However, we certainly felt the effects of the Pandemic with some major brands pulling out from this year’s advertising pool. The average scores across our study were the lowest we’ve ever seen for the Super Bowl. Brands played it safe and in some cases so safe that the ads didn't cut through or engage.
That being said, we still saw some world-class ads and some definite advertising winners, including some from first-time Super Bowl advertisers. Most of the ads build moments of joy, normalcy or escapism which was fitting given the year that was 2020. We also saw a lot of nostalgia via movies and music, celebrities and humour.
The top 5 most effective ads for the 2021 Super Bowl were Indeed, Doritos, NFL, Scotts & Miracle Grow and M&Ms.
The Rising took first place this year. The ad is likeable and engaging and people readily identify with it. Scored highly in casting, music and empathy. Huge congratulations to Indeed for their first Super Bowl ad.
#FlatMatthew was the second most effective ad. It was funny and relatable and supported by a star-studded cast (Kaling, Kimmel and McConaughey) and the famous Queen track. This ad was also lined up nicely with pre-Super Bowl teasers that helped drive engagement.
NFL - As One
NFL’s As One trailer reflected the mood and sentiment of the last year. The message is powerful and people readily identify with it. The ad scored highly in bonding, as well as casting and empathy. Although a very different tone from NFL’s previous ads, the brand created another star this year.
Scotts & Miracle-Gro
Keep Growing is a triple threat with great celebrities, music and humour. The combination made for a strong ad that was likeable and resonated with people. Scotts Miracle-Gro also launched a Tik Tok challenge with John Travolta and his daughter Ella E’s dance. This was the brand’s first time in the Super Bowl.
M&M's - Come Together
People liked this ad and felt M&Ms are a brand for them. The ad reminds us that small things can help us to come together. Dan Levy was also a popular inclusion, 70% of those who recognised him liked him and 83% thought he was a good fit for the brand. This ad scored well in bonding and relevance.