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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Game Time

I've never been a big sports fan, but as a marketer, Super Bowl weekend -- where companies will spend millions of dollars to produce and air spectacular advertisements in the hopes of winning our hearts, minds, and wallets -- is one of my favourite weekends of the year.

I usually prefer to watch the Super Bowl ads for the first time during the Big Game itself -- it's the only part of the game I truly care about, actually -- but so that I had something to write about this week, I watched all the 2020 ads that have already been released online.

Here's a little of what you can expect on Sunday:

The Funnies

Lots (and lots) of companies use humour in their Super Bowl ads in an attempt to breakthrough... some more successfully than others. I laughed-out-loud at the Amazon, Hyundai, Little Caesar's, Reese Take 5, and Snickers commercials, but some other brands tried too hard. (I'm looking at you guys, TurboTax and Pop-Tarts.) Every Super Bowl in recent history has featured several "funnies", and this one will be no exception.

The Celebrity Sightings

Ellen Degeneres for Amazon. Chris Evans, John Krasinski, and Rachel Dratch for Hyundai. John Legend and Chrissy Teigan for Genesis. Lil Nas X for Doritos. Bryan Cranston for Mountain Dew, doing his best Jack Nicholson impersonation. These are just a few of the many celebrities starring in various Super Bowl spots this year. Some definitely worked better than others. (I've been thinking about it for hours, and I still don't understand the Audi spot featuring Maisie Williams singing a song from Disney's Frozen...)

The Tear-Jerkers / Emotional Ads

Some of the best emotional ads I've ever seen were introduced to the world as Super Bowl ads. This year, the Google ad and the New York Life ad are the ones you have to see. Americans will also likely applaud Budweiser's "Typical American" spot for the sense of national pride it tries to instill, but I couldn't relate. (And that's okay, because I'm clearly not the target audience here.)

The Woke Spots

Some companies choose to produce advertisements that encourage us to make the world a better place. These can range from the inspirational to the flat-out hypocritical. An example of the latter: Audi's 2017 Super Bowl spot, which tried to tell viewers that the German automaker was committed to gender equality in the workplace...