Guess Who’s Back? (Back Again)

Nostalgia was the real winner at this year’s Super Bowl.
Patricia DeLuca

February 14, 2022

Announcement for Super Bowl 56 Pepsi Halftime Show

Unless you’re a Rams or Bengals fan, it’s a safe bet that most other people tuned into

Super Bowl LVI

this past Sunday for two reasons: The commercials and the halftime show. Both were deeply steeped in Y2K nostalgia.  

According to AdWeek,

56 commercials

aired during the game. Most of the spots were blast from the pasts:

The “Austin Powers” reunion to promote General Motors

and its electric future;

Lindsay Lohan thriving at Planet Fitness

; “The Sopranos” for



Barbie and company for Rocket Mortgage


Many viewers tuned in specifically to watch the halftime show featuring performances by Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar. The halftime program became a

trending topic on social media

, as it was highly anticipated with rap music of the 1990s/early 2000s taking center stage for 30 minutes.  

The Y2K nostalgia at Super Bowl LVI has marked a shift in advertising demographics. The population of Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) in the U.S.,


72 million

, just edging out the Baby Boomers’ population of 71 million. Millennials now hold the most spending power in the U.S., and at an estimated

$6.5 million

per commercial, companies have to grab their target demographic’s attention fast – within 30 seconds of airtime during arguably the biggest game of the year. What better way to grab attention (and numbers) than tapping into their pop culture?  

While Millennials are today’s top spenders, the younger Gen Z demo is also quite influential, as previously reported by

License Global

, and is becoming a force in the retail landscape. One report has Gen Z influencing

87% of household purchases

. And if you’re on TikTok, you know that Y2K fashion is, to quote the Y2K film “Zoolander,” so hot right now (including, yes, low-rise jeans). As most of us saw during the big game, a lot of companies want to remind you how they are looking toward the future by looking back.  









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