MARKETING Magazine editor’s pick: Top 5 super bowl ads from this weekend

Super bowl, arguably the most anticipated sports event in America each year, took place on Sunday. This year’s super bowl was unlike any in its history as the majority of the world, including the USA continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

For starters, the stadium which can hold up to 75,000 football fans, this year was only occupied by 22,000 fans. 7,500 of those fans were health care workers invited as guests to honour their service and contribution especially over the last year.

As marketing and advertising people, we could not care less about which team took home the trophy this year. Instead, the reason super bowl becomes of interest to our industry is because of the super bowl ads.

Just like how Malaysia’s festive season wouldn’t be the same without its festive ads, forgetting the half-time show, the super bowl would be depressingly incomplete without the ads. By incomplete, I don’t just mean in the spirit of the event but also in the finance of it.

With 102.1 million audience tuning into the super bowl in 2020 (an average minute audience of 3.4 million) the reach super bowl ad slots offer is matched with a increasingly high price.

In 2000, the average cost of a 30-second ad during the super bowl ranged between USD 37,500 to USD 2.2 million. Fast forward 20 years, the cost of a 30-second ad slot last year reached up to USD 5.6 million.

Aside from spending some company’s lifetime of advertising budget on one 30-second ad, super Bowl ads are almost always effective as it is designed to resonate with the target market.

Due to the high costs, only big (read huge) brands are able to afford a slot and for them, these ads communicate more than just the product. Trust, loyalty and commitment are equal key components between the company and its consumer and these ads convey that.

Aside from the obvious marketing benefits brands can achieve through these ads (if they can afford it), what makes the super bowl ads even more interesting is the length. Due to the high cost, most ads are no longer than a minute and some of the best ads are only 30 seconds.

For the creatives from agencies, production houses and brands, watching the execution of such memorable ads in half a minute, is where the fun is.

The following are MARKETING Magazine’s editor’s pick of the 5 best super bowl ads from 2021 (in no particular order).

1. Indeed

The employment website, Indeed, aired its first super bowl ad this year and given that people all around the world are living through a time of uncertainty with their jobs, they couldn’t have picked a better year to debut at the super bowl.

The company worked with the Los Angeles based full-service advertising company, 72andSunny, for the ad.

Watch it here:

2. Amazon

When you’re the world’s largest online retailer worth over 1 trillion USD, getting a marvel actor like Micheal B. Jordon automatically gives you an (arguably unfair) advantage. But the guest appearance isn’t the reason Amazon’s super bowl ad made our list. Instead, this ad’s cheeky, humorous and creative take on Alexa’s lure makes it very deserving of a spot on our list.

Amazon worked with creative agency Lucky Generals on the ad, which is meant to promote the new design of the smart speaker.

Watch it here:

3. Reddit

Unable to afford a full slot, Reddit released a 5-second ad and proved that you don’t need a big budget production to produce an impactful ad.

Inspired by the recent Redditor army that gamed the stocks of Gamestop, Reddit’s 5-second guerilla-marketing ad was created after the platform community failed to raise enough money for a full 30-second ad slot.

“Big game spots are expensive, so we couldn’t buy a full one,” the company said in a blog post titled ‘sorry we crashed your super bowl part’. “But we were inspired and decided to spend our entire marketing budget on 5 seconds of airtime. One thing we learned from our communities last week is that underdogs can accomplish just about anything when they come together around a common idea.”

The 5 second viral ad:

4. Toyota

Visually stunning, heart warming and inspiring – these are the word we’d use to describe Toyota’s super bowl ad ‘Upstream’ which tells the story of Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long.

Toyota worked with Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi on the 60-second ad.

Watch it here:

5. Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch (commonly knowns as AB InBev), the American brewing company that owns beers such as Budweiser and Bud Light, is known for releasing effective super bowl ads every year. The ads either make you want to crack open a beer or Grab to the closest bar for one.

Perhaps its because direct alcohol advertising is not allowed over the broadcast media and on billboards in Malaysia, but there’s something heart warming about the way this ad evokes a sense of community without actually showing its talents drinking one.

The company worked with independent creative agency Wieden + Kennedy for this ad.


Another beer ad?

Bud Light Seltzer’s ad deserves honourable mention not only because it’s another beer ad. Instead, this super bowl ad snuck its way in this list because despite living through almost a year of a global pandemic, very few super bowl ads this year focused on COVID-19 or the other many challenges we faced last year (and continue to this year).

Playing on the popular phrase ‘when life gives you lemon’, this funny yet all-too-real ad momentarily takes viewers through a flashback of their own version of a “lemon of a year”.

The company worked with independent creative agency Wieden + Kennedy for this ad.

Watch the video here:

If you enjoyed these ads and are craving for more, we’ve got you covered. On Friday, voting for MARKETING Magazine’s Experts’ Choice Awards CNY TVC 2021 will begin and every subscriber will get the chance to vote for their favorite CNY ad.

Do you have a CNY ad to submit for the Experts’ Choice Awards? Submission ends tomorrow.

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