From Springsteen to Scissorhands, we've got all your Super Bowl highlights: Monday Wake-Up Call
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So the Super Bowl is done for another year, following a 31-9 victory for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Kansas City Chiefs. And even though 2021 isn’t your typical year, the Super Bowl LV commercials still managed to entertain us, amuse us, divide us and spark plenty of online comment.
Ad Age’s Media Guy Simon Dumenco reviewed every single ad here in his own inimitable style. And he has an important message for the advertising community for managing to create these commercials during impossible times. Dumenco writes, “As far as we’re concerned, everyone in the advertising community who made it to the Super Bowl this year should get to go to Disney World (circa 2022 or 2023, or whenever you’re ready).” Hear, hear.
You can watch all of the 2021 Super Bowl ads here. For some more discussion of the creative, take a look at Creativity’s Top 5 review of its team’s favorites, livestreamed before the weekend. Below, catch up on a few of the commercials and stories that broke on game day or over the weekend.
Kept under wraps until late last week, one of the game’s most talked-about spots was Jeep’s ad “The Middle,” featuring Bruce Springsteen calling for a “ReUnited States of America.” (Dumenco gives it five stars in his review.)
Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz has the backstory to Springsteen’s appearance, which doesn’t include any of his famous songs. As he writes, it’s the culmination of Stellantis Chief Marketing Officer Oliver Francois having pursued The Boss for over a decade. Francois first approached Springsteen’s longtime manager and confidante Jon Landau some 10 years ago with an ad concept that would eventually become “Halftime in America,” the 2012 Super Bowl ad that ended up starring Clint Eastwood.
That was declined, as were subsequent requests to use Springsteen’s music. This time around, however, Springsteen agreed to the script for “The Middle.” Not only that, he filmed it at the last minute, on location in Nebraska—despite Francois even offering to let him do it from the comfort of his living room. “Bruce is not normally in for these kind of things, but when he is in, he is all in,” comments Francois.
After Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” reboot last year, General Motors’ ad for Cadillac gave new life to another Hollywood gem, Tim Burton’s 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands.” As Ann-Christine Diaz and E.J. Schultz write, the Super Bowl spot imagines a sequel in which Edward and his girlfriend Kim had a son named Edgar, who’s just like his dad. Winona Ryder reprises her role as Kim, while Edgar is played by Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”). No sign of Johnny Depp/Edward, however.
In the ad by Leo Burnett—beautifully directed by David Shane, taking care to pay homage to the original—Edgar suffers many of the same problems as his dad, but in the end he gets to drive a Cadillac Lyriq, sans blade hands, thanks to its Super Cruise function. The spot also gets the thumbs up (blades up?) from Tim Burton, who stated: “It's rare when a work you're proud of continues to live on and evolve with the times, even after 30 years.”
A contender for most topical ad of the night: Reddit reflected on its role in the GameStop share-buying saga in a spot that appeared in regional markets, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
However, as Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes, in true hacker fashion, the ad was only about five seconds long. It started briefly with cars racing across a desert, before cutting to the Reddit logo, and then there was a simple message, which viewers would have to pause to read, referencing the events of the past month and with insider nods to the Wall Street Bets community. “One thing that we learned from our communities last week is that underdogs can accomplish just about anything when they come together around a common idea,” it read.
Among the many newbies at this year’s Big Game, Swedish oat milk brand Oatly jumped into the Super Bowl in an attempt to raise its recognition among a U.S. audience. And there's a bit of a backstory here.
Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports that the brand did so with an ad that first ran in Sweden in 2014, and was promptly banned there after legal action from the dairy lobby. It shows Oatly CEO Toni Petersson singing a song called “Wow, no cow” as he stands in an oat field in Sweden playing an electric piano. Lyrics include: “It’s like milk, but made for humans.” It’s an odd one, but a bit of an earworm.
Other Super Bowl snippets
CBS All Access streaming had technical difficulties with its Super Bowl kickoff as some viewers trying to watch online were met with an error message at kickoff. The issue was resolved for most viewers, but the disruption “showed that the internet is not always the most reliable medium for big moments,” reports Ad Age’s Garett Sloane.
Audi’s Norway division responded to GM’s hating on Norway-themed ads with Will Ferrell, in a video starring Norwegian actor and “Game of Thrones” star Kristoffer Hivju. In it, he picks up a globe like the one Ferrell punched, saying, “You want to punch us in the face?” and ends with the message, “Don’t hate. Imitate.”
T-Mobile says its rejected Super Bowl commercial with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski was “definitely not a stunt, reports Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi. “I don't get Tom Brady and Gronk to do a Super Bowl ad and then don't run it in the game,” comments T-Mobile's senior VP brand and advertising, Peter DeLuca.
Revolving doors: Neil Heymann, global chief creative officer at Droga5, will be departing the agency to start a new venture with Publicis, writes Ann-Christine Diaz. Details of Heymann's new venture are not yet clear, and when asked about Heymann's role, a Publicis spokesperson declined to comment.
Building up talent: A coalition of 10 independent creative agencies has lined up behind BLAC (“Building Leaders and Creators), an internship program sponsored by Procter & Gamble that gives up-and-coming Black creatives a chance to break into the industry, writes Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft.
‘Ass feet’: Ryan Reynolds’ latest video through Maximum Effort sees him team up with David Beckham and Sean Combs/Diddy to drink a disgusting cocktail made from his Aviation Gin, Beckham’s Haig Club whisky and Combs’ DeLeón Tequila (all Diageo brands). Diddy’s verdict: It tastes like “ass feet.” The message? These guys aren’t professional mixologists, and that's why Diageo is supporting the bartending community in the ongoing pandemic with a $1 million donation. Watch it here.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well.
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