Welcome to VIA Studio’s Super Bowl 2021 Commercials Slack Thread. The following transcripts come from our company Slack channel. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
Nick Wunderlin: @here hey everyone! the game starts in about 40 minutes. Just a reminder of how this will work. I will be posting links to the commercials as they air, comments specific to a commercial please leave in a thread under the video. If you have any sort of more general observations or comments feel free to post them here in the channel. At the end of the game I will ask for favorites and final thoughts. I look forward to it!
Ben Wilson: Any predictions tonight? Not sporting but ad-wise? Things we will see / won't see, etc?
Nick: The ads are going to act like covid doesn't exist but will talk about how last year sucked
Ben: I tend to think they'll be aware of COVID - the McDs ad showed a worker with a mask behind a screen. But also I think they'll focus more on the future. Thinking back to 201? when Eminem showed up in a Chrysler ad
Nick: "Imported from Detroit" I believe was the ad!
Rockstar Energy | Spotlight
Nick: I wonder what percentage of Super Bowl viewers are able to recognize Lil Baby on his own?
Ben: Between you and me it’s probably 50%.
Nick: More that I would wager, I'd say probably closer to ~ 33%
Ben: So… the concept of Lil Baby as a “rockstar” spurred an interesting thought in me. For years (until the last decade) the Superbowl was essentially the “all American” (read: white) playground where they predominantly had acts like U2, The Rolling Stones The Who (remember that?). And here we have Lil Baby kicking off the Superbowl with The Weeknd at halftime. Not saying the NFL has had a true awakening, but the Superbowl and the NFL now isn’t what it was - and that’s a good thing. Big part of the reason that the NFL is essentially “Americas Pasttime” now, I think.
Nick: 100% agree
Ben: Can we talk about the Superbowl logo for a sec? This is Superbowl 55 right?
Nick: 55 is correct
Ben: Yeah that logo says 54. Sam pointed this out to me. L I V = 54
Nick: Naw just bad design
Ben: I'm sticking with my take on the Superbowl logo.
Chelsea: My mom and I just had the same conversation. It looks like 54...
M&M’S | Come Together
Nick: SNL last night, Super Bowl ad today... Dan Levy is so hot right now.
Ben: This is a perfect nod to 2020.
Ben: Also - can we talk about the lowkey yet consistent laughs about the fact that we murder-eat M&Ms. That’s dark (chocolate).
Nick: A move they've been sneakily doing for years too
Logitech | Defy Logic
Ben: TIL Logitech still exists.
Paramount+ Expedition | Sweet Victory
Nick: All these streaming apps... where does it end?
Doordash | The Neighborhood
Ben: Sesame Street and Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs? I’m buying that like GameSpot. Culturally and thematically relevant people, concept and ideas. Feels right, just like Sesame Street. Maybe too right for Superbowl?
Doritos 3D | Flat Matthew
Nick: I actually liked that one. Having fun with the whole 2D v 3D idea. Fun payoff getting stuck in the vending machine. PLus its matthew mcconaughey
Ben: The inside of McConaughey's Lincoln must be a sight between the Doritos and Bourbon
Ben: That had a lot of stuff that made me happy but now after the fact I feel weird and am wondering what the cost of it was.
So: perfectly on brand and a perfect metaphor for Doritos
General Motors | No Way Norway
Ben: I guess now that the USA is the underdog we can “punch up” on Norway, huh? This is actually big news, and I appreciate they are giving air to it because GM going electric will have a big impact on others. Though… let’s not forget that GM fought against this for years. Charitably, this is a nice about-face.
Nick: The followed it up with an electric Cadillac ad too
Ben: Still not into buying a Big 3 car. Their interiors are just SO BAD. A UX nightmare.
Bud Light | Bud Light Legends
Nick: Been a while since we had an Avengers movie I guess. Typical Bud Light commercial, fun and purely awareness... like they need it
Ben: Your Avengers take is spot on.
Chipotle | Can a Burrito Change the World?
Nick: Good job on being eco-friendly Chipotle, but there’s no way that kid can eat that entire burrito...
Nick: Good job presenting brand values clearly and unambiguously though
Ben: I heard transportation and immediately thought about Pete Buttigieg. I'm sure he's stoked.
It definitely hits all the “feel good” performance notes you expect from a Superbowl “responsibility” ad… water, solar… and then “make farmers happier?”
Dexcom | Official Big Game Commercial 2021 with Nick Jonas
Ben: Delightfully subversive in the middle of all of the self-driving car ads. Definite “I was promised flying cars!” energy and I’m here for that, now and forever.
Indeed | The Rising
Nick: Appropriate commercial for a job recruiting site given the current economic outlook. Soft touch and showed the power the platform has in changing users' lives.
Alex: Wholesome. I like it.
Mountain Dew | “MTN DEW MAJOR MELON Bottle Count” w/ John Cena
Ben: I thought this was pretty clever. It’s definitely going to blow up their Twitter and likely have longer legs than most ads.
Nick: That seems like the real play now... Something that will stay in people's timelines.
State Farm | Drake from State Farm
Nick: As much as I dislike the new Jake from State Farm and Drake, I did like that spot
Nick: A-List celebs can still make a so-so concept work
Scotts & Miracle-Gro | Keep Growing
Nick: There’s always at least one Super Bowl ad that forgoes originality or story telling believing that jamming as many recognizable faces into one ad is the right strategy.
Ben: They did get right to a real thing, which is many people saw more of their backyard this year than ever before.
WeatherTech | Family
Nick: Quintessential "American made" and "I love my employer" spot we get each year
Ben: Anyone who's a notable absence so far @Nick? I'm not seeing the social media / startup world...
Nick: Spoiler Warning: I'm waiting for this Robin Hood spot to air (Editor's Note: It didn't)
Toyota | Jessica Long's Story
Nick: Toyota stays going for the emotional home run commercial each year
Ben: Also just a great concept! The Olympics are an easy sell but to pair it with that *chef's kiss*
TurboTax | Spreading Tax Expertise Across The Land
Ben: Tax ads at the Super Bowl are the saltine crackers of ads. On their own they are forgettable, but if you don’t have them with the chili… it’s not right.
Nick: Amazing analogy!
Tide | The Jason Alexander Hoodie
Nick: Alright this one is my favorite!
Ben: Jason Alexander's digitally altered face yelling "give me back my face" is very 2021.
Nick: A bit... on the nose? ;)
Ben: What's the math on a "great" Superbowl commercial? Celebrity? Comedy? Emotion? Largesse?
Dr. Squatch | Dr. Squatch Is for Real Men
Nick: "Dr. Squatch" just kinda sounds gross
Alex: Yeaahh I asked Ethan if he would consider purchasing and it was a hard no
Ben: Yet - this is somehow the least-offensive men’s hygiene brand out there. Most of them feel like a coked-out Nick Offerman. Can I just get some sandalwood and leave the military out of it?
Vroom | Dealership Pain
Nick: That torture scene felt a bit much for the Super Bowl
Ben: And yet… this is exactly how I feel when I think about having to go to a car dealership.While this won’t make me many friends in the automatic - cars are a commodity.
Nick: Very true, but I hate the second guessing leaving the lot more than dealing with the salesperson
Ben: Is it just me or are they using the Zoom "blur my background" effect to hide the crowd?
Nick: My Google Meet crew were just saying the same thing. I believe they have 20-25% capacity for this game
Uber Eats | Wayne's World & Cardi B's Shameless Manipulation
Nick: This might be too soon, but I believe Cardi B has dethroned Brittney Spears as the Queen of Super Bowl commercials
Ben: Somewhere Tia Carrera is mad.
Nick: Full disclosure, I had to Google "Tia Carrera"
Ben: Correlation between “I know who Lil Baby is” and “I know what Wayne’s World is” is very low. Thankfully, Queen Cardi B is here to pull these audiences together.
Nick: The ad is called "Wayne's World & Cardi B's Shameless Manipulation" another shameless manipulation is how much Uber Eats charges independent restaurants to use their service
Hellmann’s | Fairy Godmayo
Ben: Mayo is back! Amy Schumer is back! I can’t wait for her bit about this ad.
Fiverr | Opportunity Knocks
Nick: FOUR SEASONS TOTAL LANDSCAPING!!!
Ben: Did Four Seasons get paid for this? Will we get paid if Fiverr succeeds? Regardless, this is the “OMG” ad I was hoping to see tonight.
Nick: Fiverr is the leading contender to be this year's Quibi (edited)
Ben: Too soon.
Cheetos | It Wasn’t Me
Nick: Cheetos essentially ran back last year’s super bowl ad but with Shaggy in place of MC Hammer
Ben: “I saw your prints in McConaughey’s Lincoln”
Ben: This is a real problem, though.
Squarespace | 5 to 9
Nick: I like the execution but the idea of celebrating people having to work 2 jobs seems a bit off for me
Ben: Ah, the romantic notion of the “sidehustle” slash “passion project”.
Chelsea: I agree, but also... Dolly!!!!
Ben: Too little Dolly!
Nick: Yes MORE Dolly!
Ben: I will also accept a Dionne Warwick cameo.
Cadillac | ScissorHandsFree
Ben: Early 90s movies are really on display tonight… Silence of the Lambs, Wayne’s World, Edward Scissorhands.
Ben: Part of me was a little excited - but then I realized this was a Cadillac ad and … well, 13 year old me thinks that’s just not rad.
Nick: Timothee Chalamet being in a Super Bowl ad this year makes too much sense
Let's Grab a Beer | Anheuser-Busch
Nick: Seems like Anheuser-Busch’s plan each year is to have fun with their subsidiary brand spots and then use the parent brand spot for an emotional appeal
Jeep | The Middle
Chelsea: This felt like the Pete Buttigieg of commercials... not a fan.
Ben: Definitely the most cringe-worthy ad of the night. Too much, too soon. But then again, I’m not Jeep’s audience. So maybe it works?
Ben: Also - Chelsea don’t you put this on Mayor Pete!
Chelsea: If Jeep really wanted to reach the nation, they should've gone with Dolly.
Nick: Even as a massive Bruce Springsteen Stan I gotta agree with this statement
Ben: Felt like Jeep crawling back to the center, IMHO.
Klarna | The Four Quarter-Sized Cowboys
Nick: This service seems like a bad idea to me... big potential for dangerous TOS
Amazon | Alexa’s Body
Nick: And the award for the horniest ad from this year’s super bowl goes to Amazon!
Ben: The sprinkler scene had me yelling “Daaaamn!”
Ben: This is also the plot of Her with Joaquin Phoenix. I’m a big fan. …and also I’m into Michael B. Jordan, so this is nice.
But also… this is how the Matrix / the Terminator starts so… Michael B. Jordan I’m watching you…
Nick: Alright it's that time, what was everyone's favorite ad?
Nick: I am going to go with the Tide's Jason Alexander Hoodie. It wasn't trying to address "the times", but instead was just a fun, surreal ad that made you pay attention and was genuinely funny. Tide has done well with Super Bowl commercials over the past few years.
Ben: If pressed I'd have to go with GM's "No Way Norway". Not only is making an electric commitment a big shift and a real gauntlet being thrown but the ad itself was engaging, fun and a bit self deprecating. Also, Will Ferrell doing his best dumb Will Ferrell.
Ben: If I had to bet, the Michael B Jordan Amazon ad will be the most talked about tomorrow for a number of reasons. Also likely stealing thunder from Fiverr's Four Season Total Landscaping - a reference which already feels like a million years ago.
Nick S: I liked the GM Norway ad - anytime you get Will Ferrell going "this place is adorable, dammit" I mean (edited)
Chelsea: I thought Squarespace’s ‘5 to 9’ idea was clever, despite the whole “live to work” vibe. Also, a little Dolly is always better than no Dolly.
Nick: My biggest let down was that there was no Darryl "The Hammer" Isaacs local ad spectacle
Ben: Good point! Notable omission.
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