Oatly, Jeep, Toyota: What was your favorite Super Bowl ad?

PRSA Pittsburgh board members share their takes in a year filled with recurring themes.

By Stacey Federoff
Web Content Co-Chair

 

In an unusual year with some big-name brands sitting out the Big Game, the ones who chose to run spots during Super Bowl LV on Sunday night gave viewers plenty to talk about.

Thirty seconds of airtime went for up to $5.5 million this year to reach up to 100 million viewers, according to Wall Street Journal.

Most commercials featured celebrities with themes either heavily reliant on comedy and escapism or hopefulness and inspiration.

Just like last year, PRSA Pittsburgh board members weighed in on the commercials they thought stood out from the rest:

Uber Eats’  “Wayne’s World”

We saw A LOT of nostalgic content in the commercials this year. Nostalgia takes us back to memories that make us happy. As soon as I heard the Wayne’s World intro, I immediately got excited and was thrown back to memories of first watching Wayne’s World bits. Hopefully their eat local CTA is seriously helping local restaurants all around the country.

— Nicole Tobias, Renaissance Awards Co-Chair

Toyota’s Upstream

My favorite Super Bowl ad was Toyota’s spot featuring American Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long. I personally love emotional and wholesome ads, and Toyota’s was among my favorite of all time. The ad tugged at the heartstrings while simultaneously promoting their brand’s values of hope and strength. I also loved how the ad showed the importance of adoption and accepting and valuing a person’s differences.

— Taylor Fife, Diversity and Inclusion Chair


DoorDash’s The Neighborhood

There wasn’t a clear #brandbowl winner last night. There were several that rose above a generally weak crop of ads this year though. I thought Toyota’s Upstream was really well-done, and drove a ton of interest in Jessica Long and Toyota’s Olympic sponsorship. DoorDash’s The Neighborhood was the biggest hit of the night with my kids (“It’s Lafayette!!!”) and it really stood out compared to what UberEats did.

Anheuser-Busch’s “Let’s Grab a Beer” was the best spot to embrace the craziness of the last year, easily beating Cabela’s and Jeep. WeatherTech stayed true to their “Made in America” ad roots and it continued to resonate well here. Fiverr, eTrade, Amazon, and T-Mobile had the funniest spots of the night. Reddit created the most buzz with their five-second ad. And even though it wasn’t an official Super Bowl spot because it aired before the game, I really loved Proctor & Gamble’s #CloseTheChoreGap spot.

T-Mobile’s Rockstar

I’ll go with DoorDash’s The Neighborhood and T-Mobile’s Rockstar as my two favorite of the night because both felt big enough for the biggest stage, both told me something about their actual product and both were funny enough that they drove second screen searching/viewing. Rocket Mortgage’s two ads took the top two spots  on USA Today’s AdMeter which is more an indictment on the quality of the AdMeter than on the Rocket Mortgage ads. On the other end of the spectrum, we can all agree with the AdMeter that Oatly did indeed finish last.

— Steve Radick, Sponsorship Lead

 

Oatly’s Wow No Cow

But did Oatly really finish last? The ad was cringeworthy but the “Wow! No Cow!” tune sung off-key by the CEO certainly caught people’s attention. A t-shirt that proclaimed “I totally hated that commercial” sold out on their website in less than five minutes after the commercial aired, so people were paying attention.  If the purpose of their advertising was to create awareness and drive people to their site, then perhaps this odd ad was more genius than meets the eye. I don’t think it is any more out there than some of the odd, funny ads we have seen in the past (Can you say frogs chanting “Bud-wei-ser”?). It will be interesting to see how Oatly’s sales fare after this crazy and weird advertising stunt.

— Camille Downing, Student Liaison

 

Jeep’s The Middle

We saw an excellent bundle of ads calling for peace, unity, and United States empowerment from big brands like WeatherTech floor liners and Jeep — my favorite of the two.

Other than comedy gold from Will Farrel (General Motors), Amy Schumer (Hellmann’s mayo), and Tracy Morgan (Rocket Mortgage), there were just too many failed ads.

My honorable mentions go to Mountain Dew and E-Trade. John Cena starred in a flamboyant, straight-to-the-point ad with the kind of tropes that made me remember paradise for just a moment. It was an eye-catching contest promotion with a simple call to action — count how many bottles of Mountain Dew fell out of the trunk and enter to win on Twitter.
As for the E-Trade commercial, did anyone else relate to the boy in his garage bulking up? I sure did.
— Josh Porterfield, Graphic Design Lead

State Farm’s Drake from State Farm

My top 3 were Reddit for the creativity, State Farm for the hilarity of the guest cameos (you can never go wrong with Paul Rudd and Drake from State Farm made me laugh out loud!) and I am in the minority here, but Oatly for the weirdness that got everyone talking. It was clever to me to advertise oak milk surrounding your “typical” Super Bowl staples — beer, chips, etc. And that goofy song and low budget look was memorable, and that to me worked.

— Deanna Tomaselli, Young Professionals Co-Chair

 

Paramount+’s Expedition

I liked the Oatly ad! One of the only spots I enjoyed this year, to be honest. It gave the CEO personality, makes you want to like the company, and for someone who doesn’t drink regular cow milk, it felt on brand. People are still talking about it, which is great!

The celebrities in plenty of commercials really dulled the content for me because I viewed it as they were there to get that quick pandemic dollar! Not judging, but it felt that way. Maybe it’s just cause we’re in this specific environment right now. But I will say Paramount+ felt more realistic with the celebrities than the rest. And the Millennial in me got hype at the Jersey Shore reference.

Oh and shoutout to H.E.R. for her rendition of America The Beautiful. That guitar solo was killer. She’s half-Filipino like me, too!

In terms of the game … uh, good for the Bucs, I guess. If only the Steelers were there …

— Alex Grubbs, Multimedia Lead

 

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