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Our Favorite Ads from Super Bowl LV

For many, the big game is all that matters on Super Bowl Sunday. For the rest of us, especially those in marketing, it’s all about the commercials! This year, some notable brands like Budweiser, Coke, Pepsi, and Hyundai all sat this one out for various reasons. Some due to financial uncertainty, while others refocused their resources – like Budweiser, who decided to reallocate their investment to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cheers to them.

Before we talk about our favorite commercials from The Big Game, we wanted to take a second to talk about the logo for Super Bowl 55. While we believe the logo itself is good, we have to question why the NFL thought it was a good idea to put the trophy between the “L” & “V” roman numerals. They’ve been using the same format since Super Bowl 51, but somehow it doesn’t work this year. With no other “I” roman numeral to point out that the trophy is not part of the number, it looks a lot like the logo for last year’s Super Bowl, #54. Don’t you agree?

While we all watched the game at SkyeLine for different reasons, each of us was eager to pick our favorite commercial. Whether it was because it was memorable, emotional, funny, or nostalgic, we hope this gives you a little insight into who we are and how this company ticks. Individuality can never be overrated.

Jim DeMicco, Creative Director:
A lot of attention is always given to the funniest Super Bowl commercials each year, but I often gravitate to the more sentimental ones, and this year was no different. If you can move me to take a moment of reflection (or tears) in a 1-minute commercial, you’ve got my attention. That’s precisely what two car companies did for me. I’ve never owned a Toyota, and we recently abandoned the Jeep brand, so these commercials likely won’t sell any cars to my family. Yet, they did capture my attention in a way that the other commercials did not. There are plenty of movies and TV shows that fail to bring the raw emotion that Toyota did in Jessica Long’s Story | Upstream and Jeep did in The Middle in a much shorter amount of time.

The message The Boss delivers in The Middle is one we need to hear this year. We were out of the room when it was playing and when we hear the line “the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue,” it brought me back into the room. The commercial might be a little heavy-handed, but if we ever deserved a bit of that, it’s probably during a global pandemic.

My favorite of all the commercials was Jessica Long’s story of her journey from double amputee to 13-time Paralympic gold medalist. I had never heard of Jessica before this ad, so I had no invested interest. It’s a testament to the creative firm behind the ad that they were able to introduce me to something I knew nothing about and bring me to tears in such a short amount of time. Of course, they did this by calling on universal storylines. The ad is really about adoption, a strong, loving mom, and a kid that wouldn’t give up. I’m still not buying a Toyota, though 🙂

Kenya D’Agustino, Marketing Manager:
There is a lot of hype before the Super Bowl, but I’m always so busy marketing chicken wings that I miss a lot of it. So, besides how cool and unexpected it was to see a woman referee, I did know that (a now trending #maskless) Brady and Gronk would make their mark. I never like to watch the commercials before the big game, so I wait. I wait to laugh, get emotional, or be disappointed (in some). This year was no different, and all of the above came true. I love the funny ads (and Will Ferrell), so General Motors was at the top of my list, along with the Pringles Space ad, Bud Light Seltzer, Michelob ULTRA, and Rocket Mortgage. Then, I almost chose Edward / Edgar Scissorhands, just because I loved that movie – but the winner every single year is the one that I remember the next day. The one that grabs my attention right away and also makes the room go silent. The one that has masterful creative direction and makes me feel something deeper. This year, that ad for me was Toyota’s Paralympian Jessica Long. I thought it was incredibly inspirational, heartfelt, and beautifully shot. If Budweiser did their lost dog or puppy love commercials, it might have been a hard call. Other than that, for me, this one wins the gold.

Erika Blanchard, Designer:
For me, like most, the past year and a half has been difficult and stressful – and many of the commercials tugged on the heartstrings, while others gave us a bit of relief from reality. I’m not sure about you, but I was in need of a little laughter for a change. So, with that said, I think Tide won this year, hands down. Sure, it was totally random, but for Seinfeld fans, like me, it was a home run.

I may be dating myself to admit that I watched Seinfeld – not to mention my new-found love of Tide Pods (which I think may save me a full day a week, based on the amount of laundry I do). Still, I truly appreciated the writers for the subtle references intended for die-hard Seinfeld fans.

For those of you that missed the commercial, it started with a mother telling her son that he needed to wash his “Jason Alexander hoodie,” which he insisted wasn’t dirty. Then, scene after scene, it showed the sweatshirt going through the wringer (with Jason Alexander’s face changing throughout), proving that mother knows best. Later, the mom tells her son that he owes the Jason Alexander Hoodie an apology. It ends with the boy running into Jason Alexander, who says, “Hey, that’s my face! You can’t just wear my face!” The boy apologizes, and Jason replies with, “Give me back my face!” All the while, Believe It or Not, is playing in the background, which is the genius part of the commercial. For those of you who don’t know, George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander) changed his answering machine message to the tune of Believe It or Not on an episode in season 8. You can view it here, and you can view this year’s commercial here.

Not only was it genius to add the reference, but many who watched The Greatest American Hero would probably agree that Believe It or Not is an extremely catchy song. I will probably be singing it for the rest of the week (you can send your sympathies to my family now).

Brian Wray, SEO Specialist:
The “Big Game” commercial that drew my attention most was from Paramount. The ad that showed a bunch of celebrities and athletes scaling a snowy mountain was a great example of using your logo in your favor. Yep, you guessed it; the mountain was the Paramount logo.

They zoomed out at the end of the ad, and sure enough, it was an ad for Paramount’s new streaming service Paramount+. It was a simple commercial, but I liked how it reinforced Paramount’s branding with people walking up the famous Paramount mountain. I’ve often looked at that mountain and imagined people climbing up it, so I’m glad they used that in the ad campaign.

Erica Cruz, Social Media Specialist:
When it comes to the Super Bowl, I admit that I’m incredibly basic – if the Patriots aren’t in it, it doesn’t even really count – I’m only here for the food, the drinks, and the commercials. This year, I tuned in here and there for Tom Brady because of… #GOAT, but back to the commercials. Being in the creative industry, I crave commercials that inspire me, humor me and relate to me. I’m officially casting my virtual vote for DoorDash. How awesome was it to watch Daveed Diggs rap with Big Bird on Main Street with a Cookie Monster Cameo! What was so relatable? I have toddlers that love Sesame Street! Plus, the commercial demonstrated inclusivity in such a natural way (like choosing to feature empanadas) and finally, inspiring because $1 of your DoorDash order supports Sesame Workshop’s kid-focused social impact work – incredible and so important to me.

Alexa White, Intern:
My personal favorite Super Bowl commercial was the Edward / Edgar Scissorhands Cadillac one. I’m a big movie person and loved the fun twist they put on the classic film. I thought it was a great idea to have Winona Ryder and Timothee Chalamet star in it. I thought this was fun because it appealed to many different generations since Winona starred in the original movie, and Timothee is a great up-and-coming actor. Then, in the end, the main concept was to promote hands-free driving in their all-electric Cadillac LYRIQ. Which I thought was a super fun and creative way to show their newest feature.

I almost picked the Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade one – the whole commercial was a giant metaphor for how the year 2020 went. Starting with it only drizzling lemonades from the sky, then soon having it downpour them. Having these ironic scenes, put a little light into this crazy year!

What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial?