There’s no denying it the Super Bowl is the MET Gala of TV advertising. We’ve reviewed four of the best and the worst of this year’s Super Bowl ads. From Reddit’s cost-effective innovation to David Fincher’s take on American beer, the 55th Super Bowl did not disappoint, from both a football and advertising perspective.
1. Reddit: The real Super Bowl MVP
2021 saw Reddit deliver the shortest ever Super Bowl ad, with a total run time of 5 seconds. Beginning with a Reddit themed standby card, the short campaign had many viewers believing there was a broadcasting error. This holding card then glitched to show a message from the social platform.
The advert (designed by R/GA) glitched after a few seconds disappearing off the screen. At first glance, Reddit took a huge gamble on our inquisitive nature. With the first two lines reading “Wow, this actually worked. If you’re reading this it means our bet paid off” it seems Reddit’s decision was more calculated than it may have first seemed, as it became one of the most searched Super Bowl commercials on Google.
Reddit’s sub thread WallStreetBets played a key role in the GameStop saga that dominated the news at the end of January and beginning of February. The ad’s inclusion was topical, giving Reddit its minute (or 5 seconds) of screen time. The copy itself paid homage to the unity of its users, reading: “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”.
This advert by Reddit curates a strong sense of brand value, something Reddit hasn’t really pushed before. In the closing statement, Reddit states “Powerful things can happen when people rally around something they really care about. And there’s a place for that. It’s called Reddit”. This advert embraces the concept of community, a prevalent theme across advertising and creative over the past 12 months, in addition to being a great example of innovation. Reddit delivers impact while keeping down cost.
2. Squarespace reached out to the Super Bowl’s 5 – 9’ers
Showmanship and Dolly aside, Squarespace took the opportunity to cement its brand. Multiple lockdowns last year saw businesses migrate to the internet. But it wasn’t just existing businesses. With many still out of work or on furlough, now is the perfect time to make your passion your 9 – 5. The Centre for Entrepreneurs reported a record-breaking number of businesses registered last year. COVID-19 may have dominated, but it was also the year of the start-up. A fact Squarespace would have been all too aware of.
The ad focused on Squarespace’s versatility. It communicated its adaptability through a cinematic series showing off the variety of skills and crafts Squarespace can help you express – Squarespace isn’t just here to serve the established companies or self-employed. Moreover, with 40% of UK workers having a side hustle Squarespace is looking to open up to this market, quite literally flipping the concept of 9 – 5 on its head. A Super Bowl touchdown if we ever saw one.
3. Anheuser-Busch makes their corporate Super Bowl debut
You’d be forgiven for not knowing the name Anheuser-Busch. The company has had exclusive rights to alcohol advertising during the Super Bowl since 1975, but until now it had never promoted the parent company – you might be more familiar with Budweiser’s ads featuring their Clydesdale horses.. “Let’s grab a beer” is a campaign built around intimacy and nostalgia. A concept that’s close to home for the U.S company.
The story goes that Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. Chief Marketing Officer would grab a beer with Wieden + Kennedy’s Neal Arthur and Karl Lieberman every week or so to simply hang out, catch-up and talk through ideas. COVID-19 didn’t stop this tradition as the friends continued through the pandemic, grabbing a beer virtually.
It was this sentiment that underlined the master brands maiden voyage into advertising. The three realised that it wasn’t the beer, it was the company. Much like Renaults successful advert “30 years in the making”. “Let’s grab a beer” is a campaign built around intimacy and nostalgia. A concept that’s close to home for the U.S company.
Carefully crafted storytelling brings a relatability. The absence of masks and social distancing spark memories of a time long forgotten, creating a strong sense of nostalgia. As we said, you’d be forgiven for not knowing Anheuser-Busch, and that speaks volumes. This piece gives value to the brand. A brand that didn’t advertise their famous brand Budweiser for the first time since 1983 and instead donated to COVID-19 resources and education.
The pandemic has proven that promoting brand values is essential to building brand loyalty, and that’s exactly what Anheuser-Busch is doing. By showing the moments their drinks underpin and the value Anheuser-Busch places on them, they forge an instant comradery with the audience. Game-winning, values-driven content. The perfect Super Bowl play.
A year for value-driven content
Once again, the Super Bowl adverts didn’t disappoint. Each year carries ingenuity and innovation, raising the level of creativity. Such a stage brings out the risk-takers and the showmen, and in America, bigger is better. And as a result, brands raise the bar year on year. Each one challenging what it means to have a Super Bowl ad. And we can’t wait to see what next year brings.