Attracting an average of 160 million fans each year, the Super Bowl is traditionally the biggest advertising event in the calendar. But how do things differ during a global pandemic? The Drum rounds up the best ads rolling towards this particularly different Super Bowl Sunday.
The biggest game in the US sporting calendar, each year, the Super Bowl is a perfect excuse to crack open a couple of cold beverages with some friends, before sitting back to watch the show unfold. So, what happens to one of the most-watched TV advertising slots in the time of a global pandemic?
While chancing millions of ad spend has always been a precarious investment, this year, that risk has only increased. As such, some of the world biggest brands have decided to sit this one out, including the likes of Coca-Cola, Ford and Budweiser.
However, by opting out they have generated just as much buzz. Last week, Budweiser has already been declared the ‘winner’, after it decided to redirect its funds to the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative to help drive vaccine distribution across the country.
As for those gutsy brands that are standing by the $5.5 million fee to participate in Super Bowl LV, most of those offering sneak peeks of the ads are avoiding sobering themes, in lieu of some humorous escapism.
Below, The Drum rounds up the best Super Bowl creative this year. Scroll down to see what brands have come up with so far.
Amazon: Alexa’s Body by Lucky Generals
Amazon has partnered with Michael B Jordan for his first-ever Super Bowl ad. Created by teams at Amazon and Lucky Generals, ‘Alexa’s Body’ sees Jordan act as the voice (and body) of Amazon’s voice assistant.
As the ad discusses Alexa’s new form factor, one executive daydream’s what other beautiful forms Alexa could live inside of…like say the handsome and widely adored actor.
Frito Lay: ‘Twas the Night Before Kickoff
Frito Lay had gone Dickensian this Super Bowl, with ‘Twas the Night Before Kickoff.’ It stars two former New England Patriots greats, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, alongside Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Narrated by ‘Beast Mode’ the former Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, the commercial follows the NFL stars as they eagerly anticipate this years Super Bowl. It was created in-house.
Huggies: Welcome to the World, Baby by Droga5
The first diaper brand to run a Super Bowl ad, on Sunday (7 February) Huggies is to make its debut.
Ahead of the game, Huggies is teasing another spot – ‘Welcome to the World, Baby’ created by Droga5 New York. It demonstrates what its like for babies being born brand new in life, covering all its marvels – big and small. The ad on Sunday is tipped to feature babies born on game day.
Squarespace: 5 to 9
Singer, songwriter and American icon Dolly Parton re-recorded her 1980 workplace anthem 9 to 5 as 5 to 9 for Squarespace’s seventh Super Bowl commercial that issues a rallying call to the historic number of people who are working to turn an after-hours project or passion into their own business.
Cheetos: It wasn’t me by Goodby, Silverstein & Partmers
Mila Kunis gets caught orange handed, snacking on husband, Ashton Kutcher’s Cheetos, in its Super Bowl ad.
First teased last week, the spot sees Kutcher catch Kunis on countless occassions, but thanks to some help from Shaggy, she manged to wangle herself out of it with the phrase, ‘It Wasn’t Me’.
Tide: The Jason Alexander Hoodie by Saatchi & Saatchi
Jason Alexander has played a long list of iconic roles, from George Costanza in Seinfeld to Hugo the gargoyle in Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. He has never played himself as a hoodie, however… until now.
As the official detergent of the NFL, Tide was not going to miss the Super Bowl party. This year it is challenging people to think about all the situations they subject their clothes to, suggesting how the Seinfeld star might react if he was treated in a similar way.
Michelob Ulta: ‘Happy’ Super Bowl by Wieden+Kennedy New York
“Are you happy because you win, or do you win because you’re happy?” – that’s the thought-provoking question Michelob Ultra poses in its Super Bowl ad this year.
Questioning the role joy plays in success, ‘Happy’ features a whole host of sports superstars, including Serena Williams, Anthony Davis, Peyton Manning, Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Butler and Alex Morgan.
Bud Light Seltzer: Last Year’s Lemons by Wieden+Kennedy New York
While Budweiser chose to redirect its ad spend to vaccine distribution efforts, its competitor Bud Light is still going ahead, offering its take on the expression – ‘when life gives you lemons’.
Inspired by the do-it-yourself haircuts, postponed weddings and other inconvenient but relatable situations in 2020, the ad looks at the bright moments in a challenging year, to turn last year’s lemons into the new Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade.
Cheetos: Evidence and advice by Goodby & Silverstein
Years after That 70s Show ended, its main stars eventually found love, and everyone wants a piece of Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher’s love life. And, so they have had to learn to live with headline after headline predicting the demise of their marriage. So they’re here to poke fun at it.
In a two-part teaser for Cheetos, with the finale airing at the Super Bowl LV, a shocked Kutcher receives an envelope of photographs and an empty bag of Cheetos. A teary-eyed Kunis is then seen delivering a passionate monologue, hinting she has been accused of something bad. Not impressed with her take, Shaggy suggests “just stick to the line I gave you”.
Old Spice: Winner by W&K Portland
Old Spice wants to boost confidence with a good old sniff of its range of spicey goods.
In ‘Winner’, a lad is seen slumped on a reclining chair, when an irresistible urge to smell Old Spice’s deodorant overcomes him. He is immediately transformed into the racing car driver of his dreams as he speeds out the room, to glory.
Stella Artois: Lenny Kravitz
Anheuser-Busch’s Stella Artois has put its money on Lenny Kravitz this year. ’Heartbeat Billionaire’ encourages viewers to ’invest’ every heartbeat of life in ’unscripted nights, last-minute plans and good times spent laughing and loving’ – all with a cold glass of Stella Artois in hand.
Stella Artois: Stadium Bites by Blue Apron
Stella Artois is also bringing the game to fans at home, ensuring they’re well-fed, as well as watered. ‘Stella Stadium Bites’ are ‘chef-curated’ to pair with a cool glass of stella Artois and can be ordered through Blue Apron.
Pizza Hut: $10 Tastemaker by
Enlisting the help of Eastbound & Down and The Office legend Craig Robinson, with fans eating and watching from the comfort of their homes, Pizza Hut wants to keep its brand front of mind this Super Bowl.
Pringles: Space Return by Grey
This Super Bowl, Pringles is suggesting that stacking its range of flavours has the ability to distract a whole control room of space scientists, causing a space mission to go awry.
In a space-themed spot, a pair of astronauts accidentally land in the middle of the sea. After trying to get their attention, a passing boat offers hope of their rescue, but sadly it is filled with a bunch of stackers, and once again the pair get ignored.
Huggies: Baby History by Droga5
Huggies has announced its debut appearance at the Big Game with a teaser spot that suggests “someone big is coming (actually its several someones)”.
Come Sunday, fans will see the new commercial welcoming newborn babies to the work. The spot will leverage user-generated content captured by families and shared virtually with the brand’s production team.
Sam Adams: Horses by Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Sam Adams is playing its first big game in the Superbowl marketing space, and it has marked the occasion by poking fun at a certain big beer conglomerate.
Aimed at younger audiences, ‘Your Cousin From Boston Frees the Clydesdales’ launches Sam Adams’ new Wicked Hazy IPA.
Oikos: Pro Face
In 2020, 480,000 people lost their jobs in the fitness industry in the US, due to the pandemic. So, in tandem with its Super Bowl ad, Oikos Pro is launching a grant program, to help give independent fitness businesses and trainers the support and strength they need.
MTN Dew: Counting
Mtn Dew has roped in pro wrestler John Cena to promo its new Mtn Dew Major Melon and Mtn Dew Major Melon Zero Sugar – the beverage brand’s first permanent flavor offering in more than a decade.
The spot, which will debut in full during the big game will be highlighted by the opportunity for one lucky fan to cash in on a life-changing prize of $1 million dollars by counting the correct number of bottles appearing in the teaser spot.
P&G: Come Clean to Close the Chore Gap
Procter & Gamble Home Care brands Dawn and Swiffer are coming together to launch ‘Come Clean to Close the Chore Gap,’ a campaign inviting everyone to do their part to create more equality in the division of household work.
Dawn and Swiffer will air a television spot inviting families to Close the Chore Gap on CBS’ Super Bowl Pregame show, The Super Bowl Today, in an effort to promote positive conversations in households across America.
Cointreau: Love Letter by Intuitive Content
Cointreau’s ‘Love Letter’ was created for the industry, by the industry – starring real restaurant and bar staff who have been impacted by the pandemic.
The 30-second spot will encourage game-day viewers to share a simple ‘Thank You’ or a heartfelt ‘See You Soon’ on social media, tagging their favorite bar or restaurant with hashtag #SaveRestaurants. More than just encouraging words, these love letters will raise awareness of the plight these small businesses continue to face.
Fiverr: Teaser by Publicis
Following the theme of Fiverr’s previous ‘It Starts Here’ campaign, this ad celebrates the hardworking, smart, and savvy small businesses that form the backbone of America.
The teaser opens on Four Seasons Total Landscaping’s now recognizable garage door. As the door opens on a new day, we see owner and President Marie Siravo ready to get to work.
M&M’S: Come Together by BBDO New York
The M&M’S spot presents viewers with a variety of scenarios that might make you say “wow, I really shouldn’t have done that.”
However, the confectionary brand use wit and humor to help us laugh off the little things we all do that can disconnect us from the people around us. Because with a little empathy and laughter – and in some cases, some M&M’s – we can move on and move forward, and maybe even grow a little closer together.
Anheuser Busch: Let’s Grab a Beer by Wieden + Kennedy
Anheuser-Busch chose Oscar-nominated filmmaker David Fincher to direct its first-ever corporate Super Bowl spot, called ‘Let’s Grab a Beer.’
The ad seeks to remind everyone of the meaningful moments – big and small – that happen when people come together and how, many times, when we say “let’s grab a beer” to someone, it’s usually about so much more than just the beer.
Toyota: Upstream by Saatchi & Saatchi
Fueled by the power of a family’s love, Toyota’s Big Game ad ‘Upstream’ features Team Toyota athlete Jessica Long’s incredible journey, which began when she was adopted by an American couple from a Russian orphanage.
The spot takes viewers on a trip down memory lane of Long’s childhood, which, in turn, would help lead her to become the second most decorated Paralympian in US history.
UberEats: Wayne’s World x Cardi B
UberEats’ SuperBowl spot pays tribute to the iconic 90’s flick, Wayne’s World, starring original cast members Mike Myers and Dana Charvey, as well as a celebrity cameo from Cardi B.
Echoing the fourth-wall-breaking style of the original film, Wayne and Garth reassure the audience they would never try to manipulate them with cheap celebrity appearances, before introducing Cardi B to encourage viewers to support local restaurants via UberEats.
This round-up will be updated as the Super Bowl ads roll on in.