This year’s Super Bowl ads ran the gamut from tame humor to ... tame messages about social causes.
After a divisive year, advertisers during the Big Game worked overtime to win over audiences with messages that entertained and strove not to offend. The slapstick humor and sexual innuendo that used to be commonplace during Super Bowl ad breaks were nowhere in sight.
Instead, Budweiser , as always the largest advertiser during the game, eschewed the usual puppies and Clydesdales to showcase employees that send water to places in need. Verizon showed people thanking first responders who saved them. And Tide tried to make people laugh (and perhaps forget about its Tide Pod problem ) with a humorous series of ads that starred “Stranger Things’” actor David Harbour.
“This is a year where people are feeling a little frayed around the edges because the divisive political environment on both sides,” said Kelly O’Keefe, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter. “They want to feel like there’s something still good in the world.”
While the Philadelphia Eagles bested the New England Patriots in a nailbiter on the field, advertisers were fighting a similar battle to win over the hearts and minds of viewers. It’s the largest live stage for advertising all year, so advertisers brought their A-game.
Budweiser — Stand By You
Amazon — Alexa Loses Her Voice
M&M's — Human
Tide — Bradshaw's Locked Out
Coca-Cola — The Wonder of Us
Universal Studios — Peyton Manning Vacation Quarterback
Doritos and Mountain Dew — Blaze vs. Ice
Lexus — Black Panther
Squarespace — Make It Happen
Bud Light — The Bud Knight
Pepsi — This is the Pepsi
Groupon — Who Wouldn't