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Out With The Old, In With The New – Superbowl 2021 Ads


Whether you can recall laughing during Hyundai’s Smaht Pahk, dancing along to Dortios’ The Cool Ranch, or even shedding a tear as Google helped us all remember the best things about Loretta, it would be hard to forget just how impactful and memorable the Super Bowl ads of 2020 were. At an all-time high cost of $5.6 million per 30 second slot, brands were faced with the challenge of entertaining an expected 194 million eager viewers quickly and effectively. The content ranged from inspiring, emotional stories of typical Americans (Budweiser) and Katie Sowers (Microsoft), to lighthearted parodies like Mountain Dew’s spoof of The Shining and Jason Mamoa stripped down to his “natural self” in the Rocket Mortgage commercial (my personal favorite). A lot has happened since Super Bowl 2020 and brands have had a lot to think about when planning out their approach to this year’s event. With just a week until the big game, here are some trends and predictions to look for when it comes to Super Bowl advertising. 


Brands Opting Out


Usual headliners Pepsi and Budweiser will not have ads this year. Pepsi invested that money into their halftime show, while Budweiser reallocated the ad budget towards vaccine awareness initiatives. Between the two of them, $73 million was spent on their ads last year. Coke, who has laid off about 17% of employees globally, declined to run an ad. Olay, who ran Make Space for Women last year, will also be skipping out on a commercial this year. Hyundai, a Super Bowl regular, will not run anything in 2021. Luckily for them, the memorable scene of John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, and Chris Evans highlighting their “smaht pahk” feature may still have room in consumer minds today. Travel and hospitality companies will also keep quiet this year as lights remain dark in many hotel rooms and terminals across the country.


Newcomers to the Show


While demand for ad space is down, new players have the opportunity to fill the gap in programming with historically popular brands sitting this year out. This year, we can expect ads from brands like Mercari, DoorDash, and Vroom. Given the climate of the pandemic, it seems only appropriate for shopping and takeout apps to dominate our commercial breaks. The coveted 30-second time slots will cost advertisers $5.5 million this year. 


Celebrity Cameos


This year’s commercial lineup is said to include Amy Schumer for Hellman’s, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis for Cheetos, and Hamilton Star Daveed Diggs for DoorDash. Doritos also has a star-studded lineup for their ad highlighting 3D Crunch including Matthew McConaughey, Mindy Kaling, and Jimmy Kimmel.


During a time of uncertainty, political division, and just plain boredom, this year’s Super Bowl should be a time where brands can unveil messages of unity, inclusion, and comedic relief. Given it is another Tom Brady Super Bowl, some of us may be looking to the ads as reasons to keep watching and keep smiling next Sunday. 


Are you a Super Bowl ad-dict? Join us for our first-ever virtual Super Bowl Smackdown on Wednesday, February 10th. To find more information, check out the event here!