If you watched the “Big Game” last night, it’s likely you were let down until the halftime show. As someone who gets actively furious at football games (don’t get me started on how little they play compared to how long the game lasts), even I knew that game was anticlimactic. Until maybe the final six minutes. Then some folks might have woken up from their food comas.
Thankfully, the commercials were enough to keep most of us glued to our screens. Between Baby Nut, the new Jason Momoa conspiracy theory, Google’s tear-jerking ad and the “I thought I just saw a Walmart commercial?”, déjà vu moments provided almost enough entertainment where the athleticism fell short.
Some commercials were duds, but some were worth the average $5 million price tag brands payed to play during the game.
Let’s walk through what we thought were the most memorable commercials throughout the three-hour-plus game time. Please note: This will be sans Demi Lovato’s performance (though, GOOD FOR HER!) and the halftime show (which also deserves a round of applause). Check out the ones we remembered post dip-coma.
Jason Momoa’s Arms
Image from Consequence of Sound
I will probably talk about this commercial for a week. And for a 60-second ad for Rocket Mortgage – a home mortgage lender tool that truly does not affect me – that’s pretty impactful.
In the commercial, the hunk of a man (I said it) is seen coming home after a day’s work – for him, presumably filming some sort of superhero film. Once he’s inside his house, he does what most of us do when we get home: Get comfortable.
For him, this looked like taking off his muscular arms, chest, legs, then wig before settling down with a mandolin, thus revealing the REAL Jason Momoa.
Image from USA Today
The first lesson you’re taught in advertising is to go for the emotions. And Google went right for our heart with this ad.
The ad starts with a simple search query in Google’s branded font, “how to not forget.” Viewers soon learn the question was asked by an older widower trying to remember sweet memories of his late wife, Loretta. He asks his Google Home device to show him memories of their time together and from the pictures, he then asks his Google Home to “remember X about Loretta.”
And, as if that wasn’t enough, the commercial ended with him asking a doggo to come inside. Social media erupted with sobbing GIFs and Tweeters coming together to cry over the sentimental ad.
Walmart Was There. A Lot.
Image from YouTube
Last year, Walmart tested the waters of advertising during the game by placing an ad in the pregame show. The results must have been enough for the brand because in 2020 the brand placed three different 60-second ads during the game.
Image from YouTube
Earlier last week, Planter’s teased their Super Bowl ad by “leaking” it on the internet. That commercial showed the beloved Mr. Peanut getting killed in a car accident.
Then, following Kobe Bryant’s tragic plane crash that took the lives of eight others, including his daughter, Planter’s announced it was going to change the direction of its game time commercial. Ad Age originally reported the game was set to air a funeral for Mr. Peanut, and while a funeral was shown, Mr. Peanut came back as #BabyNut, a peanut so cute he’s only rivaled by Baby Yoda.
Image from Business Insider
#HotTake here. I appreciated Olay’s play on social the week leading up to the game. I will admit, I had not put together their trending #MakeSpaceForWomen movement would tie into a Superb Owl advertisement. Admittedly, I wasn’t mad at the commercial up until the last moment. The female-empowered ad was completely ruined for me when a character asked, “wHaT DOeS tHiS bUtToN dO?” as she pressed an Olay bottle that ultimately launched the astronauts into space.
That said, the brand did take their commercial to the social space, making their impact last longer. For every retweet of their #MakeSpaceForWomen post, Olay is donating $1-500K to GirlsWhoCode. And that’s important.
Tom Brady Shuts Down Rumors
Image from The Wall Street Journal
I didn’t know this, but everyone I was in the room with apparently knew there were rumors surrounding whether or not Tom Brady was going to be retiring or potentially switching teams.
In his all black and white commercial with Hulu, Brady dispelled all rumors with one line, “But me? I’m not going anywhere.”
Maisie Williams Sung Me to Sleep
It’s possible this one is most memorable because I do follow the belief that Maisie Williams can do no wrong.
For Audi, Williams was driving Audi’s new E-Tron Sportback electric car through traffic filled with non-electric cars while singing Disney’s “Let it Go” from Frozen.
This ad showed me three things:
- It confirmed that Williams truly is a triple threat.
- Audi is willing to shell out the big bucks to not only have an advertisement in the big game, but also pay Disney royalty fees.
- I was ready to go to bed after the somewhat calm commercial.
While the game was a little anticlimactic, the commercials did not disappoint. And these were only the ones I am still thinking about the day after – honorable mentions could include Avocados, Winona Ryder and Pop Tarts.
When brainstorming and casting their commercials, what brands want to remember is the brand. It’s great if we can walk away talking about Jason Momoa’s arms, but if consumers don’t remember that was actually an ad for Rocket Mortgage, the mark was missed.