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Super Bowl LV: Lackluster Football Game Interrupts Memorable Ads

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Like many people across the U.S., the Retail TouchPoints editorial team looks forward to the Super Bowl for one main reason: the commercials! The team carries on our own little Super Bowl tradition by sharing our thoughts on the top ad spots of the night.

Nicole Silberstein, Ecommerce Editor: DoorDash’s Sesame Street-themed ode to local business struck just the right note — charming and warm, it highlighted the breadth of DoorDash’s services while subtly appealing to values-based consumers. With local businesses hit so hard by the pandemic, the choice to frame DoorDash as a facilitator of the Shop Local movement was clever and effective. Doubling down on the values appeal by donating $1 from every order placed on Feb. 7 and 8 to non-profit Sesame Workshop was exactly the kind of substantive action today’s consumers are looking for. Really though, with Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover and Hamilton alum Daveed Diggs, how could you go wrong?

Jessie Dowd, Senior Editor: GM’s electric car Super Bowl ad has all the makings of your classic Super Bowl ad: humor and parody, pop culture references and celebrity appearances — nothing “groundbreaking,” really. And as much as I love Will Ferrell and his well-timed punch through the globe, the real success lies in how GM has framed its electric cars as American, everyday, normal occurrences, as well as how the company is attempting to reframe itself by appealing to the consumer’s more sustainably-oriented mindset. By turning away from the typical images of electric cars being either exotic luxury machines like Tesla or dorky, granola-esque wagons like the Prius, GM is hoping to normalize and demystify the electric vehicle (EV) for the U.S. mass market. Add in a little competition (against Norway’s EV sales) and patriotism (does it get more American than Ferrell bellowing “Crush them!”? I think not.), mix in Kenan Thompson and Awkwafina, top it off with some physical comedy and a dash of expletives — and you have yourself a winning recipe.

Alicia Esposito, Director, Content + New Media: Super Bowl ads tend to fall into two main “teams” (pun intended): Those that are poignant, inspirational and speak to current events; and those that tickle our funny bones and tap into our insatiable appetites for nostalgia. Uber Eats successfully accomplished both with its ad featuring Wayne and Garth of Wayne’s World, played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. Reliving their hilarious bit about product placement from the first film, but this time focusing on eating from local restaurants. (Although social media feedback from TalkWalker pointed to some negative feedback around this message.) COVID-19 has disrupted the restaurant industry substantially and Uber Eats is trying to position itself as an ally to these small, and largely struggling, institutions. Thanks to a cameo from Cardi B, the ad mixes in some current pop culture, which made it a perfect advertising cocktail for viewers. One thing that gives DoorDash’s “Sesame Street” spot a leg up? Its integration of charitable giving. But make no mistake, this ad still made me want to belt out: “It’s party time, excellent!”

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Adam Blair, Editor: The Bud Light Seltzer lemons ad gets my vote as one of the most memorable commercials of this year’s Super Bowl, mostly for taking a cliché concept (turning lemons into lemonade) and executing it on a grand scale: Lemons falling from the sky that cause a cyclist to crash into garbage cans. Lemons ruining a wedding, with the groom and wailing bride taking cover under the gift table. Lemons demolishing cardboard cutouts in the stands at a baseball game. By touching lightly (as opposed to the thudding lemons) on all the disappointments, inconveniences and just plain yechhh of 2020, this ad delivered a sweet coda to a sour year.

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