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Key Themes in Super Bowl LV Advertising

Though many of us stayed home this year, excitement for the Super Bowl was as present as ever! As a market researcher who partners with advertising agencies day-to-day, Superbowl ads are something I look forward.

In a recent study, 55% of consumers indicated their main reason for watching ads is ”for a laugh.” This is understandable especially considering the year we’ve all experienced, and many ads achieved this.

However, it’s important to note Super Bowl ad space has been a platform for many brands to share their values and this year was no different.

In fact, because so many events took place this past year, it may be a good idea to focus on themes that jumped to the forefront. Here are just a handful of ads grouped into prominent themes:

*Brands listed alphabetically within each theme

Sustainability and the Environment:

From agricultural practices, reducing food waste, and taking important steps for the future of the planet, these brands introduced their views on sustainable practices and protecting the environment:

Chipotle “Can a Burrito Change the World?”

GM “No Way, Norway” (Honorable Mention: Audi Norge’s response)

Hellman’s “Fairy God-Mayo”

Supporting Local Businesses:

Delivery services took the opportunity to highlight their services that support local businesses:

Door Dash “The Neighborhood”

Uber Eats “Wayne’s World & Cardi B’s Shameless Manipulation”

Connectedness and Unity:

Some brands emphasized the beauty and need for connection and unity at a time when people are literally and figuratively separated:

Anheuser-Busch “Let’s Grab A Beer”

Jeep “The Middle”

Representation:

From a diverse group of celebrities (Tracy Morgan, Awkwafina, Cardi B, Dan Levy, and Michael B. Jordan), a Paralympic athlete (Jessica Long in Toyota’s ad), to the realities and interests of everyday Americans (e.g., Huggies, Indeed, Verizon, Anheuser-Busch, etc.), representation was an understated but important theme. As someone who has felt more seen by brands these past few years (shoutout to Etsy’s holiday ad!), this is a welcome trend I hope to see in the months and years to come. 😊

What were your favorite Super Bowl ads this year? Did you see any other important themes and trends? Let us know in the comments!

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