Watch: The top 5 Super Bowl ads you need to know about (for now)
Welcome to a live episode of the top 5 creative brand ideas you need to know about right now.
Ad Age's Creativity Editor Ann-Christine Diaz, Creativity Associate Editor Alexandra Jardine, Reporter Jessica Wohl and Executive Editor Judy Pollack look at some of the best Super Bowl ads we've seen (so far).
M&Ms: Come Together
Agency: BBDO New York
The M&M characters are Super Bowl regulars and have appeared in the game five times since 2012. They return again for 2021 alongside “Schitt’s Creek” actor Dan Levy in a spot that positions the candy as an “apology tool” for missteps and bad behavior—like intentionally kicking the seat of the plane passenger in front of you, calling someone a "Karen," unloading too much on the priest at confession and more. While the anthropomorphic candies are always charming and Levy’s always good for a laugh, what really shines are the clever script and perfectly timed comedy of the everyman “I’m sorrys.” M&Ms’ longtime agency BBDO was behind the spot, and Matt Aselton of Arts & Sciences directed.
Michelob Ultra: All-Star Cast
In January, Michelob Ultra debuted what it’s billing as the first national USDA-certified organic hard seltzer, so for the Super Bowl, it went all out with the celebrities. Sylvester Stallone and Lucy Liu flee from an explosion, Megan Fox poses on the red carpet, Don Cheadle lounges on a yacht, Serena Williams hustles on court, all while the inimitable Christopher Walken narrates. That is, until Don Cheadle—the real one—steps in to reveal that everything you’ve been seeing is fake—with the exception of Michelob Ultra hard seltzer, which is “as real as it tastes.” The spot was actually filled with celebrity lookalikes, and make sure to stick around till the very end to see just how far that idea goes. FCB was behind the ad, with direction by Calmatic of Prettybird.
Amazon: Alexa’s Body
Agency: Lucky Generals
Amazon will be using the Super Bowl to debut its latest Echo device, and it looks (and sounds) a lot like Michael B. Jordan. The “Creed” and “Black Panther” star, who also happens to be People Magazine’s 2020 Sexiest Man Alive, is the new Echo personified and gets way too much love from an Amazon engineer. In the Super Bowl, we’ve seen many a hot bod objectified over the years—female ones, so it’s about time the male-loving gaze got time in the spotlight too. Lucky Generals created the ad, and Hungry Man’s Wayne McClammy was on board to direct.
For its Big Game appearance, continuing its theme of bringing famous duos to the screen, Uber Eats resurrected classic “Saturday Night Live” skit “Wayne’s World,” and along with it, the famous pair Wayne and Garth. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey reprise their iconic roles as they unabashedly employ well-worn Super Bowl tropes—cute babies, subliminal messages and even shameless celebrities—there’ a cameo from none other than Cardi B. But it’s all to tout Uber Eats’ “Eat Local” platform. It encourages people to order from small business restaurants to help get them through the pandemic, while also highlighting the brand’s own initiative donating $20 million in aid to its local restaurant partners. The multiplatform push includes a two-and-a-half hour extended cut of the ad, which scrolls through a “credits list” of more than 100,000 Uber Eats restaurant partners, as Wayne and Garth make mischief in the background. The campaign was from The Special Group, and Guy Shelmerdine of Smuggler directed.
Next month, ViacomCBS will be debuting its new streaming service Paramount+, which will replace CBS All Access. And it’s getting the word out on the Super Bowl with an all-star cast partaking in a massive expedition. Stars including Sir Patrick Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Gayle King, and James Corden are joined by characters including Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Beavis and Butt-Head as they scale an icy peak—a real-world manifestation of Paramount’s snowy mountain logo. It’s a multi-film push that culminates on Game Day, when all come together in one big awkward dance party. The campaign was created out of Droga5, and David Shane of O Positive (who shares some of his musings and memories of directing for the game here).
That's it for the Top 5. Make sure to check out more of the best in brand creativity at Adage.com/Creativity.
Also, a quick reminder that the final deadline for the Ad Age A-List & Creativity Awards is March 2. We know you hustled last year, now it’s time to be recognized for it. Learn more at AdAge.com/aca2021.