The Real Winners of the Super Bowl are the Great Ads

The Real Winners of the Super Bowl are the Great Ads

Big Ideas

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February 9 2021
Big Ideas

At the time of writing this, Nielsen still hadn’t released its TV ratings results, but if Sunday’s game was anything like years past, the average viewership will push past 100 million people…. the majority of whom aren’t even there to watch the game. 

Yes, you read that right. 

More people are drawn in by the commercials and the halftime show than by the score (part of the reason each 30-second spot costs north of $5 million).  As a marketing agency, we share that interest in the creative choices made by some of the biggest brands in the world, especially on a stage this large. 


The Makings of a Great Advertisement

For us marketers, an ad needs to be:


Attention spans are short to begin with, and you’ve only got 30 seconds.


If consumers forget you sell a product when it comes time for them to buy said product, why even bother?


Figure out who your target consumer is, and what matters to them. For obvious reasons.

If you have the means, you can also give effective ads a boost with some good ol’ fashioned star power, some well delivered comedy or by tugging on the heart strings.  But that just amplifies the ad, it doesn’t always turn a bad ad into a good one.

Along those lines, every year some brands get experimental and bold, and many of those ads leave us scratching our heads.  Of more interest, though, are the commercials that we believe hit the mark. 

We reviewed all 51 ads and to us, the following are this year’s real winners:


Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, “Last Year’s Lemons”

You don’t need to do much to convince us that 2020 dealt us all a bunch of lemons, and you don’t need to do much to remind us of the proverbial expression “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, so Bud Light hit the simplicity and memorable marks.  And it’s marginally meaningful, mostly because it’s a beverage category that’s growing, particularly among the people there to watch the game and those there to watch the halftime show.  A little humour also gave it a bit of a boost.


GM Trucks, “EVerybody IN”

30 EVs by 2025.  Simple.
Will Ferrell hates Norway.  Memorable.
EVs are good for the planet, and soon, they’ll be affordable for everyone.  Meaningful.
Oh, and Will Ferrell makes anything hilarious.


Michelob Ultra, “Happy”

This message – “it’s only worth it if you enjoy it” – is so beautiful in its simplicity because we make the immediate connection to the product (it’s worth drinking this low-carb beer because you’ll enjoy it).  They also do a good job of placing the product just often enough that you notice it, which helps with the memory thing.  It’s also meaningful because, well, see above comment about growing beverage segments.  And to push it over the goal line (see what I did there?), they deliver star power in spades!   

What do you think?  Which ads were left off the podium that shouldn’t have been?

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