The past year has been a strange one, but some things never change. That’s right, Tom Brady has won the Super Bowl again, racking up his seventh win – more than any individual franchise in history.
But beyond this historic (and perhaps infuriating, depending on who you were rooting for) win, we need to talk about our favorite part of the night: the ads! From light-hearted to heart-wrenching, here are some of the agency’s top (and bottom) ads of the night. Check them all out below.
Best 2020 Reference: Bud Light Lemonade
2020 really was a lemon of a year, wasn’t it? That universal feeling took Bud Light Lemonade all the way to the Super Bowl, providing us with a visual of a world literally being attacked by lemons. And despite the comical effect, it really captured just how bad this year was, creating a funny and cathartic feeling that left viewers wanting a sip of that well-earned lemonade. Kudos to Bud Lite for an ad that was both memorable and did a great job selling the product in question.
Funniest (tied): Tide
I’ve never felt so sorry for an inanimate object. Somehow, Tide managed to create something that tapped into the strange meme humor of the internet and the more nostalgia-filled feeling of a time when Jason Alexander was on everyone’s TVs. While it might not have put the actual Tide product at the front and center, it definitely kept your attention as you watched the many different faces of Jason Alexander.
Funniest (tied): Rocket Mortgage
The difference between “pretty sure” and “confident” is a lot bigger than we might think it is. And while Rocket Mortgage may not be the household name that many of these other brands are, its funny approach to explaining why it’s such a valuable tool made for a memorable ad that also helped to enforce the value of its service.
Most tone deaf: Robinhood
This ad makes you wonder how far in advance Super Bowl ads are locked in. The ad itself is nice enough, if not a real standout, comparing the things we do every day with different investment terms and practices. But the timing couldn’t have been worse – after Robinhood caught heat this week from practically every side of the political and economic spectrum, this didn’t do much to get investors back in its good graces.
Most creative: Reddit
Blink, and you missed it (and you might have even missed it if you didn’t blink), but this Reddit ad made a huge impact for the five seconds it was on screen. True to its brand as the place where underdogs come together (and playing brilliantly off of the events of the past few weeks), and extremely simple, it made viewers pause, rewind, or Google this “interruption” to your regularly scheduled programming.
Best use of nostalgia: Cadillac
A heartwarming and nostalgic take (plus a cool new product) all in one, this Cadillac ad pulled Winona Ryder straight out of Edward Scissorhands and introduced us to her son, Edgar Scissorhands. While he can’t catch a ball or ride the bus, there’s one thing he can do: drive the hands-free electric vehicle from Cadillac. It’s a sweet and totally relevant use of an easily recognizable property.
Most touching: Toyota (Olympics)
In terms of an emotional reaction, this one took the lead for the night. The story of Jessica Long, who was adopted from Russia, had her legs amputated, and went on to become a Paralympic swimmer, was a bittersweet and well-executed treat, reminding us both of the strength it takes to become an Olympian (from both the athletes and their families) as well as the unfortunate cancellation of this year’s Olympics in Japan – Toyota’s home country. While it definitely didn’t scream the brand’s name (there wasn’t a single car in the commercial), it may have done quite a bit for building brand sentiment.
There were many more that made our radar this year, from Fiverr to Paramount and GM’s Norway-centric ad. Which ones were your favorites? Comment on one of our social posts to let us know!