Recapping the Best Commercials of Super Bowl LV in 2021
From the outside, Super Bowl LV appeared to be like any other year.
Tom Brady was playing, a world-famous pop star was set to perform at halftime, and large brands brought their A-game to the Big Game’s Sunday festivities.
But many parts of this year’s Super Bowl were unlike anything we’d ever seen before.
The stadiums that were once filled with more than 70,000 attendees now instead held 7,500 vaccinated health care workers — giving frontline workers a much-needed reprieve from fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Amanda Gorman, the country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, recited an inspiring poem that honors everyday Americans for their tireless efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
For the first time in 37 years, there was no Budweiser commercial.
The steep price of a Super Bowl ad placement dropped from $5.6 million to $5.5 for a 30-second spot.
Coke and Pepsi also chose not to air commercials during Super Bowl LV, with PepsiCo. choosing to promote the halftime show instead.
This year, brands leaned in to the “weird” of 2020 and 2021 to get creative with their messaging, celebrity cameos, and concepts.
The tried-and-true celebrity spokesperson was on full display this year, with Cardi B and Matthew McConaughey starring in commercials, among others, like the legendary John Travolta.
There was an increased focus on millennials and Generation Y with a notable lack of cameos from influencers from TikTok and YouTube — with the exception of Liza Koshy in a Rocket Mortgage spot.
This year, brands chose to pursue themes of friendship, happiness, and kept things light — a welcome change from the “unprecedented times” rhetoric we have hear repeated in advertisements since March of 2020.
As marketers, we excitably watch the Super Bowl each year (or, at least the ads in between the game) to see the risks big brands are taking to stand out amongst the more-than-50 advertisements per game.
Here are a few of our team’s favorite advertisements this year:
Rocket Mortgage Emphasizes the Importance of Being Certain
Rocket Mortgage aired two commercials during Super Bowl LV, with comedian Tracy Morgan showing the difference between “pretty sure” and “certain.”
From murder hornets to mushrooms that may or may not be poisonous, Rocket Mortgage managed to create an ad that is funny, memorable, and aligned with the brand’s values.
Both Rocket Mortgage commercials ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the USA TODAY Ad Meter Ratings, the first time a brand has taken the top two spots since 2007.
Uber Eats’ Eat Local: Wayne’s World & Cardi B
Almost 30 years after Wayne’s World premiered in theatres, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey brought their iconic characters back to life — Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, respectively.
The commercial makes fun of other commercials, with Garth saying, “We’d never manipulate you the way all these commercials do,” as subliminal messages like “eat” and “local” flashed across the screen.
This is obviously a play on a famous scene from Wayne’s World when Garth ironically claims he’d never sell out, while illustrating he is, in fact, selling out.
Cardi B stars as the other celebrity cameo, with the trio performing a TikTok dance while singing a song reminiscent of the Wayne’s World theme song.
Uber Eats relied on nostalgia for this commercial, while urging viewers to continue supporting local businesses and restaurants during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But, it’s worth noting that Uber Eats does charge restaurants to use their service. So even though this does support local businesses, it can cut into their profit.
Dolly Parton Turns ‘9 to 5’ Into ‘5 to 9’ for Squarespace
The Squarespace Super Bowl commercial was a cinematic treat, feeling like a deleted scene from La La Land — which is no surprise, considering Damien Chazelle directed it.
Spunky entrepreneurs leave their dreary, gray offices and desks to dance around their colorful side hustles, with Dolly Parton’s smash hit playing in the background — with some updated lyrics. A man is seen hanging artwork in his cubicle while creating a website while Parton sings “… with a website that is worthy of your dreamin’!”
Squarespace celebrates the side hustle that is typically pursued between the “off hours” — instead of working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they work 5 p.m. to 9 a.m..
Aside from her voice, Parton is absent from the commercial, with the exception of a quick cameo shot where she winks at the camera from the cover of a magazine.
It was also Parton’s first Super Bowl commercial appearance on her long, impressive resume.
Squarespace encourages entrepreneurs to make their passion their full-time gig by using its platform to create a website.
And, as we’ve seen with some of our clients, it’s possible to go from side hustle to a family-owned and operated business.
Dan Levy Says ‘I’m Sorry’ with M&M’s
M&M’s addition to this year’s Super Bowl commercial lineup centers around people apologizing for various mishaps and offering a bag of M&M’s as an apology.
One man attempts to apologize for mansplaining, while simultaneously mansplaining. A woman apologizes for calling someone “Karen,” and then offers a second bag of M&M’s when she learns the woman’s name is in fact Karen.
The commercial is funny, good-spirited, and memorable.
But an M&M’s commercial wouldn’t be complete without a celebrity cameo.
And this time it’s Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy who holds an M&M captive while apologizing to the other M&M’s for eating their friends.
Timothée Chalamet is ‘Edgar Scissorhands’ for Cadillac
Cadillac introduces the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq SUV in its Super Bowl commercial starring Winona Ryder in a reprised her role as Kim alongside Timothée Chalamet, who plays Edward Scissorhand’s son, Edgar.
The commercial takes us through the dangers and hardships of living with scissors as hands, seeing Chalamet humorously struggle through everyday life.
The hands-free highway driving-assist technology comes in handy (pun intended) when Edgar’s mother gifts him the Cadillac Lyriq and we watch him drive into the sunset. We also see Edgar being able to use the touchscreen technology with ease, even though he has scissors for his hands.
The nostalgia of the Tim Burton hit film combined with the relevance of Timothée Chamelet results in a fun commercial that gets the point across — Cadillac has seriously advanced driving technology.
Super Bowl Round-Up
All things considered; most brands didn’t miss a beat this Super Bowl.
Although our attention spans seem to grow shorter each year, brands still created engaging, memorable commercials that are sure to influence purchasing decisions for the better.
Coming off of a tumultuous 2020, the Super Bowl was a chance for brands to communicate with Americans while they tuned in together (albeit, from separate homes) to laugh, be inspired, and think positively about the future while enjoying the biggest game of the year.
It’s the perfect time for brands to show off their new-and-improved technological feats while keeping a viewer’s attention for the allotted 30 seconds to a minute commercial runtime.
For brands inspired by Super Bowl ads looking for help with video production, contact our creative team today.