Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on winning Super Bowl LV and to Tom Brady on winning his seventh Super Bowl and fifth Super Bowl MVP. Whether you love Brady or love to hate him, he continues to prove why he’s the G.O.A.T.
But what about the game outside the game? Yep, that would be the Super Bowl commercials.
It’s a fierce battle for sure as the reported cost of a 30-second commercial for Super Bowl LV was $5.5 million. That’s a lot of money that can gain you immense traction for your brand through other avenues, but the Super Bowl always guarantees a HUGE audience so the draw for a brand to make a splash is always there.
It’s tricky too as the creative process is always subjective. It’s also hard to impress everyone with such a diverse audience tuning in to watch – and judge. So which brands pulled it off and generated a return on their investment on Super Bowl Sunday? The team at SWBR has our thoughts on what commercials stood out, but we’d love to hear from you on what commercial gets your vote as the best.
Below are the commercials that stood out for us:
Dave’s Pick: Doritos 3D | Flat Matthew
Why It Won: This is a clever commercial that played off the moment of the one-dimensional world we’re all living in right now. As we watch stadiums filled with cardboard cut-outs instead of fans, we’re all hoping to get back to a normal, 3D world. This spot won for me because it also very effectively conveyed the product benefit of the new Doritos 3D chips, literally expanding on the traditional flat Doritos chip.
What I Liked: Alright, alright, alright, this is what I liked. What’s not to like about Matthew McConaughey? It was funny as his larger-than-life personality, at least in the characters he portrays, was reduced to being totally flat and transparent to the world. It made you stop and say, “what’s going on here,” and then made you laugh at the end when he gets stuck in the vending machine. Funny and memorable is always a winning combination.
ET’s Pick: Paramount Network | Frostbite “Hooked It”
Why It Won: Paramount Network strung together several great commercials throughout Super Bowl LV depicting some of our favorite actors, professional athletes and others as they attempt to reach the summit of Paramount Mountain. The commercials in total won it for me as Paramount Network was able to display all the content their new streaming platform offers in a hilarious and entertaining way.
What I Liked: Featuring a swing from Bryson DeChambeau, the Frostbite “Hooked It” segment had me crying. Bryson acts before any debate about the situation is able to be had, then seems disappointed with the result as he “hooks it” and a comment from the puppet “should have used a 5 iron” adds insult to injury. While this reflects my golf game to a tee, I thought the whole interaction was hilarious.
Jackie’s Pick: M&M’s | Come Together
Why It Won: This 30-second ad showcases different situations when a little sweetness can make it better. Plus it included a cameo of Dan Levy, which is always a surefire way to put it at the top of my favorites.
What I Liked: This relatable ad speaks to many people by keeping its message simple. Combining humor and sweetness, this ad made me laugh and smile.
Elizabeth’s Pick: Bud Light | Last Year’s Lemonade
Why It Won: Making lemonade out of the tart, gut-churning lemons we were pelted by last year was no easy task, but for Bud Light, it was a no-brainer. Capitalizing on the here-to-stay spiked seltzer trend that had the beverage industry (not to mention us!) buzzing in 2020 while seizing the opportunity to delicately satire the unfortunate events that plagued humanity during the “lemon of a year” we all wish we could forget was a brilliant, unforgettable move.
In this emotionally-charged and polarizing climate, successfully promoting a new product during its launch phase requires merriment of unrestrained creativity to break through the noise and get people talking while striking the right balance of inclusive messaging we can assimilate to. From its comedic undertones (hello, monster lemons dropping from the sky!) to a poignant closing sentiment we can all stand in solidarity with, this commercial struck all the right notes, and left everyone’s unique taste buds craving more.
What I Liked: Racking up the winners and losers from Super Bowl LV are too numerous to count, ranging from the resurrection of the Patriots Dynasty 2.0 (winner) to the Chiefs’ banged-up O-line (loser). Duds, especially Super Bowl commercials whose ultimate goal is to achieve legendary iconic status amongst viewers, are always subject to harsh criticism. While 2020 may be defined as the rotting lemon that rightfully earned its top spot on the dishonorable list, Bud Light’s zany yet endearing spin on a familiar adage provided me with a much-needed belly laugh amid a chaotic year and a recharged zest of life that was far from sour status. When it’s safe to do so again, I’ll cheers to both that and Bud Light with you!
Michael’s Pick: Toyota | LetsGoPlaces
Why It Won: Toyota’s commercial about Jessica Long, an American Paralympic swimmer, pulls at the heartstrings. The spot shows that there is “hope and strength in all of us.” This emotional commercial tells the story of Long’s adoption story not to mention her journey to becoming a 13-time Paralympic gold medalist. Not about cars but promotes their sponsorship to TEAM USA.
What I Liked: This spot makes me look forward to the upcoming games and dives into the backstory of this amazing athlete. It’s script is engaging, the art direction and cinematography are incredible and the music track was wonderful. I loved the visual use of water throughout the spot. Toyota did manage to give me a sense of hope.
David’s Pick: Paramount+ Expedition | Sweet Victory
Why It Won: How do you re-launch and rebrand a streaming service like CBS All Access and make it so that the second time’s the charm? It’s a pretty hard thing to do, but the creativity of using your iconic logo as a device to tie all of your different streaming assets together was a great way to grab attention and stand out from any other services that have a + at the end of their name. Getting Patrick Stewart to do your voice over and giving the collective internet closure thanks to an appearance from Spongebob’s “Sweet Victory” doesn’t hurt either.
What I Liked: When I first saw Jeff Probst walking up a mountain my hopes of an announcement of season 41 of Survivor that’s been long delayed due to the pandemic rose to great heights, but just like my hopes of the Chiefs reaching the end zone, both crashed down via an avalanche. The jury is still out on whether Paramount+ becomes a service that can rival the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, or falls down to the level of forgetfulness like Peacock, YouTube TV, and Prime Video. Either way, Paramount+ has made a solid step forward toward gaining the attention of possible subscribers, so let’s see if it works this time. Paramount Mountain could’ve easily been called “Paramountain.”
Jessica’s Pick: Rocket Mortgage | #BeCertain
Why It Won: In its first 60-second ad in Super Bowl 2021, Tracy Morgan had me and my family dying of laughter in this Rocket Mortgage commercial where a pair of prospective homeowners ask “Can we even afford this house?” and he responds with a less-than-reassuring: “I’m pretty sure we can.”
What I Liked: First of all, anything with Tracy Morgan is usually a guaranteed good time. But in this witty commercial where they depict the major differences between saying “I’m pretty sure” versus “I’m certain” had me in tears. Especially when Morgan is “pretty sure” he and the prospective homeowners can make a jump over a split bridge and in mid-air, realizes “Eh…maybe we won’t make it.” Overall, the fam and I rewound and replayed that commercial a few times for his facial expressions alone.
Tyler’s Pick: Cheetos | It Wasn’t Me
Why It Won: This third quarter, minute-long commercial from Cheetos was hilarious and well done. We all know Cheetos snacks leave flavorful cheesy goodness on your fingers and the commercial plays off that perfectly.
What I Liked: The celebrity couple, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis had a fun take on the famous Shaggy reggae hit from the year 2000. Mila used the lyrics to deny her eating Ashton’s Cheetos throughout the entire commercial. The song immediately brought me back to being a kid and hearing it on the radio. Advertising plays off emotions, and the nostalgia got me on this one.
Scott’s Pick: Toyota I Upstream
Why It Won: This ad was the most emotional of the game. Featuring Jessica Long, a 13x Paralympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer, the spot describes how she was born in Siberia with a rare medical condition and adopted in the U.S., despite the fact that she would first need to have both legs amputated. Toyota is a sponsor of the U.S. Paralympic Team.
What I Liked: The commercial was beautifully shot and was fully stitched together by the phone call Jessica’s mother initially received from the adoption agency about the life-long challenges she will face – and how her mother was just so overjoyed to welcome her. If this doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, you should have your heart re-strung.
We’d love to know what commercial was your favorite during Super Bowl LV, and if you’d like to make a video or commercial to help your company stand out from the crowd, contact SWBR and we’ll get started right away.