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Which commercials were Super Bowl stand-outs? PRSA Pittsburgh board members weigh in

By Stacey Federoff
Web Content Manager


Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV on Sunday night – but on to the more important part of the annual football spectacle: Commercials.

The NFL’s “Big Game” draws an audience of more than 100 million people, with Fox Corp. charging as much as $5.6 million for 30 seconds, according to the Wall Street Journal’s review of the ads.

Nostalgia and humor were major themes – prominent in spots from the likes of Walmart, Cheetos and Mountain Dew – as AdWeek and Ad Age both noted in their round-ups of the commercials.

USAToday’s Ad Meter rated the two presidential campaign ads from Democrat Michael Bloomberg and President Donald Trump that aired during the game with the lowest scores, along with Pop Tart’s “Fixed The Pretzel” spot.

PRSA Pittsburgh board members shared which commercials they thought stood out from the rest, and there were some clear favorites:

Google’s “Loretta”

 

It was a simple, moving way to demonstrate how their voice search works. 

Dan Ayer, vice president

I think Google did a great job with showcasing an illness and turning it into a sentimental moment with the power of technology. It definitely was a heart-wrenching segment to watch, but Google’s concept was one that caught everyone’s attention as soon as it aired.

Mallory Manz, programming co-chair

I loved this commercial because of its emotional impact. The man in the commercial was suffering from memory loss and used his phone to help keep the memory of his wife Loretta alive. I believe Google’s ad showed the benefits of AI but did it in an intimate and touching way to help make the concept relatable to the average consumer, especially older consumers. The ad also helped to show the different functionalities of AI and how it doesn’t need to be something we are afraid of but instead can help us when we cannot help ourselves.

Taylor Fife, social media co-chair

Google recently dealt with some major reputational blows due to news of its not-so-great internal culture. Tech brands at large aren’t regarded as particularly likeable, relatable or human. Google seemed to challenge those notions with their Super Bowl commercial “Loretta”. They turned the product into a long-term friend for an aging man. It made me cry, even as a major skeptic of their company. It was just a very smart position for the brand, especially if they have sights on the senior market with the upcoming “Silver Tsunami.” I’m in the senior living industry and can tell you this got a lot of buzz in my circle.

Morgan McCoy, Renaissance Awards co-chair


Hyundai’s “Smaht Pahk”

One of my favorite ads was the Hyundai “Smaht Pahk” ad. I thought it was clever and funny, plus really nailed the message of the feature of the car. I think the brand did a nice job engaging on Twitter before and after it aired, too. Where they fell short though, was they didn’t have much going on on Instagram and TikTok. When I looked, they had no stories or current posts (it was from earlier in the day), so I think they could have created longer conversations if they extended it into other social channels, because that’s where people are also engaging during the game.

Deanna Tomaselli, young professionals co-chair

Jeep’s “Groundhog Day”

This year, I noticed a lot of the ads used celebrities as influencers. While some of them were funny, they missed the mark because the underlying “so what” was missing. Two ads stuck out to me: Google’s “Loretta” commercial with its heart-warming story about an elderly man trying to remember his wife, and Bill Murray and Jeep’s Groundhog Day commercial — but that might just be because I’m a big fan of Bill Murray!

Robin Rectenwald, secretary

One of my favorites was Jeep’s  Groundhog Day commercial. It was super timely since it aired on Groundhog Day, and memorable because of its humor and pull from a movie many people are familiar with. Due to the movie sequence, it had a classic, familiar face and showed how the product made a huge difference in Bill’s everyday life – (nothing is worse than trying to copy something without having the original person, am I right?!) He had a huge smile on his face getting up every day at 6 a.m. to face that #JeepLife! They teased it on social, so they were able to stretch their content over a few days and start their conversation early, which may or may not have drawn in viewers to check out their full-length commercial.

Kariann Mano, member services chair

BONUS: Jeep posted a longer “Director’s Cut” version on YouTube

Cheetos’ “Can’t Touch This”

 

I loved the Cheetos “Can’t Touch This” commercial. It’s been years since Cheetos has debuted a Super Bowl commercial and this year was perfect timing with it being the 30th anniversary of “U Can’t Touch This”. It was hilarious and clever to mix the product’s universally known “Cheetos fingers” (which Cheetos executives recently announced is officially referred to as “cheetle”) dilemma with M.C. Hammer’s catchy ’80s hit. It was fun, catchy, relatable and (dare I say it?!) cheesy in the best way.

Ashley Jones, communications chair

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For even more discussion from Pittsburghers about the Super Bowl commercials, Steve Radick, sponsorship lead, served as a guest on the Pittsburgh Current’s podcast, which you can listen to via audio platforms or as a YouTube video.

He calls Post Malone’s appearance in Bud Light Seltzer’s ad “delightfully self-aware” and talks with Bethany Ruhe, associate publisher and co-founder at the alt-weekly, about the best ads that bring together culture, product and insight.

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