The best Super Bowl 2021 commercials: The top ads from this year’s game
By Tamar Lapin
Super Bowl 2021 may not have had many surprises, but at least the ads were fun and unpredictable.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took an easy win Sunday night, brands kept it light-hearted and quirky, providing escapist fantasies to the everyday reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some companies took the opportunity to inspire viewers or tackle serious issues — but most opted for laughs, with absurd, celebrity-packed spots, heavy on nostalgia, according to a team of top ad executives assembled by The Post.
As always, the much-anticipated ads featured some of the biggest names in show business, like Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey and Bruce Springsteen.
Though several of the usual big brands sat this year out, many smaller companies — such as oat-milk manufacturer Oatly and soap-maker Dr. Squatch — made their Super Bowl debuts.
The commercials were also pricey, with the average cost of a 30-second spot hitting an estimated $5.5 million. True to form, Reddit went rogue and found a workaround.
Here are this year’s best ads, in no particular order, according to our experts:
Comedians Dana Carvey and Mike Myers of “Wayne’s World” brought viewers back to the 1990s for this fun spot.
“A lot of brands have made Super Bowl Sunday into ‘Throwback Thursday,’” noted Andy Nathan, founder and CEO of the Fortnight Collective.
“The Wayne’s World local-access cable TV show working to help local restaurants makes a lot of sense for Uber Eats and what they promise.”
Add the cameo from Cardi B and the ad becomes even more “fun, eye-catching and entertaining,” said Moa Netto, chief creative officer of RAPP US.
SPIN CEO Jimmy Hutcheson added, “The one thing that always hits a mark is nostalgia. In recent years, Super Bowl commercials have tapped into that by resuscitating beloved movie characters.”
“Thus, it makes perfect sense that grabbing Mike Myers and Dana Carvey for a ‘Wayne’s World’ reunion would absolutely make sense and work.”
“Adding current pop icon Cardi B to that equation? Brilliant,” said Hutcheson, “a big win for Uber Eats to appeal to people from multiple generations.”
Toyota — “Jessica Long’s Story”
Toyota introduced 13-time Paralympic gold medalist swimmer Jessica Long in an uplifting, tear-jerker of an ad that our experts found beautiful and uplifting.
“Toyota ad stands out in this venue. Really powerful true story in the middle of a lot of fiction,” noted Chris Graves, chief creative officer at Team One.
The moving commercial told Long’s journey to becoming a 13-time gold medalist. An orphan in Siberia, Long had to have both of her legs amputated and was adopted by a loving couple, portrayed by actors in the spot.
“The story of overcoming so many odds thanks to the empathy and selflessness of another person inspires us all to be better,” said Jennie Moore, creative director at WONGDOODY in Seattle.
Tim Smith, president of Chemistry in Atlanta, found the ad “just beautiful with a great uplifting story that everyone needs a bit of right now.”
“I am usually a sucker for humor but that spot is exceptional,” he added.
The experts also shouted out Toyota for the inclusivity of its commercial.
“People with disabilities are woefully represented in advertising by major brands and in big cultural moments like the Super Bowl,” noted Nicole Michels McDonagh, of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners.
Rocket Mortgage — “Certain is Better”
This 60-second commercial features comedian Tracy Jordan, of “30 Rock” fame, helping out prospective homeowners learn the difference is between “certain” and “pretty sure.”
He accomplishes this by taking the family through a series of hazardous, yet hilarious, situations, including one involving some potentially-murderous hornets.
“Tracy Morgan’s ‘pretty sure’ ad was hysterical!,” said Hutcheson. “The ‘pretty sure’ scenarios were brilliant [and] the ending drove home the message for Rocket!”
“Clever and fun,” he added.
Morgan “can make anything funny” and the actor “helped this spot stick the landing,” noted Husani Oakley, chief technology officer at Deutsch NY.
Bud Light — “Last Year’s Lemons”
Bud Light’s spot was a nod to the “lemon” of a year we’ve just had — though “this ad is anything BUT a lemon,” said Jennifer DaSilva, president at Berlin Cameron.
Most of our experts enjoyed the clip’s quirky metaphor for 2020 and its take on the age-old adage: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
In the ad, giant lemons raining down on weddings and other parties, and though we’ve seen unexpected objects falling from the sky before, this one was “nicely produced and fun to watch,” said Graves.
“Thank you, Bud Light,” said Moore.
“We could either laugh or cry about last year, and this helped me share in a much-needed laugh.”
M&M — “Come Together”
The chocolatey treats are used as peace offerings by people apologizing for doing things like kicking the back of someone’s airplane seat or mansplaining to a female co-worker, in this charming ad featuring actor Dan Levy.
M&M “started the parade strong,” said Smith.
“It took a little different direction than the normal spokes candies then brought it back around.”
The commercial was “pretty darn good,” he added. “Really well-written and directed.”
McDonagh also backed the brand’s “super fun strategy — that M&M’s can make up for all wrongs.”
“And, I mean, they are chocolate so it’s pretty much true,” she quipped.
Amazon — “Alexa’s Body”
“Again, please,” was likely what every woman in America said after seeing this ad, according to McDonagh.
Amazon turned its virtual assistant Alexa into a sex symbol with the help of Michael B. Jordan in this fun and memorable ad.
“The unexpected scenes that personify Jordan as Alexa are wildly entertaining, all while showcasing what Alexa can do,” said Nathan, adding: “Jordan’s creepy Alexa blue eyes are a nice touch.”
Netto said that “This one made me laugh out loud.”
“Direction is flawless, acting is on point [and] each scene is extremely well-thought-out.”
Still, some of our experts felt the spot’s sultriness was heavy-handed, especially for a family-friendly product.
“Yes, the sexual innuendo is over-the-top at times, but high marks for sheer entertainment,” said Graves.
“Really well-crafted as a film,” Graves added. “And appreciate the attempt to give a somewhat intrusive technology a human face — an extremely good-looking human face.”
Jeep — “The Middle ft Bruce Springsteen”
After famously shunning ties to advertising over the course of his epic career, Springsteen made his ad debut in a unifying spot for Jeep.
“Fear has never been the best of who we are,” the rock legend says in the ad. “We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground. So we can get there. We can make it to the mountaintop, through the desert . . . and we will cross this divide.”
DaSilva said, “It’s Jeep’s hope that if anyone can bring us together, it’s The Boss.”
“I can think of few more calming, unifying voices than Bruce Springsteen, who reminds us that freedom is for everyone in the USA.”
Tide — “The Jason Alexander Hoodie”
This commercial stars “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander as a teenage boy’s dirty hoodie — and Tide coming to the rescue to clean up the actor’s face.
“The first line of this spot had me hooked: Son: ‘It looks clean to me.‘ Mom: ‘Is it though?,’” said McDonagh.
“Every mom in America is uttering a collective ‘MMMMM-hmmmm’ right now. Great insight. Hilarious spot.”
And despite its zany conceit, the 60-second spot was still delightfully simple.
“This spot is proof that Super Bowl commercials don’t necessarily need to be over the top to be successful,” noted Oakley.
Cadillac — “ScissorHandsFree”
Heartthrob actor Timothée Chalamet starred in this “Edward Scissorhands” sequel as the iconic character’s son, Edgar Scissorhands.
Winona Ryder, meanwhile, reprised her role as Kim from the original 1990 Tim Burton movie for an ad our experts found weird, yet touching.
“Love how this 90 seconds of film captured all the best qualities of the original. Great job, Cadillac,” said McDonagh.
However, “the real genius here is how they use Edgar’s scissor hands as a way to introduce their hands-free Super Cruise driving feature,” DaSilva found.
“This spot is really a cut above.”
Mountain Dew — “MTN DEW Major Melon”
Wrestler John Cena stars in this wild, pink-hued commercial hawking the brand’s new watermelon-flavored Major Melon soda.
The amped-up, creative ad is accompanied by a contest with a $1 million prize to the first person to correctly guess the number of bottles of the new soft drink found in the clip.
“I really loved Mountain Dew’s contest execution for the ad,” said Hutcheson. “I think social media will go wild for it. And, a visually stunning spot.”
Original Article can be found here.