Whether you’re still celebrating the Chiefs win, crying over the 49er’s loss (me), complaining about ref calls (also…sort of me) or clueless to what even went on in the game, it’s fair to give you another week to deal with all of that.
However, now that we are 2 weeks post-Super Bowl, I think it’s time we take a look at the real stars of the Super Bowl – the ads!
No offense Garoppolo or Mahomes. But as people in the business world and marketing industry … we’re sort of here for the brilliant and notorious Super Bowl ads. It’s what we look forward to almost as much, if not more, than the game itself.
I mean maybe it’s just me who gets overly excited in anticipation and shushes everyone in the room to watch the ads.
But I doubt it.
Whether or not you’re a sports fan or a marketing/advertising nerd, a good majority of people still watch for the ads.
Roughly 99.9 million people watched the Super Bowl this year. And a consumer survey by Tylt showed that 29% of people who voted watched the Super Bowl last year for the ads alone.
That may only be less than half of the crowd watching solely for the ads. However, it’s still 71% that maybe only watched for the game, but inevitably saw, heard, or experienced some part of the ads as well.
In college, I remember having a Monday marketing class was always the best. We would often watch, discuss, and analyze the ads together the class after Super Bowl Sunday.
But since that ship has sailed (well, I’m still getting my Masters but it’s an online class this semester, so sadly no Super Bowl Discussion here), I figured I’d delve into the topic for a blog post.
One, it would be fun for me to research and analyze the Super Bowl ads. And two, it provides some insight to y’all on what went down in the world of advertising and marketing on February 2, 2020.
And no, I’m not talking about whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow (Spoiler Alert: He did not, so an early spring is in store for us. But like a corrupt businessman, Punxsutawney Phil lies and is almost always wrong, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high).
But back to the Super Bowl Ads…
Which ones were a hit and which ones were a miss?
What were crowd-favorites and what ads maybe had us going, you paid 5 million for that?
And yes, for those who did not know, the average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad this year was $5.6 million.
I will say I feel like this year had a lot more previews and commercials for upcoming movies, which I particularly did not like, but feel free to disagree. My favorite had to be either the Budweiser’s Typical American or Jeep’s Groundhog Day, but many still were very noteworthy (and some were not in my opinion).
Let’s take a look at them!
Disclaimer: These ratings and commentary are my opinion from a marketing standpoint. This is not to say it’s the “right” opinion or end-all-be-all.
Amazon – Before Alexa (ft. Ellen DeGeneres & Portia)
This Amazon commercial shows people at various time of history –Victorian age, Pioneer Life, Colonial period, etc.—and the differing forms of “Alexa” that existed then. Of course, before the actual Amazon Alexa existed like today. I will give major props for being clever, funny and using recognizable people, which is huge in capturing people’s attention. While not in my top 2, Amazon’s Before Alexa certainty was one of my other favorites.
To be honest, I think Audi struck out a bit here with their ad. It shows Masie Williams stuck in traffic in her electric Audi. She then sings “Let it Go” while somehow backing up and going a different route (around the traffic). This commercial had a recognizable song and actress (Game of Thrones), but I feel the ad had nothing to do with the product really other than the car being in the ad. For me there was too much disconnect to rank it a well-played Super Bowl ad.
I thought this was a clever play off of a typical shopping network infomercial or channel we’d see on TV. However, the only downside to that is that it might’ve turned some people off if they really dislike that sort of thing (without giving it time to realize it was an ad). The ad went on a bit long, but each segment was funny and catchy. From another marketing perspective, AFM also used their jingle in the music box which was one more reinforcement of a brand element!
Budweiser ads are usually always great, and they certainly did not disappoint this time. I love how Budweiser uses their marketing not to make a beer commercial, but to have deeper themes and messages behind their ads. And in case you forgot, Budweiser is the brand with the Clydesdale commercials that were popular a fear years ago and real tear-jerkers. Great way to capture audience’s attention with a powerful message and then tastefully add in the product at the end.
This commercial was funny, used a recognizable person again and had a unique point-of-view for the ad (a bit like the movie Inside Out). However, there were some sacks in this ad. First, the scenario was a bit unrealistic and honestly at the end made me feel bad for the store guy and not care about the product. Second, although both drinks were Bud Light, if people were not paying attention, they could think it was 2 separate brands and get confused.
When I watched this ad during my research, I didn’t remember ever seeing this ad during the Super Bowl. Despite that, after watching it, I found it very funny and catchy. It was also highly relatable as who hasn’t ever forgotten their password and every single question/answer you came up with to recover said password? One downside is that the ad did take a little bit to get to the “password” part which was the whole point of the ad.
Doritos – The Cool Ranch (featuring Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott)
Again, props to Doritos for using such a catchy and recognizable song as well as famous people Lil Nas X, Sam Elliott, and the addition of Billy Ray Cyrus at the end. Even if you did not recognize them, it was a good commercial. My dad had never heard “Old Town Road” before but knew Billy Ray and Sam Elliott and therefore really liked the commercial before I even explained the Lil Nas part. The commercial was funny, went back and forth nicely, and fit the “fun” image of the Doritos brand well.
This Facebook commercial was also high up on my list. I really liked the various uses of “rock” to signify the vast group of people who could and do use Facebook to connect. The brand and theme (rock) reinforcement were both excellent. Facebook got its point across well while still having fun and being entertaining.
This commercial was a definite tear-jerker! Google did well playing to the emotional side of consumers and Super Bowl ad watchers. The ad did not mention “Google” a lot specifically (other than at the beginning when he asks Google to show him photos); however, there were numerous times that had the Google noise and logo as reinforcement. It was also a good showing of Google’s capabilities at the same time as being heartwarming.
Good use of actors that people know, recognize, and, for the most part, like. The ad was catchy and fun, and showed off the car’s feature great! However, the ad never said Hyundai until the end. It did show the logo and mention “Sonata” a few times, but not everyone knows what brand Sonata is or recognizes the Hyundai logo. It was a clever commercial, but I could not remember what it was for and it could’ve bene almost ant car brand.
Jeep’s Groundhog Day ad was hilarious to me. However, I am familiar with the movie so everything in the ad made sense to me. A downside is if people are not familiar with the movie Groundhog Day then the commercial might’ve meant less to them. That being said, the ad itself was still clever, catchy, and funny in general. I thought they did a great job of thinking ahead and capitalizing on the fact that Super Bowl Sunday did indeed fall on Groundhog Day this year. And Jeep did a great spin on it!
I will admit, the day after seeing this ad, I couldn’t remember what car company it was for. But something that Jeep has going for them is that their logo is their name. So when the ad showed the car over and over again, people knew it was Jeep (unlike Hyundai). Overall, I still really like the ad.
This was the first “ad” of the Super Bowl, playing at the very beginning after the coin toss and before kickoff. At first, I was intrigued, thinking what is this ad for? and wanting to know because I really liked it. Once I realized that the ad flowed perfectly into the real-time action of the Super Bowl game, I fell in love! It was creative, captivating, and overall very well done. Great production.
Reese’s Take Five commercial was one of the best new product introductions I’ve honestly ever seen in an ad. The ad utilized clever use of common phrases and capitalized on the power of office humor. Some other noteworthy things were that it showed the product in between every segment and was attention-grabbing. This ad is also an example of a great way to use the popularity of the parent brand Reese’s to garner awareness for this new product being brought to market. Lastly, the slogan tied up it perfectly at the end to be both quirky and eye-catching: “Best bar you’ve never heard of”.
I understand where this commercial for Turbo Tax was coming from—they were trying to stand out and create a catchy commercial for a less-exciting product. But it honestly was disconnected for me. During the commercial the dancing and singing was distracting to me. I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics, which told what Turbo Tax did. Now, I know what Turbo Tax does, but if I didn’t, then I might be confused by this. The one good thing TurboTax has is that their value offering is in their name with ‘tax’. In all honestly, this commercial was more annoying than catchy for me (especially when I saw it for the second or third time).
I still personally think 2018 was Tide’s year for Super Bowl ads with their “Is every ad a Tide ad?” campaign, which was especially needed as this was after the kids eating Tide pods fiasco. That campaign was super clever, with lots of reinforcement and reference to other popular Super Bowl ads. It was also attention grabbing and made you think. At first, this year seemed to be going downhill. To me, the idea seemed kind of forced and a little silly at first (and they paid for a lot of different segments). However, as the night went on, and I saw more of the Tide commercial segments, the campaign got clever and seemed to fit together.
The storyline was well put together. These ads also seemed to pop up during funny moments to remind you that Tide was still there. Tide also used repetition well with this campaign. I did read that this was Tide’s first time introducing a new product in a Super Bowl ad, so since it was a new product the multiple ad segments and length might’ve turned some people off or confused them.
There were a ton more commercials I could’ve reviewed (at least a dozen), but for time and space sake, it didn’t happen. If you want more, you can easily google Super Bowl 2020 ads or check out this site that has them all.
I hope you enjoyed going through a few of these to watch and analyze them on your own. Each year, the Super Bowl ads are long awaited and are honestly some of the best ads there are. While we may never have an ad in the Super Bowl (not many companies have $5+ million to drop on ads), we can still learn from them. And of course, we can still appreciate good marketing and funny advertisements.
Now go back to celebrating, crying, complaining or being completely clueless about the game and maybe remember 1 or 2 of these ads to carry you through the week!