Let’s be honest, no one likes watching ads and the average consumer will go to great lengths to avoid engaging with them. For one magical night a year, however, that all changes.
The Super Bowl is like Thanksgiving in winter: filled with lots of food, a cooked bird (but this time with hot sauce), and loud arguments with close family members. This time though, the arguments aren’t centered around politics or allegations about who ate the drumstick (it wasn’t me Uncle Carl!) as they surround the best and worst Super Bowl ads.
If you’re still debating amongst your family since Tom Brady was anointed GOAT for the seventh time, let us step forward and say, “may you argue no longer”. We at Five Seasons Media have compiled the top five most impactful Super Bowl ads to settle this issue once and for all.
5). ‘Wow wow no cow’ by Oatly
The Oatly Super Bowl ad is terrible in the best possible way and highlights well the rapidly evolving media and advertising landscape. In the commercial, the company, which makes a product called “oat milk”, features their CEO, Toni Peterson, singing, some may say irritatingly, “wow wow no cow” to describe their non-dairy drink. The ad stands out because love it or hate, it is different, and leaves a lasting impression. In a world where everyone has a smartphone, social media account, and an opinion, the ad shows production value isn’t always everything to make sure you’re heard loud and clear.
4). ‘As One’ by the NFL
While the NFL has angered fans on both sides of the social justice debate surrounding how to handle instances of police brutality and myriad allegations around the county of examples of systemic racism, a series of ads aired on Super Bowl Sunday that attempted to bring all fans together. Most, fell flat, and likely did not change any hearts and minds. That said, one of the ads, featuring a hologram of the late football coaching great Vince Lombardi, stood well above the rest. The ad, which used actual lines from speeches Lombardi once gave, were weaved together to deliver a message designed to resonate in today’s tumultuous political climate. Regardless of how one may feel surrounding recent NFL decisions to address societal concerns, the ad achieved its goal of finding, however small, a piece of common ground that viewers have found worth sharing beyond their television screens.
3). ‘The Middle’ by Jeep
As we’ve said in previous blog posts, storytelling centered advertising delivers value, which in turn compels prospective clients to engage with your message. Jeep’s ad, entitled The Middle, shows how with an engaging story, a product can be plugged effectively if not explicitly. The ad, which features music legend Bruce Springsteen, takes consumers on a journey, in you guess it, a Jeep, that starts in America’s literally heartland and ends in the nation’s metaphorical heart. While there is some controversy surrounding whether Springsteen, a known critic of Republicans, was the right person to best deliver a unifying message, where there is no debate is that the ad is continuing to make its mark in the digital world long after it aired on television.
2). ‘Jessica Long’s Story’ by Toyota
Although there were many ads that attempted to deliver a unifying message, arguably no Super Bowl commercial did this better than the one created by Toyota featuring Jessica Long, a paralympic champion. Using the power of strong, character centered storytelling, Toyota used Long to show how one can triumph through adversity to reach the pinnacle of success. While most are unable to directly relate to Long’s inspirational life journey, Toyota effectively used universal themes, like love and the value of hard work, that for most will emotionally resonate with. Creating an emotional connection, and telling a story worth sharing on social media and online, was a smart move by Toyota that will undoubtedly keep their vehicles at the forefront of prospective customers for many years to come.
1). ‘Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski Big Game Ad’ by T-Mobile
It may be hard to remember but when Tom Brady announced he was leaving New England for Tampa Bay many sports fans were left scratching their heads asking, “why?”. The idea that his former tight end, Rob Gronkrowski, would join him there, seemed, again, at the time, an unlikely possibility too. Thanks to T-Mobile, we now have an answer about how this perfect storm of football excellence came together: poor cell phone signal (allegedly). The best part of this ad, it shows clearly the power of social media as despite it never actually aired during the Big Game after having been rejected by the NFL, it has nevertheless gone viral. As this ad unambiguously shows, a social first strategy is the only true way to make a lasting impact on prospective consumers.
This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.