Perspectives

MBB’s Super Bowl Commercial Commentary

From the commercials to the fourth-quarter comeback, Super Bowl LIV was one big party. Typically, MBB spends Super Bowl Monday debating the best (and worst) commercials. Since the Chiefs actually played dominated in the big game this year, we’ll admit, our attention was slightly distracted from the ads. But can you blame us? Thankfully, the Internet Gods provided us all the ads after (and even before) the big game. The overall vibe was positive, progressive, and powerful. Just like our hero, Patrick Mahomes.

Like nearly every year, the Super Bowl commercials were infiltrated with alcohol, cars, movies and, of course, a plethora of celebrities. Unfortunately, a political ad or two was thrown in there but Kansas City, MISSOURI is moving on. Worth noting were the abundance of streaming service ads that were truly a sign of the times. From Hulu, to Amazon, to Quilbi, these spots showed us that if you’re not streaming, you’re snoozing. And, like Tom Brady, streaming is here to stay. Sure, whatever, Tom.

Three themes stood out during this year’s marketing budget-busters: Pop culture throwbacks, female empowerment and sentimental statements.

Pop Culture Throwbacks

Jeeps’ “Groundhog Day” spot with Bill Murray was near perfection. Capitalizing on the holiday and creating a tagline that actually ties in the ad with the product is beautiful. Twenty-seven years after the movie premiered, it was still a relevant, entertaining and effective ad. Well done, Jeep.

Cheetos’ “Can’t Touch This” with MC Hammer was the ultimate throwback and is one that your co-worker is probably still humming along to. It was relatable and catchy but was a touch distracting from the new product, Cheetos Popcorn. Even Discover Card jumped on the throwback bandwagon with clips from iconic movies and television shows. The “No We Don’t Charge Annual Fees” and “Yes We’re Accepted” ads clearly articulated what the credit card offer has to offer. Overall, the spot was good but the Friends inclusion made it great IMHO. SquareSpace featuring Winona Rider, Avocados from Mexico with Molly Ringwald and Mountain Dew’s rendition of The Shining all added to the throwback theme. Nostalgia works and these brands all capitalized on it.

Female Empowerment

We knew going into the Super Bowl that female empowerment was a hot topic. How could it not be with the Super Bowl’s first female coach? This was a big deal and not just for the NFL. Katie Sowers, the 49ers’ offensive assistant coach, shines in Microsoft’s “Be the One” spot. This ad was a win for the LGBTQ community and women everywhere. Scratch that, it was a win for all. Olay’s “Make Space for Women” was one of many space-themed commercials this year but also one of the few cause-marketing efforts we saw. Sure, the ad was a little cheeky, but it worked and it supports STEM, so we’ll call it a win.

Sentimental Statements

If you cried during this year’s Super Bowl, you weren’t alone. From the tear-jerking ads to the Chiefs winning it all for the first time in 50 years, it was all very emotional.

Arguably the most emotional commercial was the incredibly poignant Google ad, “Loretta.” The commercial managed to tug on our heartstrings, which is always a risk when the lighthearted alternative is available. Kudos to Google for building a powerful connection and staying on brand all within 30 seconds, even if they are stealing Loretta’s our data.

New York Life Insurance’s “Love Takes Action” ad was slightly heavier than Google’s and the message wasn’t quite as clear. Kia’s “Tough Never Quits” featuring Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders running back, was motivational, especially given the truth behind the ad. It stood out among the many, many car commercials, so it did its job.

Lastly, WeatherTech’s “Lucky Dog” was only one of three commercials that included a dog this year. This is surprising given that ads with dogs usually perform well. WeatherTech was another one of the few brands to capitalize on cause-marketing. If the story of a dog’s survival with heart cancer doesn’t sell, I’m not sure what will.

Tl;dr: The commercials were good. The game was great. Go Chiefs!