The Touchdown And Tone-deaf Ads From Super Bowl LIV

By: Sierra Unsworth | February 3, 2020

When it comes to the Super Bowl, there are two types of people — passionate football fans and those who only watch for the commercials, snacks, and halftime show. Here at Aimtal, we are definitely the latter audience.

Each year, brands spend millions of dollars for the chance to run their ad(s) during the Super Bowl. For Super Bowl LIV, the going rate was $5.6 million for every 30 seconds. With a spend that big, you’d think we should see only the best of the best in advertisement, right? Think again.

The Aimtal team hand-picked the ads we thought were touchdowns — and the ads that were completely tone-deaf.

The Touchdown Ads of 2020

Google: “Loretta”

This ad certainly tugged at the heartstrings. Google showcases the features of the Google Assistant through a monologue of a man reminiscing about his beloved wife while starting to lose his memory. We rate this a solid 10/10 for execution and tear-factor.

Hyundai: “Smaht Pahk”

As a Boston-based agency, we love a good hometown tribute. Stacked with Boston-born celebrities impersonating the city’s notorious accent, this ad had the perfect combination of humor and lightheartedness while still keeping the focus on the product.

One tip that could’ve made it even better: a bit more localization. Anyone who Dorchester actually refers to the neighborhood “Dot”, and you can’t park in the Harbor (although we’re sure some people have tried).

Amazon: “Before Alexa”

Who doesn’t love Ellen? With great celebrity appearances (Ellen’s wife, Portia de Rossi, was also featured in the commercial), a strong concept, and a hilarious execution, this ad definitely made it to the endzone. Amazon is changing our present and future with its products and services so the ad served as a funny and relatable way to explain how far humans have come with technology innovation and advancement.

Planters: “Baby Nut”

We have mixed feelings about this ad, but we’re counting it as an overall touchdown. When Planters announced the death of Mr. Peanut in advance of the Super Bowl, I said, “If your mascot is so well-known that you have to kill it off, is it really a good idea?”

As it turns out, it was more of a rebirth than a death. This calculated PR stunt paid off, resulting in a massive online conversation about #babynut — including a live stream of the nut playing in a nursery which sparked the immediate creation of hilarious memes, and countless impersonation accounts.

The use of the #BabyNut hashtag was a bold move by Planters and it could have easily gotten out of hand, especially with Twitter trolls, but maybe they’re rolling with the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” mentality.


The Ads That Should’ve Sat On The Sidelines

Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold: “6 for 6-pack”

It only took Twitter approximately 30 seconds to start tearing this ad apart. Adweek quickly calculated that every single American would have to buy a six-pack every single day for the next 54.5 years to convert all the farmland in the United States. Anheuser-Busch took a $10 million risk with this commercial, and it did not pay off. This is an important reminder for brands to do their due diligence (and math) before creating a lofty brand promise.

Snickers: “Fix the World”

In the words of Marketing Coordinator Mollie Kane, “Fixing the world with a Snickers bar feels like when Pepsi tried to end world conflict by having Kendall Jenner hand out Pepsi at a hate rally.” While trying to point out all the problems of the world, Snickers single-handedly insulted a wide variety of people — and something tells us that giving those people a Snickers bar won’t suddenly make them feel better 🤦‍♀️

Hulu: “Tom Brady’s Big Announcement”

While Tom Brady definitely grabbed everyone’s attention with his dramatic opener, does anyone actually remember what brand this ad was for? The 45-second spot had almost nothing to do with Hulu, except for one tiny mention which could have easily been missed by any Patriots fan too busy having a panic attack as Brady deceitfully stated “all good things must come to an end.” Also, the Hulu team had a huge opportunity for Tom Brady to say “I’m cutting the TV cord thanks to Hulu” instead of going into a weird explanation of its features that he read off of a script.

What were your favorite Super Bowl LIV ads? Tell us on Twitter at @aimtal_co!