Super Bowl LIV’s matchup between the 49ers and Chiefs proved to be a pretty good and entertaining one. As far as ads go, it wasn’t the best year. However, they did have an overall positive and light theme which was much needed this year.
10. Tide “Laundry Later”
After sitting out of last year’s Super Bowl, Tide is back. They continued playing to one of their strengths: telling one story through multiple ads effortlessly. The brand nailed this style back in 2018 when they had David Harbour, of Stranger Things, communicate that all ads are technically Tide ads if the clothes are clean.
This year’s message of “now stains can wait” didn’t wow us to the degree of the 2018 one; however, the journey that the actor Charlie Day takes is entertaining. After getting spilt on in the beginning of the game, he gets told to clean his shirt “later.”
This starts the existential crisis that carries him through the ads and through the years, as it shows him as an old man. Throughout the ads, he encounters Bud Light’s Bu Knight, dances in the Pepsi’s Halftime Show, and crosses paths with Fox’s The Masked Singer and Wonder Woman.
We included this on our list because Tide navigates the biggest day in advertising so well. They use celebrities from famous movies and TV shows to catch the eye of a variety of fans. Beyond those specific fans, they captivate the viewers with the funny story.
By carrying out that story over multiple ads means viewers are more likely to remember Tide out of all the ads during the game. Tide knows what they are doing, they truly are the veteran in the Super Bowl ads game.
9. Budweiser “Typical American”
Budweiser took a break from the beloved Clydesdale horses to feature the wonderful Americans from all walks of life. They used the negatively connotated “Typical American” and spun it to show the heart of Americans.
They highlighted Americans from firefighters to our Women’s Soccer Team winning the World Cup to a man helping another get his car get out of the snow to a soldier returning home to the everyday person. This ad communicates the need to look past labels and stereotypes too see things in a new light.
Ranking 12 out of 62 on Ad Meter and having 15 million views on YouTube, this ad did well for not introducing a new product or using humor to win over viewers.
8. T-Mobile “Anthony Anderson’s Mama Tests T-Mobile’s Nationwide 5G Network”
T-Mobile did it. They created a funny commercial that had a clear message. That sounds simple but over the past couple years the brand’s ads have been underwhelming to our team.
This year their ad featured Anthony Anderson, the actor from Blackish, and his real-life mom. It takes you through all the incessant calls he receives from his mom in which she informs him of all the locations where she can get T-Mobile’s 5G service now.
He quickly is frustrated with the amount of calls, relieved when she calls just to say thank you and love you, and it ends when she calls him from the club, and then it ends with him being surprised with a call from his mom in the club — where she can get the 5G coverage.
The relationship between tech savvy child and not-so-tech-friendly parent is extremely relatable, entertaining, and a win for the brand.
7. Michelob ULTRA “Jimmy Works It Out”
Michelob ULTRA’s ad featuring their low carb low calorie light beer featured many stars. John Cena takes Jimmy Fallon on a series of trying different sports after Jimmy complains that working out sucks. The message from Cena
They go from the track field where Jimmy’s Tonight Show resident band The Roots cheer him on and they come across Usain Bolt. Next, they hit the links with professional golfer Brooks Koepka while aiming at the large duck targets on Cena’s golf cart. Then they go to the beach to play beach volleyball with the Olympic team Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat.
Finally, Jimmy takes on the football field where Cena, Questlove, and Tariq Trotter use remote controls to direct football dummies at Jimmy for him to tackle. After he successfully tackles one, it cuts to Cena and Fallon enjoying a Michelob ULTRA light beer at the bar while Jimmy is standing in an ice bath.
This leads to Michelob’s line “it’s only worth it if you enjoy it” relating Jimmy’s working out experience to the meaning that light beer is only worth the lower calories if the taste is enjoyable. This ad landed in the 11th spot on Ad Meter with its fun premise and celebrity line up.
6. Snickers “#SnickersFixtheWorld”
Snickers took the musical route for their Super Bowl spot with a parody of Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop” commercial from 1971. The ad lists the weird quirks of our modern society that lead to the main point of the ad where they are feeding the Earth a Snickers bar to hopefully fix it. They only aired a shortened version but the minute long one holds all the fun digs at our society.
They start out by singing that the world is “out of sorts” since grown men are riding scooters, parents are naming their babies after odd things like produce, the surveillance we have with smart speakers is pushing invasive, there are so many spam robocalls, and the amount of milk alternatives is crazy.
They cut to people walking down to where there’s a big hole for the enormous Snickers bar to be dropped in all while singing that they know it’s a dumb idea but if it works everyone benefits. The brand includes the text “Maybe the world just needs a Snickers” and the hashtag #snickersfixtheworld.
The ending hints that another trouble in the world is the internet culture by showing two influencers falling into the hole to which actor Luis Guzman says, “The Snickers hole, it’s working.”
The brand used an outrageous approach which has become so normal during the Super Bowl. They took an off-kilter storyline to make light of the pretty intense time the world’s been going through over the last year or so.
Using the weird approach is on brand and this ad is actually just a variation of their ads from the past couple years. They previously had a long campaign where people acted crazy and Snickers helped them calm down and the tagline was “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry.”
This ad made our list because the extreme concept and poking fun at everyone was actually funny, on brand, and we love when brands don’t take themselves so seriously, especially when they are a well-known brand and product.
5. Google “Loretta”
Google stood out from the other heartfelt ads by making everyone actually cry with their “Loretta” ad. They told the story of a man using the power of Google to remember beautiful details about and moments with his wife.
The creative of the video alternated between Google’s interface and displaying the man’s personal pictures and clips, all while playing an instrumental version of the song Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.
The juxtaposition of the tech powerhouse’s interface and the personal memories that it’s helping this man remember is striking and the ad had such an emotional impact on any type of viewer.
4. Bud Light “#PostyStore “
Bud Light used the comedic approach like they have over the past years with their medieval theme and Bud Knight. While the Bud Knight made an appearance in the Tide ad, their main commercial featured rapper Post Malone.
The artist has been working with this brand recently after being loyal to their beer for a while. For this year’s Super Bowl spot, they used Post to help introduce their new Bud Light Hard Seltzer. Before the big day, they released two options for the fans to vote on which one gets to air.
This online interaction fits perfectly with the millennial and Gen Z fans that are both a majority of the artist’s fans and the target demographic for the brand’s new product. One of the ads had Post in a bar ordering a Mango Bud Light Seltzer and the other had Post in a convenience store deciding between Bud Light Seltzer and regular Bud Light beer. The fans weighed in and the convenience store won.
In the ad, titled “#PostyStore – Inside Post’s Brain,” Post sees that Bud Light made a seltzer and that cuts to the internal controls in Post’s brain analyzing the new product and trying it to see the taste buds’ response. Through his internal controls, the brand adds descriptions of the new product as “no bud light, just hard seltzer with a hint of fruit flavor” and “light and refreshing.”
The controls people that are dressed like the artist himself, start debating on whether as Post Malone it’s acceptable to drink the new beverage or stick to his normal Bud Light beer instead. The debate causes them to send Post all over the store crashing into all the aisles and products. Finally, one of the controls people make the argument that “we’re incredibly rich, let’s get both,” they hit a button and Post says, “I’ll get both.”
Bud Light uses physical comedy and the fun-loving nature of Post Malone to successfully reach their target audience and communicate the key features of their new product.
3. Hyundai “Smaht Pahk”
Another celebrity filled ad this year was Hyundai’s Smaht Pahk where they had Boston natives John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, David Ortiz, and Chris Evans. They used exaggerated Boston accents to talk about the new feature in Hyundai’s line up called “Smart Park” but pronounced the Boston way “Smaht Pahk.”
John Krasinski shows up in the Hyundai and parks it in a tough spot using the smart new feature which doesn’t require him to park it manually. The other two actors are shocked and ask him if he’s been able to park it in other difficult areas in Boston, which he has successfully. They are impressed and even defend him and the feature when a stranger yells out “that car has no driver.”
It’s a simpler take compared to the more elaborate ads we’ve seen in the past; however, it’s funny in a different way that stands out. The fans of Marvel, The Office, SNL and those in Boston are bound to love the commercial by extension and with the amount of times they say the phrase “Smaht Pahk” we all will remember Hyundai’s new feature.
This ad came in at #2 on the Ad Meter with a 6.98 and has 41 million views on YouTube in only a week of being on the platform.
2. Doritos “The Cool Ranch”
In Doritos’ Super Bowl spot, they took their chip flavor Cool Ranch to set the Wild West themed commercial at “The Cool Ranch.” The ad features rapper Lil Nas X and actor Sam Elliot, who face off in a dance battle to the tune of the rapper’s song Old Town Road. What are they competing for? Of course, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.
The battle is even until the rapper uses his horse and the actor’s horse refuses to be involved. The rapper receives his prize of chips and says, “who got next.” They cut to Billy Ray Cyrus, who features on the rapper’s song, saying “I ain’t dancing.”
While this ad secured the #4 spot on Ad Meter, we’re placing it an #2 on ours. Doritos managed to use one of the year’s most popular songs Old Town Road and breakout artist Lil Nas X to connect with their younger demographic. They paired him with Sam Elliot which is a favorite of the Boomer generation and great fit for the western cowboy theme of the ad.
This truly is the only year they could effectively pull this off which they did. This ad is completely on brand for Doritos, who always pushes the envelope, especially with their past crazy and relevant Super Bowl ads.
1. Jeep “Groundhog Day”
The ad taking the title is Jeep’s “Groundhog Day.” Since the game fell on Groundhog Day this year, one brand was bound to incorporate that into their spot. Jeep went a step further than just acknowledging the national holiday, they paid homage to the 1993 movie Groundhog Day by using the main actor Bill Murray as well as a groundhog, like the Punxsutawney Phil one from the movie. Later we see the other actors from the film, Stephen Tobolowsky and Brian Doyle-Murray also.
The ad follows the routine from the film where Bill Murray wakes up and realizes he’s started the day over. He walks past Ned and then sees the bright orange Jeep Gladiator parked on the street. Murray says “Oh, that’s different,” then grabs the groundhog from the mayor and speeds off in the Jeep.
The next morning, he rushes out of bed to do the same thing: steal the groundhog and Jeep again. Even with his similar surroundings, each day with the Jeep is new and exciting. He starts enjoying his adventures with the car and the groundhog Phil. They go snow biking, play Whack-A-Mole at the arcade, go off-roading, watch the fireworks, and go snowshoeing.
Jeep’s message in the ad is “No day is the same in a Jeep Gladiator.” It’s fun and lighthearted, but why is it #1 on most lists online? It’s not a boring car commercial. They play up the experiences that are an extension of the car and they kept it related to their market that is the outdoor off-roading type of brand.
Additionally, they got Bill Murray. He notoriously doesn’t participate in advertisements. This is his first national commercial ever, according to Rolling Stone. To have him reprise an old role and pairing him with an adorable animal is impressive and clearly a win.
On Ad Meter it ranked the highest with a 7.01 and currently has 44 million views on YouTube. This is the first time that Jeep has topped the Ad Meter chart.
Super Bowl 54 resulted in about $435 million in-game ad spend, according to Kantar. This is a 29% increase from last year’s $336 million total. To see the official Ad Meter rankings of all 62 ads, head over to USA Today.
What was your favorite ad Super Bowl LIV commercial?
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