Super Bowl Alert: That’s a wrap

Good afternoon Super Bowl junkies, I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s assistant managing editor, here with the final edition of our Super Bowl Alert in 2021.

Business as usual … ish

For the most part, despite the turmoil from the pandemic, Super Bowl commercials went on as usual.

Super Bowl brands navigated the challenges of producing often epic spots during the pandemic, largely generating ads that exist in an alternate, pandemic-free universe, according to Ad Age Editor-at-Large Simon Dumenco in his review of all the Big Game commercials.

The ads were stocked with scenes of people hanging out with nary a concern about social-distancing, masking or self-isolating, Dumenco writes. Whether they succeeded or not creatively, it’s clear that advertisers mostly wanted us to forget our troubles—the pandemic, global recession and the political divide.

Of course, there were exceptions.Jeep polarizes

Jeep’s “The Middle,” which addressed our national political divide, did not shy away from the current climate. In the two-minute commercial, Bruce Springsteen calls for the “ReUnited States of America.” It’s set at the U.S. Center Chapel, a tiny wooden worship house in Lebanon, Kansas that Springsteen describes in the ad as “standing in the exact center of the lower 48.” The geographic center of America is used as a metaphor for the political middle ground, which Springsteen describes in the spot as “a hard place to get to lately—between red and blue, between servant and citizen, between our freedom and our fear.”

While Ad Age’s Dumenco gave the commercial a five-star review, it was a polarizing effort to be sure, with some criticizing the spot for its religious symbols and ultimately the naiveté that a car company can bring people together.

Ad Age polled Twittersphere last night and found that 60% of respondents would describe the Jeep ad as “too preachy.”Big winner

Rocket Mortgage was the big winner of the night, according to USA Today’s Ad Meter. The company took both the No. 1 and No. 2 slots, the first time a brand has done so since Budweiser won both honors 14 years ago, Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes.

Mtn Dew’s ad promoting its new watermelon variety, won’s ranking of digital activity across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But there’s a caveat—the ad was meant to encourage viewers to count all of the bottles that appeared in the commercial and to tweet their guess for a chance to win $1 million, so social activity was always going to be high for this one.

At No. 2 was Amazon’s Alexa spot, which leveraged Michael B. Jordan’s star power, and has the most earned views (more than 8 million) online.

Amazon’s ad was also the most watched on YouTube as of 10 p.m. EST Sunday night, and it won The Clio Award for most creative Super Bowl LV spot.

According to Ace Metrix consumer surveys, Cheetos’ “It wasn’t me” was the funniest Super Bowl commercial, while Indeed’s “The Rising” was the most empowering.Odd surprises

Although its ad was only five seconds long and aired in just a few local markets, Reddit’s commercial was one of the biggest and buzziest surprises of the night. Typically, regional ads don’t get the attention of a full-fledged Super Bowl commercial, but given Reddit’s involvement in one of the biggest Wall Street moments of the past decade, it turned some heads.

Oatly brought an ad that was banned in Sweden to the Super Bowl in an effort to raise awareness in the U.S. The spot, which ran in the game’s second quarter, shows Oatly CEO Toni Petersson singing a song he wrote with lyrics such as “It’s like milk, but made for humans,” as he stands in an oat field in Sweden playing an electric piano. To top it off, the commercial was created in-house, by a team known as Oatly Department of Mind Control. The ad received plenty of hate, something it seems the company anticipated. Ahead of the game, Oatly gave away t-shirts declaring: “I totally hated that Oatly commercial.” In fact, one was hand-delivered to my house around 10 p.m. last night.ICYMI …

Ad Age staffers dissect the biggest takeaways from advertising’s biggest nights.

Over in Canada, Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft watched the game, albeit, without many of the ads seen in the states. Instead, he was, um, treated to some niche advertisers, pandemic PSAs and all the quirks one might expect from the Big Game’s Canadian broadcast.

You can relive all of the ads (we don’t blame you if you don’t want to) or check out the ones you missed right here.

And for a full look at all the marketers that aired national spots in Super Bowl LV, check out our Super Bowl ad chart.That’s it for our final edition of Super Bowl Alert in 2021. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well.

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