Most Super Bowl advertisers were coy in their Sunday night ads, often trying to project a sunny tone on the most watched television night of the year, amidst a global pandemic, deep political divisions and movements for social justice.

Some ads reflected the impact of the pandemic and its location. Last year, a number of merchants bought Super Bowl ads for the first time, including online food delivery services.

ByDash Inc.

and Uber Eats; specialists in the marketing of lawn care products.

Scott’s Miracle-Gro Co.

Online car store

Vroom Inc.

Klarna and the Freelancer Network.

Fiverr International Ltd.

Most, but not all, chose not to mention pandemonium in their ads. Scott’s Miracle-Gro, for example, admits in its ad that backyards have “enough years.”

Several other brands have referenced the pandemic, such as Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade with a comical ad depicting 2020 as an unstoppable storm of lemons falling from the sky.

And streaming services abound during commercial breaks, while cinema ads have all but disappeared.

Jeep rid itself of the upbeat atmosphere of many other ads by airing a dark two-minute spot in the lead role.

Bruce Springsteen

and recognize the division of the country. The last image shows a glimpse of the United States with the phrase, “To the United States of America.”

“I’m not joking and I’m not serious. I don’t care,” said

Olivier Francois,

international marketing director at Stellantis NV, the parent company of brands such as Jeep and Chrysler. “I’m aiming for a longer message,” he says.

And Reddit made money on the latter.


The investment saga, dictated in part by sentiment on the WallStreetBets forum, with a five-second regional spot.

But Robinhood Markets Inc, the online broker where many amateur investors have bought GameStop shares, did not refer to the recent headlines, but rather proclaimed the message that anyone can invest.

Many traders who relied on laughter and escapism relied on celebrities to break through.

Michael B. Jordan plays the role of assistant Alexa in a commercial for the Amazon Super Bowl.


Amazon/Generalities in Madness

This year’s ads showed

Amy Schumer.

Sales of Hellmann’s mayonnaise;

Michael B. Jordan.

who plays Alexa for Inc;

Maya Rudolph

like four neighborhood-sized cowboys for Klarna; two-dimensional.

Matthew McConaughey.

A 3D pitch crunch by Doritos, with Post Malone and Cedric the Entertainer promoting Bud Light, as well as commercial characters like the Knight of Bud.

In addition to the Doritos commercial,

PepsiCo Inc.

Frito-Lay aired a Cheetos commercial featuring Shaggy’s 2000 hit “It Wasn’t Me.”

Mila Kunis


Ashton Kutcher

and another multi-brand commercial featuring Super Bowl stars fighting over a snack.

“When we watched the Super Bowl and tried to understand what consumers were looking for, it was a moment of joy and liberation,” he said.

Rachel Ferdinando,

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Frito-Lay North America.

Advertisers spent up to $5.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime during Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs, hoping to take advantage of one of the few remaining television events that reach masses of consumers at the same time.

This year’s game was the culmination of a season marred by a coronavirus that resulted in interruptions such as the postponement of the main Thanksgiving game due to the absence of the Baltimore Ravens.

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The game had not yet blown up the other TV programs. Last year, it reached an estimated 100 million viewers.

Although attempts at humor have always dominated the list of Super Bowl commercials, past spots have included a range of themes and nuances, including serious and emotional approaches. This year, there seems to be much less variety.

Tim Calkins,

Clinical Professor of Marketing in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“Advertisers reflect our behavior and the lives we lead, but only in the most positive way,” Professor Calkins said.

“Some ads that were seen during the Super Bowl last year will not be seen this year,” he added, referring to the Super Bowl ad for Google 2020, which featured an elderly man who had lost his wife, and a touching ad from New York Life about love as an act.

“There will be more pressure this year,” he said.

Elisa Yvette Esquivel,

Director of Strategy at North American branding agency FutureBrand. “People are tired of what has happened to us over the past 12 months, and there have been very few moments where we have had a unified vision.

“A brand that has no tone is a brand that has no empathy for what consumers are experiencing.

– Greg Lyons, Pepsico Beverages North America

Mountain Dew is a hired actor

John Cena

for a playful Super Bowl commercial that highlights its great melon flavor.

“The deaf brand is a brand that has no empathy for what consumers are experiencing. We spent a lot of time on it,” he said.

Greg Lyons,

Marketing Director of Mountain Dew’s parent company, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “In recent years, with racial inequality, with politics, it’s become harder to find the right tone, and Covid has only reinforced that.”

Some brands have tried to promote their social responsibility efforts while still keeping a sunny tone.

General Motors Co.

Military comedians Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson and Awkwafina will keep their promises about new electric vehicles; the trio will warn Norway that America will break its record for electric cars.

Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson in a General Motors commercial in which Will Ferrell attempts to “destroy” Norway’s dominance of electric cars per capita.


GM/Presse Associée

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

portrays a boy who talks about how a burrito can change the world based on “how we plant, water and make things grow.”

Chipotle had planned a campaign this year to raise awareness of its food standards and support farmers, but initially did not want to buy a ticket to the Super Bowl, the marketing manager said.

Chris Brandt.

When the station’s advertising agency, Venables Bell & Partners, showed him the spot, he changed his mind.

“We spent a lot of time on the tone of the place to get it right, not so bad and depressing, but a little optimistic and talking about what we think about agriculture,” Brandt said. “It seemed just big enough, but still had a nice, light tone.”

E-mail Alexandra Bruell at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Frequently asked questions

Why is Super Bowl publicity so important?

Super Bowl commercials have become icons and are known for their cinematic quality, unpredictability, surreal humor and use of special effects. The use of celebrity cameos was also common in Super Bowl commercials.

Does Super Bowl advertising cost money?

The latest data suggests that advertising is a waste of time. According to a 2018 study published in the journal Marketing Science, “the benefits of Super Bowl advertising persist this year and drive sales at other sporting events.”

How much does a 30-second announcement during the 2020 Super Bowl cost?

The 30-second commercial for Super Bowl 54 in 2020 was worth about $5.6 million, slightly more than the last month’s commercial in 2021.

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