertisers (Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Toyota, Kia, Jeep, Amazon, etc.) and some new entries (i.e. Bumble, Expensify, Olay and SimpliSafe).

Over the next while we’ll be flooded with opinions about the biggest ad winners and losers. Some at least succeeded in generating attention and controversy (see Kraft Heinz frozen food brand Devour). Judging the others is rather subjective, at least in the short term, until the analytics pour in and we can see the longer-term impact on brand performance.

Rather than adding our voice to the general debate, we’ve used a different lens—our Age of Majority lens —  to evaluate the ads which seem to get that older consumers are a big audience for the game and users of many of the products being showcased. Judging by the ads, it’s easy to think that few people over 50 were paying attention to the game.

Reality is SuperBowl viewership is pretty consistent across age groups (67% of those 18-29, 70% of those 30-44, 64% of those 45-54, and 63% of those 55-64). Source: Statista.

Perhaps more significant is that older audiences are bigger spenders than younger groups in key categories like automobiles and alcohol which account for a sizeable portion of the ads.

So, with these facts in mind, we scanned a huge number of SuperBowl ads – from teaser spots leading up to the game, digital-only spots, extended versions, banned versions and of course those aired during the game (100+ in all) – for a sense of the marketers who are showing older audiences a little love, or at least are incorporating a little age diversity. It’s a little like watching game film to see who deserved a pat on the back and who should be benched next game.

In the spirit of the game, we’ve broken our review into:

  • Touchdowns – Ads that likely scored big with older audiences
  • Incomplete Passes – Ads that showed promise but failed to fully connect
  • Fumbles – Ads that completely dropped the ball


Stella Artois “Change Up the Usual” (featuring Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges) – we think this ad’s a winner, first because it features two 50+ personalities with broad appeal to older (male and female) viewers, but it also gets the simple act that older consumers are the ones drinking the beverage.

Honorable mentions:

  • Head & Shoulders “Headstrong” ads – these ads featured age diversity, including older entrepreneurs.
  • Ram Truck “Big Game Blitz: Can’t Remember” – the ad features older “actors” reflecting who is buying Ram trucks and even recognizing the fact that older consumers want clear information over humor.
  • Amazon “Not Everything Makes the Cut” (featuring Harrison Ford) – the ad features age diversity and seems to get that older consumers are big online shoppers.

Incomplete Passes

Hyundai “The Elevator” (featuring Jason Bateman) – we actually liked this ad in many ways.  On the positive there was age diversity (although no one likely over 40).  On the downside, it missed an opportunity to feature an older car shopping couple. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average age of people buying new cars is 51.7 years of age.

Honorable mentions:

  • Olay “Killer Skin” (featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar) – We give this ad strong marks for recognizing that half the SuperBowl audience is female, but it could have gone even further perhaps by featuring an older, non-celebrity. Guess what? Consumers 55+ account for 42% of all beauty and personal care spending.


Mercedes Benz “Say the Word” (featuring Ludacris) – The ad features a 35 (or younger) actor and little age diversity. There’s no acknowledgement that the average age of a Mercedes owner is closer to 50. Why not appeal to the people who are actually buying your vehicles?

“Dis”Honorable mentions:

  • Good news, we actually don’t have any. Still there’s lots of room for improvement for future SuperBowl advertisers looking to score with the powerful 55+ consumer.
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