Which are the Super Bowl LV ads getting the most buzz in advance of Sunday's game?
The commercials are, in no particular order: Tide (with Jason Alexander); Amazon Alexa (Michael B. Jordan); Cheetos (Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis); GM (Will Ferrell); and "Bud Light Legends" (Cedric the Entertainer), according to Los Angeles-based Ace Metrix, which measures consumer engagement based on dozens of emotions.
Nearly 40 Super Bowl LV commercials have been prereleased so far, or about half the total, but these five have resonated the most so far, according to company founder and iSpot Chief Strategy Officer Peter Daboll. (Ace Metrix is a division of iSpot, the industry leader in ad data and analytics as they relate to viewer attention and engagement.)
In a phone interview, Daboll did stress, however, that any of these could drop out of the Top Five by Sunday because one major commercial is still expected to be released: A 90-second Jeep ad starring Bruce Springsteen. The Boss has only rarely done commercials — most recently a 1-minute political plug for Joe Biden's candidacy — and this one still remains somewhat mysterious. (Ad Age reported that an ABC affiliate employee in Nebraska tweeted last Wednesday "from an airport in Hastings, Nebraska, that 'Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen lands in Hastings to film a Jeep commercial in Blue Hill for the Super Bowl,' referring to a small town south of the city." Per Ad Age, it has since been deleted.)
Daboll says Ace Metrix, which has been measuring commercial effectiveness for a decade, recently deployed new technology that allows the company to "extract an emotional signal" from 500 panelists who watch each Super Bowl ad — and extract not just one emotion but a total of 57. He says those range from generic "positive" emotions, all the way across the emotional spectrum to highly negative ones.
Some commercials, he says, elicit many emotions — but these five mostly got positive feedback, and buzz. They are also consistent with the tone of most of 2021 Super Bowl commercials: "We're seeing a lighter tone this year," Daboll says. "A lot of brands are going straight fun, and even if they are doing social causes, they are much less preachy."
Here are the most resonant ads so far:
"Tide / The Jason Alexander Hoodie": This begins with a mom telling her son, "Hey, you have to wash Jason Alexander hoodie." Kid: " ... It looks clean to me." Then, the scene segues into a flashback, showing the young man do a number of outrageous things to the poor sweatshirt, which has the "Seinfeld" star's face on it — a face that changes expression with each travesty. Then comes the punchline, with Alexander yelling at the kid, "Hey, that's my face! You can't just wear my face. … "
"Amazon Alexa / Michael B. Jordan": A woman looks at Alexa and says, "it's just flawless, isn't it? I couldn't imagine a more beautiful vessel for Alexa to be. … " She then pauses, glances out a window, and sees "Creed" and "Black Panther" star Michael B. Jordan's face on the side of a bus — itself part of a promotion for Amazon Prime Video's "Without Remorse," the actual Jordan-starring thriller that's expected to begin streaming on Prime in late February. (A rare example of an advertiser plugging two products in the same commercial). Cue to the woman's fantasy of Jordan as Alexa, then her jealous husband's reaction. This ad has been seen over 26 million times on YouTube — so it is easily the leader in that category, too — although Daboll notes that the spot got some blowback over the wife-fantasy storyline.
Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix: In this spot, Ashton Kutcher confronts spouse Mila Kunis with, "did you steal my Cheetos again?" Cue to Grammy-winning reggae star Shaggy, a part-time Valley Stream resident, who tells her, just tell him it wasn't you. The two then start to sing, tunelessly, a cover of Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me." Fortunately, Shaggy finishes the song for them.
GM / Will Ferrell: Opens with Ferrell saying, "Did you know Norway sells way more electric cars per capita than the U.S.?" Norway, he scoffs. Then he meets up with Kenan Thompson and Awkwafina, and the three then head to Norway in their EVs (but take a few wrong turns along the way).
Bud Light "Legends": Flagship brand Budweiser is staying away from Super Bowl LV, but Bud Light is here. In this, the brand revisits some "legends" who have starred in other Bud Light commercials over the years, including Post Malone and Cedric the Entertainer.