Industry insiders share their Super Bowl ad picks

Find out what these adland leaders have to say about this year's big game spots.

Jeep? Google? Facebook? Many spots aired during last night’s Super Bowl, but they weren’t all winners. 

Campaign US asked a variety of industry executives to give their hot takes on the best commercials of the big game. See their answers below. 

Andrew McKechnie, Chief Creative Officer, Verizon

Mountain Dew’s "As Good as the Original." Classic Super Bowl theatre with suspense, plot twist and iconic characters. Strong idea that pays off product proposition. And it has just the right level of insanity to make it stand out on the big stage

Tiffany R. Warren, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, Omnicom Group

Hyundai Sonata - Being from Boston I loved the use of our famous accent.

Google - Reminded us that AI can make our memories richer and more accurate 

Facebook - Started ADCOLOR as a Facebook group. I found my tribe of fellow diversity champions. 

Rocket Mortgage - Made me laugh out loud. Really hit the message of finding your home in every sense of the word.

Shayne Millington, EVP Global Exec Creative Director,McCann

Jeep’s "Groundhog Day"

I thought it was a terrific use of culture on many levels and yet it was a product demonstration. The production value was great, every joke landed. Everyone has gotten this brief to do something for Groundhog Day and they did it brilliantly

Craig Elimeliah, Executive Director of Experience, VMLY&R

If I have to pick one spot that felt big, contextual, strategic, creative and had "game day" entertainment value it would have to be Jeep’s Groundhog Day.

It checked all of the boxes a SB spot should check.

It didn’t take itself too seriously nor did it try and save the world.

It wasn’t trying to mask itself as a sequel, or something that was bigger than it is, it simply played right into our love for nostalgia and all things Bill Murray.

It didn’t overpromise and under deliver, nor did it try and co-opt any sort of culture that Jeep had no business co-opting.That is why I give it my nod as the best spot from this year’s Super Bowl.

John Norman, CCO, Havas Chicago

McDonald’s’ ‘Famous Orders’ ad was one of my favorites out of the gate. It was smart, insightful and edited flawlessly. The best creative has a universal human truth; ‘Famous Orders’ is based on a global human truth that no matter if you love or love to hate McDonald’s, you have a favorite order."

Cheetos was a fun play on a product truth that everyone can relate to.

The Alexa spot ‘What do you think people did before Alexa?’ was so smart, and it fits well with Ellen DeGeneres’ humor and curious comedic reflection. The idea makes Alexa more human.

Google was my favorite. I’d explain why but I have to stop crying first.

All four of these spots have one thing in common: they all are clever creative solutions that put their products right in the middle of the story. The story and the product are intertwined. Well done!

Ian Kovalik, Founding Partner & Chief Creative Officer, Mekanism

It's challenging to create a multi-scene spot while keeping it simple, lovable and memorable. 'Groundhog Day' did just that. And it used the actual characters from the movie to commemorate not the Super Bowl, but Groundhog Day 2020. There's a planner somewhere who earned their Jeep Gladiator bonus - complete with groundhog option.

Sean McBride, CCO, Arnold, & Bre Rossetti, EVP, Strategy, Havas Media

We saw celebrities leading brands, instead of brands leading the charge. Sure, we’ve seen a few really good ideas—New York life, for example; but a lot of the big brands have been an assessment of who they signed. That can work when there is great alignment between the brand and the person, but too often it seems like we are letting celebs outshine ideas. Tomorrow people will talk about that Brady ad instead of that Hulu spot.

The positive is that this is advertising’s biggest stage—despite the ad avoiding, subscribing, distracted audience we covet. And tonight we have everyone’s attention. As an industry, it’s awesome that we can all celebrate the stage and that the conversation is bigger than just the ads. Diversity, empathy and change are front-and-center in our industry and in the advertising conversation, and that’s a good thing.

Estie Wassner, Art Director, Barker

The real issue behind killing off Mr. Peanut is that the creatives who hoped to produce a buzz-worthy moment forgot that the concept of death, can actually be quite unfunny. The death of NBA star Kobe Bryant left us all feeling a momentary glimpse of the excruciating pain of losing someone in an untimely way - and how simple things like a trip to the grocery store, folding the laundry or even a ‘silly’ TV commercial can disrupt and interrupt the healing process. Always test your jokes out on the people you are most worried about offending before moving ahead with them.

The Olay ad felt like it was written by a man. I love a female empowerment theme as much as the next woman, but this felt forced for face cream. It is like someone in the room yelled, "female lead characters tend to score higher" and someone jotted up a random list of favorites onto a spare napkin. I didn’t connect to the brand or product and it felt disjointed. Bigger props to a brand that launched a spot that feels more strategically sound; SodaStream returns to the Super Bowl with an entertaining space quest that puts their fresh water front and center while shining a spotlight on environmental issues. A trip to space I WILL remember. 

Winston Binch, Chief Brand & Experience Officer, Gale & Partners

Groundhog Day is an obvious pick, but I also loved the unexpected simplicity of the "Hulu has Live Sports" ad with Tom Brady.  Earlier in the week, Brady released a cryptic image on Instagram of himself in a dark stadium tunnel. Many speculated that it was a prelude to him announcing that he was leaving the Patriots or retiring. It fueled fan debate but also served as the perfect set up. If you’re a big football fan, it got your attention immediately. More so than most of the ads, it was relevant to the game and one of the most memorable. Most ads try to do too much. Hulu kept it simple and used the sport’s biggest star in a super creative and effective way. 

Chris Beresford-Hill, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA/Chiat/Day NY

Favorite ad: "Groundhog Day" by Jeep.

Every creative has presented 50 ideas starring Bill Murray -- he must have been drawn by storyboard artists five million times and lives in 50,000 keynote decks. No one can ever get him. But they did. Hats off! 

Nathan Frank, Head of Brand Development, Interesting Development

Favorite ad: Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage: "Comfortable." The Super Bowl is a place where muscle-y people enjoy talking to you about what it takes to be strong and confident, so watching a ridiculously beautiful Jason Momoa walk into his rich person home with a self-satisfied smile on his handsome face perfectly lolls you into a sense of security, before systematically removing it from you in the course of the 60-second ad, leaving you with the weird kind of uncomfortable feeling that only the best ads give you. If you watched the ad with your eyes closed, you wouldn’t have known there was a joke at all. Jason Momoa doesn’t say anything funny at all. This self-discipline and focus on a single-joke is almost impossible to achieve, especially in the context of a Super Bowl ad where everybody wants the comedy to come at you from all angles.

Steve Parker, Jr., CEO and Co-Founder, Levelwing

Heartfelt and Human: The brands that stood out this year were tuned into the psyche of humankind. The past 12 months have been a deluge of concerning news spanning politics, health and human behavior. This wears on us all, and sometimes we need a pick me up and a positive reminder of what life could be like. These brands nailed that.

Budweiser’s "Typical American" spot is so damn good. It’s an ad focused on what each of us can bring to society and achieve when our best selves are presented, whether it is in our job, a competition, a reunion, standing up for what we believe in or helping a stranger.

Kia’s ad with NFL rookie Josh Jacob’s talking to his younger self is a beautiful reflection of what we can overcome and accomplish in our lives if we give it everything.

Google’s spot has us all wanting to know Loretta. She seemed to have a beautiful life and partner and the spot serves as a reminder of what truly matters. Also, it highlights that perhaps technology can help improve our lives as well, if and when we use it in a purposeful and meaningful way.

Dan Lucey, Executive Creative Direactor, JOAN Creative

All the celebrity laden ads started to blend together, so when the Google Loretta film appeared, it really stood out. It also never hurts to have :90 to tell a story. 

Rose Odeh, CMO and Co-Founder, Optimist 

I felt that too many brands leaned too far into celebrity and not enough into human and emotional connections. With that said, I felt that Loretta, Googles Super Bowl Commercial, took us on an emotional journey sharing a story that connected a human experience through  product and technology.  

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