In good times and bad, Super Bowl ads often reflect the mood of the country. And the mood this year is unlike any we’ve ever experienced – incredibly polarized and amplified by a global pandemic. As brands look to capitalize their $5.6-million-per-30-second investment, we asked CTPers what they’re expecting from this year’s crop and what approach they think brands should take.
Wait, there’s a game this year? Strange, it’s not on my Patriots schedule.
God knows we need a collective laugh right about now. But I think we’ll see more than a few brands that will put their purpose on display more than their product. I want a spot that makes my throat dry, gives me goosebumps and forces me to fight back tears. The brand that wins will tap into those emotions and remind us that we can like each other again. – Brian Heffron, Partner
I think it will be 50/50. I think half will embrace the challenge and take advantage of the unique circumstances of the time and make unique fun ads. The other half will be brand mission statement ads; they will be really well produced, but fall flat because they’re what we’ve been seeing for all of 2020.
There have been some rumors / leaks that indicate Doritos will run a ‘sequel’ to its Old Ranch Road spot from last year, showing that Doritos will stay in the game and on-brand with a light, humorous approach. And because of how big Super Bowl season is for Frito-Lay, we can expect to see more than one spot that promotes snacking. – Alison Spitaels, Senior Designer
I think we’re going to be seeing two extremes at the Super Bowl this year: tearjerkers calling for unity, addressing how ‘we’re all in this together,’ filled with stock footage, and the standard absurd ad going for an easy laugh and a trending twitter hashtag.
Personally, I think ads this year should approach them in a COVID-safe manner to show responsibility. They should lean heavily on animation, and there should be at least one PSA. The Under Armor work-out masks are fantastic – I’d love to see an ad of athletes doing awesome things… solo sport things… all while wearing a mask. – Carissa Ryan, Account Supervisor
The ads that become known as “duds” often earn that distinction due to failed attempts at humor. Given the times, I wonder whether there will be less humor this year and more compassion, including appreciation for our healthcare workers and first responders. My hope is that the success rate on humanity will be higher than with humor, and we’ll have more memorable ads this year than in the past. – Fred Conover, President
I’m hoping for humor, as we could all use a good laugh after the last 12 months. In the event a copywriter hasn’t reviewed 2021 banished words, I’m hoping the FCC will block any spot that uses the word unprecedented. – Andrea Lenig, VP, Media Director
I expect that – as we do each year – we’ll see a solid mix of ads that tug at the heartstrings and that take a more comedic tone. Regardless of the approach, I think one of the most important things advertisers need to push for in their messaging this year is authenticity. The relatability factor has always been important, but now more than ever people are seeking that sense of connection. If ads achieve that vibe, whether through comedy, emotion or inspiration, they’ll hit the mark. – Nikki Peters, Management Supervisor
*Approximate cost of a 30 second ad during the 2021 Super Bowl broadcast