Every year the Super Bowl happens, and the online buzz extends far beyond the sport itself. The halftime show — surrounded by the world's cleverest commercials — makes waves that last for years. This year, of course, both the show and the ads lived up to the legend of the Super Bowl.
Products in the line up come from the most renowned company brands in tech. Have a look below for some of the best-in-tech ads from the show.
What is the Super Bowl?
For the uninitiated, the Super Bowl is the annual championship final of the National Football League (NFL). This year, the Kansas City Chiefs won the super bowl with an epic comeback, beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20.
This is the second time the Kansas City Chiefs have won the Super Bowl, and also the first time in 50 years.
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 50 YEARS, WE'RE BRINGING THE LOMBARDI TROPHY TO KANSAS CITY ⛲️ pic.twitter.com/I1LVcLGnZA— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 3, 2020
Roughly 102 million viewers watched the halftime show where Shakira and Jennifer Lopez dazzled us, a product of billions of dollars from several companies, whose much-coveted Superbowl ad space did not fail to please.
This year, the average cost for a single 30-second Super Bowl spot was a record-high $5.6 million, Forbes reports. Here are some of the best.
1. Jeep's reimagined Groundhog Day spoof
Since the game happened on Groundhog Day 2020, it came as no surprise when many social media commenters agreed that "Jeep won the Super Bowl." As the classic American outdoors brand, Jeep somehow managed to get Bill Murray — who's spent a lifetime saying no to commercial deals — to reprise his role from the famous 1993 movie. But instead of campy romance, this time Murray's character relives the holiday with its namesake, partying with the groundhog again and again.
After Murray finds a Jeep on the street, his character relishes the opportunity of repeating the day — a smart twist on the original movie.
Cue Murray driving around in the Jeep with Punxsutawney Phil, the titular groundhog on the passenger seat, and cameos for characters from the original film. It's an unexpected and hilarious sequel to a movie classic.
2. Google's tearjerker journal ad shows the human side of tech
Google's 2020 Super Bowl ad went straight for the heartstrings with its poignantly-presented demonstration of how Google Assistant can be used to help the elderly keep note of cherished memories.
The ad gave viewers just enough information to keep it open to interpretation and — no doubt — had countless viewers crying into their Super Bowl slurpies.
Called "Loretta", the ad focuses on a grandfather who uses voice-powered tech to write personal notes about memories of a presumably-deceased loved one. This included memories like “she always snorted when she laughed” and “[she] used to hum showtunes.”
Google’s #SuperBowl commercial was inspired by the real grandfather of a Google employee. At 85-years-old he makes his film debut.— Ad Age (@adage) February 3, 2020
As Ad Age points out, the commercial was actually inspired by a real relative of a Google employee.
Google certainly hasn't been a stranger to controversy lately and the company no doubt hopes to shift the narrative with this focus on the humanity behind its technology.
3. Porsche delivers a fun thrill ride
Porsche's "The Heist" is the automaker's first Super Bowl ad in 23 years, and it's basically a car chase out of a movie — with a twist.
Brilliantly, the ad uses a heist movie concept to show off its all-electric Taycan model.
The commercial begins with unwitting security guards at the Porsche Museum in Germany as a thief silently drives the electric Taycan out of its exhibit space, and ends with a high-speed car chase.
4. What was the world like before Amazon's Alexa?
Aside from bringing in big names like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Amazon's Super Bowl commercial compares life before and after Amazon Echo, with tongue firmly in cheek.
We see Ellen asking Alexa to turn down the thermostat before asking Portia, "what do you think people did before Alexa?"
We're then taken to various different scenes from different points in the past, including Queen Elizabeth I's courtroom, a sooty street in Dickensian London, and a fantasy castle. In all of these human and animal assistants with names like Al and Alexius are unsuccessful in carrying out their bidders' tasks.
To be fair, we could imagine a character out of a Dickens novel randomly laughing at people like a lunatic, much in the same way that Amazon Echoes did a while back.
5. Microsoft thanks Katie Sowers
As CNN points out, San Francisco 49ers' offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers made history on Sunday night by becoming the first woman and first openly gay person to coach in a Super Bowl.
By focusing on her story, Microsoft's "Be the One" commercial aims to inspire others to bring down barriers in similarly-inspiring fashion.
“All it takes is one,” Sowers says in the ad. “And it opens the door for so many.” Meanwhile, images of young female athletes appear on the screen.
The ad briefly shows Sowers using a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 tablet without having it detract from its main message.
6. Hyundai calls on the big names from Boston
Hyundai's "Smaht Pahk" Super Bowl ad calls on Boston celebrities Chris Evans, Rachel Dratch, John Krasinski, and David Ortiz to talk in thick New England accents about the Sonata’s new smart parking tech.
The ad, which even has a cameo from Red Sox legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz, is a small consolation for Patriots fans, whose team missed out on the Super Bowl this year.
7. Verizon shows us how tech is nothing without the humans that use it
"This isn't a commercial about what 5G will do. It is a commercial about what it will never do," this year's Verizon Super Bowl ad says.
Verizon, telecommunications giant and 5G provider, cunningly turned the tables on its own pitch. The company quickly mentioned a few of the ways 5G will change our lives — despite saying the ad isn't about 5G — before focusing on the human side of the aspects of our lives it will change.
The ad cleverly uses the advertising strategy that says it's not talking about something, and insodoing, still actually talks about it.
JUST IN | Verizon opted to highlight what 5G will “never do” in its #SuperBowl ad, in a bid to make a point about the important and often lifesaving work that first responders do every day.— Adweek (@Adweek) February 3, 2020
The commercial focuses on the courage and humanity of first responders and medical workers. "5G is going to change a lot of things, but luckily for all of us, not everything."
A few honorable mentions
Though these commercials weren't made by tech companies, they deserve a special mention, simply for being awesome. Take a look.
Rick and Morty stuck in a Pringles nightmare
Though it might not have been around for that long, Rick and Morty is pop culture royalty by this point. With its endless crossovers and renowned popularity.
In this ad, the show's creators teamed up with Pringles to bring us a commercial, which—just like the show—is hilariously meta.
Rick spirals into a shell game of Pringles ads within more Pringles ads before we find out that he is in fact stuck inside a Pringles ad, and (several) Morty Pringles bots assail him. What could be more Rick and Morty than that?
Rocket Mortgage's impressive special effects
File this one under bizarre but impressive. Game of Thrones's Jason Momoa jokingly reveals his "true self." Thanks to special effects, the famously ripped movie star strips away fake muscle padding to reveal a skinny balding man.
Having Momoa play slide guitar at the end adds a fittingly-surreal touch to a quirky and lighthearted ad that's never leaves a comfortable tone.
Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold's environmental message
In Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold’s “6 for 6-Pack” ad, the company pledges to dedicate a percentage of proceeds from every six-pack sold towards transitioning six square feet of farmland to organic.
“If every football fan picks up a six-pack, we could change America’s organic farmland forever,” the ad's narrator says. Amid growing concern regarding the climate, the message certainly hits home.
There's enough money behind Super Bowl commercials that the ads are almost a show unto themselves. While it's no surprise that the commercials were instant trends on social media, it's worth taking a step back to consider the hard work put in by the advertising agencies behind the campaigns.
Which ads were your favorites? Are there any runner-ups that should make the list? Be sure to let us know.