Leading up to the 2021 Super Bowl, the advertising world was abuzz about the revolutionary approach brands were taking for the big game. There’s been a dramatic shift in priorities throughout the country since Super Bowl 2020, and that “new normal” includes millions without work, constant worry about the health of loved ones and remembering the ones we’ve lost. This change in culture has caused a ripple effect that’s felt from local stores to major conglomerates. Brands have needed to shift their priorities not only to stay relevant but to truly provide the goods and services the world needs right now.
Dixon Schwabl Chief Creative Officer Mark Stone explains: “2020 was a disrupter of a year, and the unpredictability will continue well into 2021. Just as every person on the planet has had to adapt, brands were also forced pivot to remain relevant when people are changing their behavior so drastically. They’ve had to adjust their marketing to the nearly constant change and have to continue to adapt in near real time to remain viable.” And the outcome of all of that was front and center during the Super Bowl.
This shift was apparent with brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Budweiser, who decided to put their advertising funds toward COVID-19 relief instead of the Super Bowl this year. This allowed others to step into the spotlight with a message of hope and drive a sense of community in our country. Whether companies were using celebrity endorsements or good old-fashioned emotional branding to gain audience trust, almost every commercial provided a sense of inclusion and togetherness that was needed after a year of chaos.
With that background on this year’s Super Bowl ads, here’s Dixon Schwab’s consensus on a few of the most popular from 2021:
In today’s ever-changing environment, brands have proven that they can be pliable and adapt to the times. Critics will argue that advertising is for the faint of heart. Others will understand that advertisers establish a much-needed emotional connection to the companies that provide for and serve us. If this is the direction brands are heading in for the upcoming year, we support it. Like the actual scoreboard, the advertising game for Super Bowl LV was a blowout.
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