Ah… the Super Bowl. Quality football, tasty snacks and commercials.
Lots and lots of commercials.
Even in a year when major companies like Budweiser, Coke and Pepsi pulled their ads, many businesses — from Jeep to TikTok — spent an estimated $5.5 million for every 30 seconds of air time.
Ranging from hilarious to heartbreaking, these advertisements came in an array of genres, as companies did their best to make a lasting impression on the 96.4 million people watching the Big Game.
Some were successful; others were not. All featured elaborate stunts, big-name celebrities and major budgets.
But with that in mind, what better way to recap last night than by highlighting the game’s best commercials?
T-Mobile, ft. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski
First, a little backstory.
T-Mobile shot three ads ahead of the Super Bowl. It had planned on running two of them. But the company was told it couldn’t run this one because of a protected rights deal with Verizon — the NFL’s official telco sponsor.
So this ad never actually aired during the Big Game. It only ran on YouTube, to the tune of more than 33 million viewers.
For those wondering how Tom Brady made the decision to join Tampa Bay, T-Mobile has an interesting theory that is sure to bring out a laugh.
Due to a bad connection (from a provider that is clearly not T-Mobile), Brady mistakes former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski’s encouragement to retire as a taunt to come play for Tampa Bay, leading to the reunion of the two.
NFL, ft. Russ Hutchison
Would it really be the Super Bowl if there wasn’t a commercial starring the trophy’s namesake?
Featuring a virtual-reality portrayal of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, the NFL treated viewers to a montage of football players and everyday people from around the world playing catch over the sound of Lombardi’s famous “As One” comeback speech.
The commercial even displayed front-line medical workers and families spending time together.
With actor Russ Hutchison acting as Lombardi, the ad aimed to show how football can bring people together.
Throughout the ad, it is clear that the half-century-old speech is more timely than ever, reminding folks that they can do anything they set their minds to and acting as a beacon of hope that things will only get better.
Cheetos, ft. Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher
This ad features a surprising Cheetos-inspired rendition of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”, where the musician teaches Family Guy star Mila Kunis how to get away with eating the bag of Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix that belongs to her boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher.
What ensues is a cute and funny montage of Kunis mastering her new craft, much to Shaggy’s approval.
Reddit’s commercial was one of the most publicized ads on Sunday night, after the company treated viewers to a five-second clip.
Many people missed it, but those who caught the ad found something thought-provoking and inspiring.
“If you’re reading this, it means our bet paid off,” the producers wrote in the clip. “Big game spots are expensive, so we couldn’t buy a full one. But we were inspired and decided to spend our entire marketing budget on five seconds of airtime.”
Blink and you’d miss it, viewers were treated to a short paragraph about how Reddit has learned that “underdogs can accomplish just about anything when they come together around a common idea.”
In a year that has seen Reddit prop up GameStop and alter the landscape of the stock market, the company eagerly — albeit quickly — displayed its hopes for a brighter future.
Alex Falter is the assistant arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com