The Super Ads of the Super Bowl

Although the football game itself brings a massive audience, quite a number of Super Bowl viewers most look forward to companies splashing out on funny, heartfelt, and celebrity-filled ads.

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Although the football game itself brings a massive audience, quite a number of Super Bowl viewers most look forward to companies splashing out on funny, heartfelt, and celebrity-filled ads.

Zack Stone, Staff Writer

Although much of the attention on the evening of Feb. 2 was centered around the Kansas City Chiefs’ late win over the San Francisco 49ers, potentially even more discussion was generated around one of the most entertaining advertisement evenings of the year. Although commercials are typically a nuisance that viewers wish to skip through, many of the 100 million viewers were watching the Super Bowl for the sole purpose of the funny, creative, bizarre and celebrity-filled ads. Here’s what you may have missed from the highs and lows of the 2020 Super Bowl commercials.

Per usual, the Super Bowl held plenty of well-written, humorous, and creative ads, but, on the other end of the spectrum, also a fair amount of those that hit well below the anticipated mark.

The former category included commercials from Jeep, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Hyundai.

Jeep took advantage of the fact that the big game fell on Groundhog Day and created a short spin-off of Bill Murry’s famous movie, with the major difference being Murray wakes up every day in anticipation. Thanks to his fun, exciting new ride of a Jeep, Murray looks forward to a daily new adventure rather than staying in devastation over the repeating days.

Google took a different approach and focused on sentimentality rather than action. Showing off its Google Assistant device, the massive company flipped through photos that correlated to an elderly man’s memories with his late wife, Loretta. At the end, the Assistant recounts all of the moments and favorites the man had told her to remember, creating a sweet, heart-tugging scene.

However, Google wasn’t the only smart assistant to have a big performance, with Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi wondering how people ever lived without Amazon’s home assistant Alexa. This leads to a variety of scenes throughout history, where characters in need of a small favor, ranging from turning the temperature down to sending a message to telling a joke, ask a person who’s name is some derivation of “Alexa.” Each time, the outcome is catastrophic. But when the commercial returns to DeGeneres and de Rossi, the ease and capability of the Amazon assistant is reinforced.

Although the daytime TV star was a big celebrity presence, Hyundai’s new Sonata gathered multiple A-Listers to dote on the new “Smart Park” feature. Poking fun at the already humourous Boston accent, celebrities John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, Chris Evans and David Ortiz react to the 2020 model’s ability to move in and out of a parking space without a driver. True to Boston fashion, the actors stress the ‘a’ and forget the ‘r’, repeatedly calling it “Smaht Pahk.”

Falling under the advertisements that seemed to flop included commercials from Planters and Hulu.

Following a building hype that Planter’s signature Mr. Peanut had passed away, fans and ad-viewers were expecting a revolution from the classic nut company. But in a confusing turn of events, Mr. Peanut was regrown as a baby peanut at his own funeral, surrounded by grieving mascots from other classic companies. Instead of relief that Mr. Peanut is still around or excitement over a rebranding, fans were left with a slight confusion and general disappointment.

Hulu also faced some backlash after its ad starring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. With talk of Brady potentially retiring after a less-than-stellar playoff run this season, Hulu created a massive ploy where it seemed as though the legendary NFL player would actually announce his retirement. Instead, Brady delivered a lackluster, disappointing speech about the capabilities of the streaming service, all while giving a massive scare to Patriots fans fearful of their leader moving on.

Of course, not all commercials were on one end or the other, and there were plenty of mixed-reviewed advertisements that generated a “Wait, what?” reaction.

One of the most glaring examples was John Legend and Chrissy Teigen showing off the “new luxury” of the Genesis GV80 SUV. While some saw the rejection of old luxury as a funny gambit, others found the commercial to be forced and awkward, best shown with a cringe-inducing reference to Legend being recently voted as “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Proctor and Gamble similarly went all-out, with actress Sofia Vergara showing off many of the P&G brands, from Old Spice to Charmin to Mr. Clean. While many viewers enjoyed the multi-layered crossover, others felt that trying to shovel what seemed to be dozens of companies into a short period of time made the advertisement as a whole difficult to track.

Ultimately, what makes a winning ad is entirely discretionary viewer to viewer. And at the end of the day, all publicity is good publicity, and even companies with negative commercial reviews will surely be experiencing increased attention.