The Best Commercials of Superbowl LIV (Copy breakdown & Analysis)
Last night the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl.
But I think everyone watching the commercials in between the game were the real winners.
Personally, I think 2020 was an epic year for Super Bowl commercials. And there’s some incredible innovation happening that’s going to change the landscape for advertising forever.
There were so many good commercials last night.
Too many to chose from.
But I wanted to break down what I thought were the top 3… and talk about some of these incredible new advertising formats you’re going to see a lot more of going forward.
Let’s take a look at the 3 best Commercials of Super Bowl LIV (2020).
#3 Feed the World a Snickers
I almost spit out my beer watching this commercial.
It took me by complete surprise.
A moment ago, I mentioned how some companies/agencies are getting super innovative with their ads. This is a perfect example.
For the past couple of weeks, Snickers has been running ads featuring people digging a hole and “explaining” why they dig.
Now… you might not have connected the dots between the SB commercial and this one that ran in the past two weeks.
But in a moment, it all made sense.
Once you saw all the people pouring out of the forest, towards the giant hole in the ground… you can’t help but laugh.
Here’s why this technique is so awesome:
Brands are moving away from traditional “ads” and are starting to opt for a storytelling spots, dripped out in pieces, connected with strategic open loops.
Quite a few brands used this technique last night.
Howard Gossage said it best:
“People don’t read ads. They read what interests them and sometimes that’s an ad.” — Howard Gossage
This principle applies to television as well.
People do not want to watch ads.
Especially when they can just pull out their phones to distract themselves from a commercial.
So… what do you do?
Well… you turn your ad into a piece of content. Your turn your ad into a story… which work so well because they’re native to the platform you’re advertising on (TV). You break it up so people WANT to follow along and see how the story plays out.
Snickers did a brilliant job of this.
They “open-looped” the shit out of people… and they made you look forward to seeing their commercial.
Read that last line again.
When was the last time you were sitting on the edge of your seat so you can see an ad?
Ok, of course we all do that on Super Bowl Sunday. But brands are starting to use this approach outside of the Super Bowl window.
Really smart stuff.
Here’s something else I love about this ad:
It throws rocks at common enemies.
There’s a book called the One Sentence Perusasion Course by Blair Warren.
One of the five strategies he covers in that book is throwing rocks at a common enemy.
That entire commercial was throwing rocks at common enemies.
It paced, then lead.
It met us where we are: fed up with all the dipshits we’re forced to encounter on a daily basis… and then it led us to the natural solution of eating a Snickers.
I don’t buy candy bars. But if I were to buy one, I’d probably reach for a Snickers before I grabbed a Reese’s Take 5 (who also ran a spot last night during the Super Bowl).
Both ads were funny.
However, the Snickers ad had an implied benefit. For a couple years, they’ve been blanketing media with the messaging that Snickers is a good solution when you’re hungry.
So if Snickers can stop the “world” from being hangry… you infer that it’ll solve your hunger problems, too.
What was Take 5’s implied benefit?
That you’ll… uh… be the only weirdo at your office who’s ever heard of it?
Yeah, I think I’ll grab a Snickers.
#2 Tom Brady’s Hulu Ad
I gotta tell ya…
The moment this commercial came on my world stood still.
As a Jet’s fan, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This was it.
Tom Brady is done.
The king is dead.
He’s no longer gonna shit down our throats two times every fall. We’re finally gonna have a shot. The nightmare is over.
I think a lot of people thought the same thing.
You had the music…
You had the black and white shot.
You had him walking into Gilette.
I actually stood up out of my chair and began to raise my arms as the camera panned to the lights shutting off in the stadium.
“Bah gawhd… this is it!”
Hulu has live sports!
I screamed. Just a little bit. And then fell back into my chair laughing.
Brady’s not going anywhere. He’s still gonna curb stomp us twice a year. And that’s just the breaks.
Part of the reason I laughed was because I had never seen this kind of move before.
There’s this term that gets thrown around in the marketing world — omnichannel.
It means creating marketing campaigns that span multiple channels and devices.
Think about this…
A couple weeks ago, Tom Brady posted a cryptic picture after the Patriots collapsed in the playoffs…
Now, think about this…
His team just lost.
He already has six Super Bowl rings.
He’s becoming a free agent.
What ELSE could this possibly mean?
I gotta hand it to the Hulu people (or their agency). This was one of the most brilliant ad campaigns I’ve ever seen in my life.
They saw all the stars lining up and realized there was an opportunity to create a super-viral moment for Hulu.
This was great.
One thing we shouldn’t glaze over…
I LOVE Hulu’s ad copy.
In all of their ads (like the ones with Saquon Barkley and Todd Gurley), they aren’t afraid to make fun of the fact that they’re just paying these athletes a shit ton of money to say one line on a commercial.
Is that irony? What is that? What do you call that kind of humor?
They’re poking fun at the whole thing but also being super-direct in what they want you to take from the ad.
In Tom Brady’s Super Bowl LIV commercial, they slipped in the line: “According to the script they just gave me…”
They have a great sense of humor about the whole process.
And they made sure this was gonna go mega-viral. And it has.
Well done, Hulu.
#1 Google’s Loretta ad
I’m only gonna say this once…
If you didn’t get a little emotional watching this, you might be dead on the inside.
This commercial was probably one of the best commercials I have seen in my entire life, let alone during Super Bowl LIV.
Of course, anytime you hear a piano playing in an ad… you know you should keep the tissue box close, no matter what’s being sold.
Because that commercial’s about to take you on a god damn emotional roller coaster.
But THIS ad…
This one tugged at the heartstrings. Of course, I forced myself to rewatch this ad and so I could write this article… and I could be wrong, but it seems as if someone started chopping onions in my office.
The ad starts off with someone typing “how to not forget.”
The answer the camera focuses on is: “repeating a detail.”
So, the older gentlemen starts instructing Google’s AI robot machine assistant thing to show him pictures of his late wife.
He then continues, reminiscing about all the things he remembers about his wife.
Google’s picture app is able to pull up pictures from certain events in the man’s life. The crazy thing is… these are obviously pictures taken from many, many years ago. Well before the invention of digital cameras, or even the internet.
But there they are… in his Google account.
There’s also videos from their life, stored in his account.
Just in case you weren’t welling up with emotion, they gotta throw in the fucking scene from Casablanca (because that’s their favorite movie)… which is clearly some type of metaphor for the love they had.
The ad then lists all the things the man told Google to remember.
And then, he gives Google one last instruction:
“Remember, I’m the luckiest man in the world.”
Cue the waterworks.
The hair on my neck stood up when I watched the ad. And the same thing happened when I rewatched it.
When you can give your viewer a visceral, emotional reaction… you’ve won the game.
The sale is made.
This ad forces you to think about your own life. Your own memories.
Where will all of those things be stored?
How will you remember them?
How will you access those moments?
Tech companies like Google take advantage of things like network effects and high “switch” costs.
Once you make the decision to upload your most important memories to Google, you’re a customer for life.
They don’t even have to mention the product, because of their ubiquity.
But once you watch this ad, you want to be able to do what this man did… you want to be able to a simple way to remember the best things that ever happened in your life.
Here’s one last thing I’ll leave you with:
If you can make someone cry with your ad, you’ll never have to worry about getting customers again.
Talk about putting your life in perspective.
Google… hats off to you.
I think this ad should be in the advertising Hall of Fame.
That was incredible.
What do YOU think?
Did you agree with my picks?
Leave me a comment below.