Many brands opted for a lighthearted tone for their Super Bowl LV ads in an effort to offset the weight of the last year, enlisting the help of popular comedians and striking a chord of mindful optimism.
One of the most interesting takeaways from this year’s Super Bowl ads, however, was not what was said—but who was saying it. The lineup of this year’s advertisers was equally as noteworthy as the content, signaling a changing of the guard and offering an apt reflection of the current cultural climate.
Several heavy hitters were notably missing from the roster, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hyundai and Budweiser, whose advertisements have topped many of the “best of” Super Bowl ad lists. “For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser isn’t airing a commercial during the Super Bowl,” the brand revealed. “Instead, we’re redirecting our advertising dollars to support COVID-19 vaccines awareness and education.”
A swathe of newcomers attempted to fill the legacy advertisers’ shoes. Many first-time Super Bowl advertisers included career and financial management companies, offering support to those navigating a stalled job market and sluggish economy.
“Human beings are fatigued by the onslaught of what’s happened to us over the last 12 months, and there have been very few united-eyeball moments where we’ve been provided any relief from that,” said Eliza Yvette Esquivel, North America chief strategy officer at branding agency FutureBrand. Conscious of this collective cultural moment, brands and advertisers made the most of their time to draw attention to vital services, while offering emotional release and messages of support.
Focus on finance
This year’s spots reflected the nation’s collective desire for financial stability amidst stalling job markets and unsteady economies. Following a year marked by economic stagnancy and a departure from traditional working habits, ads from career platforms and financial companies took center stage.