Welcome to VIA Studio’s Super Bowl 2020 Commercials Slack Thread. The following transcripts come from our company Slack channel. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
Nick W (Nick Wunderlin, Digital Strategist): I will be doing my best to post the commercials as they appear here in the channel. Please give your thoughts in the threads for each commercial. I’m looking forward to it!
Nick W: I guess we’ll kick this shindig off with the kickoff of the game!
NFL – “NEXT 100 “
Ben (Ben Wilson, Director of Strategy): Those NFL ads have consistently been fun, inventive and uplifting. And you can’t go wrong with that Ray Charles riff.
Nick W: Naturally connected it IRL to the game with the kids running out before the game
Ben: Pretty great – from the park to the Super Bowl. #metaphor
Nick W: Are they ever going to stop making Fast and Furious movies?
Alec (Alec Robertson, Front-end Developer): I sure hope not
Quibi – “Bank Heist”
Nick W: No idea what Quibi was before the game, no idea now
Nick W: other than it exists
Ben: Musician sponsored social / media company – how is Tidal doing?
Nick S (Nick Stewart, back-end developer): I just assumed I wasn’t understanding what the guy was saying (when he said Quibi)
Ben: All names and domains have been taken
Ben: Shout out software launch dates! April 6? Why?
Alec: so it’s a streaming service for people who think TV shows are too long?
Nick W: indeed
Ben: Backed by Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks and CEO is Meg Whitman formerly of HP, Facebook, the Romney campaigns and a failed California gubernatorial candidacy… So… ???
Nick S: Chrissy’s Court, dead gosh
Tide – “Super Bowl now, #LaundryLater”
Nick S: Charlie, you are taking it too far
Ben: I did have to make the Charlie calculation JUST NOW about when to get my pizza out of the kitchen.
Nick W: Perhaps the most dense commercial of the Super Bowl?
Wal-Mart – “Famous Visitors”
Ben: There are so many brands in this Walmart(?) commercial.
Nick S: Let’s throw everything in there, yolo
Nick W: I spoke too soon about Tide being the most dense commercial of the Super Bowl
Ben: What was all of that supposed to tell me about Walmart – which I only gathered towards the end of the commercial was the brand supporting it. The references there were old and pretty nerdy cuts: there was both a Flash Gordon and a Blade Runner reference in that commercial. And then you trot out the one guy from Bill and Ted that isn’t John Wick.
None of that is on brand for Walmart or this new delivery service. Couple that with the tornado of references and I’m lost.
Nick W: They did the same thing when they launched the service. “Lets just buy the rights to a bunch of IP and play on nostalgia”
Alec: “out of this world convenience”
Rocket Mortgage – “Jason Momoa Super Bowl Commercial 2020”
Nick S: This one is great
Nick S: My top pick so far
Porsche – “The Heist”
Nick S: Did not like. The audio felt off the entire time (granted because it was an electric car, but still). The close-ups felt weird too, like a B list movie but the visuals were really good
Ashley (Ashley Trommler, Associate Creative Director): Am I supposed to know these people in the Porsche commercial?
Hulu – “Tom Brady’s Big Announcement”
Ashley: They had to get Tom Brady in the Superbowl somehow haha
Snickers – “#SnickersFixtheWorld”
Ben: Ok I get it – but the kicker of the people falling in the hole – real people died doing that [very recently]. Love me some Luis Guzman tho’.
Nick W: @ben “- real people died doing that this year.”?????
Ben: That influencer duo that fell to their death. Also this couple from Yosemite. Point is – they knew it was a thing and sure no one likes self-aggrandizing people but dang. Not what I want to think about while eating a Snickers.
Nick W: eeek!
Ben: And more to the point it makes light of tragic deaths.
Relative to our industry – the concept of the ad was great – it connected to their whole “you aren’t yourself when you are hungry” brand concept they’ve had for years – but at a global level. Shout out “I’d like to teach the world to sing!” coke commercial. But no – they had to have a kicker because they weren’t confident – and then Luis Guzman.
MTN DEW Zero Sugar – “As Good As The Original”
Morgan (Morgan Plappert, senior UX designer): @nick Mountain Dew zero lol
Squarespace – “Winona in Winona”
Nick W: IDK why but I enjoy this one
Nick S: I too make websites in the snow
Alec: I have never visited a website at the end of an ad for extra ad experiences & will not be starting today, Fargo references or not
Ben: The web experience is really great and leads to some decent video content that focuses on flyover states. For a company that is providing a platform to essentially tell stories – I felt like it was strong.
New York Life – “Agape”
Nick W: Effective. Life insurance is for the people you love not yourself. Make love actionable.
Hyundai – “Smaht Pahk”
Nick S: Bettah
Ben: This was very solid – and funny with a good build and omg actual real A-list stars.
Nick W: I love anything with Big Papi even though I’m not a baseball fan. I love anything with Big Papi even though I’m not a baseball fan
Ben: How many takes did Papi have to do to SORT OF stick it
Nick W: I can’t see Big Papi now without thinking of this
Cheetos – “Can’t Touch This”
Nick W: Relatable to me tonight wiping my hands off before going to my keyboard
Nick W: Cheetos dropped and IG AR lense to go with their commercial https://www.instagram.com/p/B8FZ4vyH0-O/?igshid=qk3ui1261zvt
Avocados from Mexico – “The Avocados from Mexico Shopping Network”
Nick S: Avocado Travel Collection
That was strange….. Hype man?
Morgan: Weird theme so far of people ripping off skin
Nick S: Lizard people are real. The government is trying to get us ready for the announcement of the lizard people, ease it into our sub mind /s
These avocados are killing it!
Alec: OK I’ve been pretty down on everything so far but Avo Cahr Seat is inspired
Ben: Tapping into the real anxiety that is caring for our most precious natural resource: Avocados from Mexico
Ben: Listen I got a free avocado salad from those folks at SXSW a few years ago and it felt extravagant. I’m 100% bought.
Ashley: I have literally never heard of them until 10 minutes ago and I think I’m in love
Nick W: @Ashley they’re Super Bowl regulars actually
Ben: You’ve never heard of avocados, @Ashley ? I kid! I kid.
Ashley: Lol no Is it a fruit?
Ben: Maybe? The one thing we know for sure is that if they aren’t from Mexico they are $#&*
Nick: My wife and I had some good ones in Cali, cheap too #Avocadosfromcali
Ben: So updating the themes we’ve seen so far:
- Deep fakes / lizard people
- Brandnado (Wal-Mart & Tide)
Ashley: Brandnado! Hahah I love that
Ben: It’s the cowards commercial
I also love a good C-list actor cattle car ad like that Walmart thing. Only happens at Superbowl. Didn’t know Flash Gordon or Ted from Bill and Ted was still alive… or Luis Guzman
Nick W: Could Wal-Mart not afford Bill AND Ted?
Coca-Cola Energy – “Show Up”
Nick W: @nick have you tried coke energy?
Nick S: No, but I’ve had the Coke Coffee and it was horrible
Ben: Ok Scorsese getting his revenge on that bad press he had after he crapped on the Marvel Cinematic universe.
Alec: How can i become Marty’s friend i would never stand him up
Ben: You know Marty’s text size is NOT that small. He’s pretty much the old man from Up.
Planters – “Tribute”
Nick S: Dolphin noises?
Nick W: Wow Planters decided to go with the Mr. Peanut funeral after all
Ashley: Baby Mr. Peanut is the new Baby Yoda
Nick W: Planters had people talking about them for 2+ weeks now
Alec: Was the news about canceling the ad after Kobe just a part of the ad
Nick W: So if they’re trying to ride the wave of Baby Yoda that means they liked came up with the idea in Oct/November or later… does that timeline seem short or long for a major Super Bowl production?
Ashley: Hmm I feel like that would be pretty short for a super bowl commercial
Sabra Hummus – “Helmet Hair”
Nick S: Rick Flair and more mashup
Google – “Loretta”
Ashley: 🥺🥺🥺🥺 Google got me
Ben: There’s a shared narrative here between this and the Squarespace ad. Technology maturing, becoming more accessible and actually making lives easier. It feels better to me than, say, a candy bar ad.
Verizon – “The Amazing Things 5G Won’t Do”
Nick S: The Verizon ad is ironic
Nick W: *waves hand* that never happened
Pop Tarts – “Pop-Tarts Fixed the Pretzel Commercial”
Ben: My kids were confused by Mr Peanut Dolphin but super excited about Jonathan from Queer Eye eating Pop Tarts. This is 2020, for all its good and bad.
Ashley: Wait I missed Jonathan… what commercial was he in?
Ben: Pop Tart Pretzel
Morgan: It has not once crossed my mind that I wish this pop tart was a pretzel
Ben: But how about … now? @morgan
Nick W: Is the pretzel Pop Tart filled with mustard? Or cheese?
Morgan: I will try anything once. But a pretzel pop tart ain’t one of them…
Alec: I’ll never buy one. but if @nick brought some to the office, I wouldn’t not try one
Morgan: So accurate
Nick W: @morgan what about a Cheez-It stuffed with pizza?
Morgan: Loretta Google commercial holds a comfortable lead right now imo
Ashley: I’m still really into the avocados one. Two very different vibes
Nick W: Loretta for me too
Pepsi – “Zero Sugar. Done Right.”
Nick W: Yawn. I feel like every year has a commercial doing a modern, genre crossing, cover of a classic rock song
Bud Light – “#PostyStore – Inside Post’s Brain”
Ashley: Welp. This one has taken first place for me. My loyalty lies in Posty.
Morgan: Post Malone on a seltzer ad is Ashley af
Ashley: Pretty sure one of their personas was “Ashley Trommler”
Little Caesars – “Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”
Nick S: I wish they made him a little more Dwight-y
Nick W: Probably his doing making it not Dwight-y
Nick S: That seems right . But seemed like the Dwight as the CEO freaking out would be perfect
Alec: Upset about how funny i think “sliced bread is toast!” is
Doritos – “The Cool Ranch”
Nick W: Wow we had to wait for the second half for an Old Town Road spot
Turkish Airlines – “StepOnEarth”
Nick W: There have been a lot of space themed ads tonight
Amazon – “What Did We Do Before Alexa?”
Nick S: I like the Nixon part
Nick W: I think that was my wife’s favorite ad
Ashley: Big fan of this one as well.
Michelob ULTRA – “Jimmy Works It Out”
Nick S: John Cena is yoked
Morgan: His bicep is taller than me
Nick W: Are Jimmy Fallon and the Roots now just a package deal?
Ashley: I feel like there aren’t nearly as many beer commercials as there normally is.. or maybe I’m missing some.
Nick W: I think just Bud Light and Mich Ultra
Have I missed a Coors ad?
Ashley: I’ve been patiently waiting for my beloved Coors to makes its debut
Isaacs & Isaacs – “Hammer In Space”
Nick S: The Hammer is back with force. This is a full on movie
Ashley: Darrel mother effin Isaacs.
Alec: Best one of the night
Morgan: Hammer. Down.
Alec: Wal-Mart: pays Disney to put Star Wars droids in their ad
Darryl “The Hammer” Isaacs: remakes Star Wars with his own bare hands
Nick W: Darryl Isaacs is BACK!
Ben: Dang just missed it!
Toyota – “Toyota Big Game Commercial: Ft Cobie Smulders”
Nick S: I liked it, but it felt super Toyota
Nick W: Agree. I would love to own a Highlander though
T-Mobile – “Anthony Anderson Mama Tests 5G”
Nick S: I liked it
Ben: It’s no Chunky Soup BUT it is another ad showing how accessible technology has become. This is the third ad showing seniors using tech.
Ashley: I liked it too, but it did seem very similar to the whole “can you hear me now” campaign
Nick W: PTSD of the times I don’t answer my mama’s calls
Ben: “Mama! Who you in the club with??”
Ben: This game is moving so quick I can watch at least 12 Quibis before bedtime!
P&G Presents – “When We Come Together”
Nick S: So many actors in the Bounty commercial
Morgan: Super bowl so fast they have to squeeze 12 commercials in 1
Alec: Pouring one out for all 3 celebs who didn’t make it into an ad tonight
Ben: “Even Luis Guzman and Charlie from Sunny got in there!” – Steve Buscemi
Alec: Still like a 30% chance Steve Buscemi shows up to sell foam mattresses or something in the next break
It’ll be him and [spins wheel] Smokey Robinson
Ben: I am resisting googling if Smokey is still alive… that being said, P&G took the “house of brands” thing VERY literally
Nick W: Quite literally @ben lol
Interesting execution from P&G
Ben: It… verged on scatalogical
Nick W: I got Kevin from the office vibes
Jeep – “Groundhog Day”
Ben: BILL MURRAY
Ben: From a purely “stunt ad” perspective I love this. If you know one thing about Bill Murray it’s probably that he’s almost impossible to “get” to do your movie. So when you contrast that against all of the ads with a clown car full of B list celebs this is notable – and “on brand” for Jeep.
Also impressed they got Stephen Tobolowsky and the original mayor from Groundhog Day.
Nick W: Agreed. One of my first thoughts was how did the sell Bill on doing this?
Ben: Oh and is this the 40th anniversary of Bill Murray starring alongside an animatronic groundhog??
Alec: Groundhog > Baby Nut IMO
Nick W: Bill Murray makes everything better
Facebook Groups – “Ready to Rock?”
Ben: An ad starring YOU and your weird hobbies. Delightfully celebratory and had a great kicker at the end with Chris Rock and Sly Stallone.
Nick W: Yeah but now I’ve got to weigh allowing FB any more data about my interests
Audi – “Let It Go”
Ben: GoT fire!!!
Nick W: & Ice
Ben: Well that was surprising and powerful. “Let It Go” is pretty much the anthem of the 2010s generation and oh wait Maisie Williams can sing like that???
That’s how you do a Superbowl commercial if you ask me – surprising, delightful, positive and manages to weave a lot of powerful themes together. Set the conflict of electric cars vs traditional. Cue “Let it Go”, the self-healing anthem of our time. Oh wait is that the diminutive, unconventional princess from Game of Thrones? Oh wait she can sing?? If you aren’t IN at that point…
Notably at least the second electric car ad tonight.
Nick W: She looks so tiny in that SUV lol
Nick W: Cuz who doesn’t know that song lol
Ben: So what are everyone’s favorite ads so far?
Ashley: Google, Avocados from Mexico, and Bud Light
Nick W: You beat me to it Ben!
Ashley: Then the hammer
Nick W: Google. Extremely personal and heartfelt. Showed how a product can improve quality of life for users. Also agree with Ben on the idea of maturing with tech as a theme tonight.
Ben: I think that sentiment is real, too, based on experience from client work and my own life.Or is based in real use at least
Alec: 1. The Hammer – the attorney auteur’s magnum opus
2. Amazon/Alexa – just a normal funny not meta or ironic ad?
3. Panter’s Baby Nut – truly deranged, a morbid reflection on our relationship with brands/celebs/ads/mascots/IP in 2020
This is just like extremely funny/wild
Ben: @alec your capsule of this is so good. I want 1500 words by the morning
Alec: It’s like they took the ironic/self-aware advertising trend to its logical conclusion & created a whole new genre
Ben: So do you think this was completely planned or did they rewrite the ending due to Kobe Bryant’s death? And if they didn’t rewrite it and create BabyNut in the last week then what was all that media about them cancelling his funeral?
Alec: I thiiink they only pulled the original set up ad which involved Mr. Peanut being tragically lost in a fiery vehicular explosion but left the funeral ad unchanged
Ben: Was it just me or did it seem like a very or at least more diverse set of ads and entertainment at this Superbowl? At least four major brands with ads fronted by LGTBQ persons. A lot of ads starring or heavily featuring people of color, etc. Even seniors got a few turns as real people and not stereotypes. Felt different this year and not forced.