The Super Bowl draws in millions of viewers each year for the biggest night in football (and TV), but it has also become a pop culture phenomenon for those who tune in solely for the spectacle.
From the half-time show to the commercials to the endless amount of snacks and drinks, Super Bowl Sunday has almost become an unofficial holiday in the United States (with many wishing Super Monday– a day off from work to nurse the celebrations, defeats, and hangovers– was a real thing.)
Whether or not you’re tuning in for the game itself or the half-time show, the new commercials always seem to be one of the main talking points of the event, especially on social media.
The ads are also highly-anticipated due to the steep price tags. 2020 set yet another record with the average 30-second spot going for as much as $5.6 million. To put that into context, the average cost for a 30-second commercial for Super Bowl I in 1967 was roughly $40,000—which is more than $307,750 in today’s prices.
Of course, what constitutes as a “good” or “bad” commercial is all subjective and varies based on one’s own opinion. However, there are always some standouts amongst the crowd. Here’s our wrap-up of some of the best and most talked about commercials of Super Bowl LIV.
1. Jeep: “Groundhog Day”
The Super Bowl happened to fall on Groundhog Day, February 2nd, this year and Jeep took full advantage. Bill Murray made a comedic splash spoofing his role as Phil Connors from the classic 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” The commercial found the perfect blend of nostalgia, star power, and comedy, making it a big hit.
2. Google: “Loretta”
While Jeep knocked it out of the park on the comedy side of things, Google really tugged at the heartstrings with their ad titled “Loretta.” It features the voice-over of a man remembering his late wife by telling Google to remember details about her and their life together. This one had many (including myself) reaching for the tissues while also positively showcasing the power of technology.
This is a good example of how storytelling can help elevate your brand, especially when it comes to technology companies.
3. Hyundai: “Smaht Pahk”
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to say “smart park” normally after this Boston-inspired spot featuring the Hyundai Sonata. Besides showing off the impressive technology of the car, actors Chris Evans, Rachel Dratch and John Krasinski as well as Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz really brought it all together.
Fun fact: this commercial was shot in Boston too to help bring authenticity to its Bostonian theme.
4. Doritos: “The Cool Ranch”
A difficult part of producing a Super Bowl commercial is trying to appeal to viewers across multiple demographics and generations. This Doritos commercial looked to do just that by casting rapper Lil Nas X, a newcomer to the spotlight, and long-time Hollywood actor Sam Elliot.
This ad also put a modern twist on a western duel through its dance-off to Lil Nas X’s hit song featuring Billy Ray Cyrus (who makes a cameo at the end) “Old Town Road.” Even the title of the advertisement, “The Cool Ranch,” plays off the western theme and, of course, Doritos' popular chip varietal called “Cool Ranch.” Bonus points for the fact that Sam Elliot currently stars in Netflix’s show called, “The Ranch.” Phew—Doritos really put a lot of thought into this one and it shows.
5. Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans: "Comfortable"
You know how after a hard day of work you come home, kick off your shoes and relax on the couch in your pajamas? Well, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa is just like us! But in a more horrifying, exaggerated way. This ad shows the actor—known for his muscles—getting “comfortable” in his own home by essentially peeling off his own skin to reveal a much thinner (and balding) man underneath.
This ad seems to fall into the more “you either love it or hate it” category, but it did spark a lot of chatter online.
Honorable mention: Microsoft: “Be the One”
While there were several more ads that people couldn’t stop talking about, Microsoft’s ad featuring the San Francisco 49ers (who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl) offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers was both timely and inspirational.
Sowers made history as the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl and Microsoft highlighted her accomplishments while still showing off their product—the Microsoft Surface Pro 7.
Whether you agree or disagree with this list, the Super Bowl is a good reminder of the power advertising still has on the market today, and how it can elicit conversation across millions of people. And thanks to social media, these commercials can be shared and re-shared for days, months, and years to come.
Thoughtful stories, engaging visuals, emotions, comedy, or a studded cast continue to stand the test of time when it comes to advertising or marketing videos. Find some inspiration from the types of advertisements you like for your business and you’ll be on track to creating a project you’re proud to promote.
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