Kansas City was named champions of the Super Bowl yesterday, but we picked some winners of our own. The commercials are what we are there to watch anyway, right? From the Google ad that brought tears to the eyes of football fans around the world to the Squarespace ad that made us proud to be Minnesotans (even though a shortened version ran during the game), this year’s ads are what we are talking about in the office today, even more than J.Lo and Shakira.
Each year, we expect the plethora of car, beer and movie ads seen across Super Bowl ads and for these brands, it can be hard to breakthrough. Yet this year, Jeep approached elevating their new 2020 Jeep Gladiator with well-loved actor Bill Murray in his first-ever national television commercial debut seen with Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day. Because Super Bowl LIV fell on Groundhog Day this year, Jeep cleverly played upon the movie “Groundhog Day (1993)” in which Bill Murray finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. Yet in Jeep’s spot, he experiences the same day over again, but with his partner Punxsutawney Phil, as they cruise in their 2020 Jeep Gladiator and embark on different adventures together each day. The combination of Bill Murray’s humor, paired with the nostalgia of the 1993 movie and timeliness of Groundhog Day, made for a commercial that audiences of all ages were buzzing about and elevated the presence of Jeep in a relevant, comical way. Click here to watch.
Best use of humor
T-Mobile and Verizon entered into a ‘5G ad war’ Sunday, but their Super Bowl spots took on much different twists. T-Mobile went mining for laughs, and they struck gold. Actor Anthony Anderson’s mom expresses doubts that T-Mobile’s 5G network really works anywhere and travels all around town – from the pie shop to the aquarium to the elevator – confirming that she still has connection by calling up Anthony. The incessant calls were sure to tickle anyone who has experienced the confluence of awkwardness and hilarity that occurs when teaching an older relative how technology works, and the spot concludes with a fantastic punch line. Click here to watch.
Best use of emotion
Tear-jerker ads are not a new concept for Google, but they took it to a new level with this year’s Super Bowl commercial, “Loretta.” This ad brings us along with an aging man while he uses his Google Assistant to help him remember all the details about his wife and their life together before she passed away. The entirety of the commercial takes place within the Google Assistant interface, cleverly showcasing its capabilities while bringing viewers on an emotional journey. It both shows us that the AI is approachable for an older audience, and that we can all use “a little help with the little things,” as the last frame of the commercial says. Click here to watch.
Best use of driving a message
We’re giving Hyundai Sonata the prize for Best Messaging. The ad, featuring on-screen favorites David Ortiz, John Krasinski, Chris Evans and Rachel Dratch, highlights the car’s smart parking assist feature, or “Smaht Pahk.” The messaging throughout the ad is consistent and memorable as the group discusses the differentiating feature. They kept it simple, not trying to cover every redeeming quality about the car, but instead, focusing on the one most important differentiator. Bonus points to Hyundai for extending the messaging on social channels, where they featured bonus scenes from the ad and a Twitter takeover! Click here to watch.
This year’s ads featured a lot of incoherent, fervent energy. Corporate brands keep trying to absorb meme culture, but the result is objectively spastic. Proctor and Gamble took this effort to a new level by featuring multiple product mascots at the same party. There is something to say for the innovation on display – only a massive umbrella company with individual brands could bring together a Charmin bear and Mr. Clean in an Avengers-style event. This tactic takes a special level of creativity to pull off. Just don’t think too hard about it – the ad is a mess, but they managed to promote seven brands in a one-minute ad slot. Click here to watch.
Our top pick overall for Super Bowl commercial ads this year goes to the hilarious and nostalgic Jeep “Groundhog’s Day” commerical. For the details on why this is our top pick and more on Tunheim’s take on last night’s ads, stay tuned for exclusive video content on our Instagram page.