Which commercial won the Super Bowl?

Sources: Jeep, Amazon, P&G, SodaStream
Feb 03, 2020
George Anderson

Whether you are one of the 17.5 million people who stayed home from work today or are among the millions of others who showed up at your job ready to talk about yesterday’s game, welcome to the Super Monday version of RetailWire.

While fans of the Kansas City Chiefs are happy today and San Francisco 49er faithful are not, we’re not going to talk about comeback victories, a head coach’s big game redemption or any of the other storylines around the Super Bowl. No, we’re here to discuss which brands cut through the Super Bowl party noise with commercials designed to win future purchases made by American consumers.

In Adweek’s view, the top 10 spots were:

  1. Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray with co-stars Brian Doyle-Murray and Stephen Tobolowsky in an uplifting and creative take on the movie that served as its inspiration.
  2. Loretta” from Google didn’t leave a dry eye in the house  — or bar or wherever millions viewed the commercial. The spot tells the story of a man remembering his life with his wife through the use of Google products. This spot is rated multiple tissues.
  3. Can’t remember what people did before they put Alexa devices in their homes? The answer to that question, courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and a cast of other characters through the ages, answers that with the #BeforeAlexa spot.
  4. Hyundai’s commercial for its self-parking feature has a Boston bent, with actors Rachel Dratch, Chris Evans and John Krasinski, along with Red Sox great David “Big Papi” Ortiz, using their very best Boston accents to talk about how to “smaht pahk” a car.
  5. Snickers’ “Fix the World” commercial is reminiscent of Coca-Cola’s iconic “Teach the World to Sing” ad, but with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
  6. Mountain Dew goes all “Shining” on the audience with Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Tracee Ellis Ross of Black-ish playing it straight through the humorous spot.
  7. Procter & Gamble’s “Super Bowl Now, Laundry Later” mini-campaign lets viewers know that spills can wait, since Tide Power-Pods will be able to tackle them later. The original spot then morphs into mashups with Bud Knight and Wonder Woman as the complete story spins out across four spots and ends with the stain’s removal.
  8. Microsoft’s “Be the One: Katie Sowers” commercial tells the story of the offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers who dreamed of being in the National Football League as a child and grew up to become the first female and openly gay coach in the Super Bowl.
  9. The Heist” from Porsche is a high-speed chase of a spot. Think “Fast and Furious” but with an electric car — The Porsche Taycan.
  10. Jason Momoa gets “Comfortable” in a commercial from Rocket Mortgage. The spot shows the Aquaman actor in a decidedly different look from his usual action roles.

Ad Age ranked the commercials with footballs, with the very best spots receiving five. Three commercials earned that distinction: Jeep “Groundhog Day,” Microsoft’s “Be the One” and SodaStream’s “Water on Mars” commercial, in which astronauts find water on the red planet only to have one of the crew drink it mistakenly. (He thought the bottle read “Mark’s water”.) 

CNN ranked spots as winners and losers. Among the winners not named in the Adweek and AdAge lists were the Doritos’ commercial with Sam Elliott and Lil Nas X in a dance-off to “Old Town Road” and Walmart’s science fiction-themed “Famous Visitors” spot for its same-day store pickup service. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which commercials do you think won Super Bowl Sunday? Why?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"All-in-all a strong creative night of commercials in tune with their audience."
"There is a danger in inserting too many celebrities into a 30 second ad. That drives the viewer’s attention to the celebrities and not so much on the product."
"My vote goes to the Groundhog Day ad for Jeep. It not only utilized a relevant theme with the timing of this year’s Super Bowl, but also managed to easily and humorously tie i"

Join the Discussion!

30 Comments on "Which commercial won the Super Bowl?"

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Dick Seesel

For people who love “Groundhog Day,” the Bill Murray Jeep spot was irresistible. It managed to tip its hat to the movie without forgetting that the Gladiator was the center of the commercial. (Likewise the Hyundai ad, which presented a strong demo for its Smart Park commercial in the middle of all those Boston accents.)

On the tech front, the ads from Google and Amazon used much different approaches to enhance their brand images given broad concerns about privacy. Google used emotion, Amazon used humor, and both of them did a more effective job than Facebook.

Georganne Bender

No contest, the winner for me is Google’s Loretta. It wasn’t flashy or full of wall to wall celebrities, but it was packed a punch with simple humanity. I immediately visualized my father and how this could have helped ease his pain a little after my mother died. It made me love Google just a little more.

Brandon Rael

Walmart clearly went all in with their Super Bowl commercials. While the Bill Murray “Groundhog Day” Jeep commercial was a personal favorite as it’s a movie I get nostalgic about, Walmart’s famous visitors ad takes the win.

Walmart mixed a bit of nostalgia, emotions and connections we have built with iconic movie characters, while weaving in their convenient fulfillment BOPIS narrative. These are the kinds of ads that just resonate, especially as Walmart has invested significantly in expanding their customer base.

It’s all about changing perceptions, and Walmart has made significant strides to undergo another transformation to attract the modern customer.

Ron Margulis

Not a great year for Super Bowl ads by any measure. The Rocket Mortgage and Jeep ads were clever and captured my attention more than the others, while Google’s was better than most at presenting a value proposition for viewers. Still, as my wife said, most were ridiculous and delivered absolutely no incentive to buy the product or service that was being promoted.

Stephen Rector

This was the first year ever that the Super Bowl was on Groundhog Day – so the Jeep/Bill Murray commercial gets the win for tying it all together with a perfect bow.

Patricia Vekich Waldron

Interesting that with all the pre-game hype, Mr. Peanut did not even make the list! #RIPeanut

Georganne Bender

I think it needed the additional hype that was cancelled due to Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. As a stand alone it didn’t work. And what was with the peanut making dolphin sounds?

Patricia Vekich Waldron

Was disappointing, wasn’t it?

Ricardo Belmar
If the test is which commercial left you with a desire to try or buy a product, then not very many hit the mark. Overall, I’d say this wasn’t a great year for Super Bowl commercials, although perhaps better than last year. The top three for me were Walmart for their grocery pickup service bringing in so many beloved and nostalgic characters, Jeep for making great use of Groundhog Day the movie and the fact that the game was on February 2nd, and Microsoft for promoting something that should make everyone smile and feel better. While Amazon’s entry was amusing for reminding us what life was like before Alexa, Google’s ad reminds us just how much data they have on all of us and reminds you why there is so much distrust of their use of that data. Facebook fared no better. Going back to my original question – which one makes we want to try it — I’ll go with Walmart if only because it’s the most memorable one. I remember clearly what happened… Read more »
Lisa Goller

While Google’s Loretta ad is heart wrenching, PepsiCo won the night. Its Cheetos ad with MC Hammer popping out of a rolled carpet sparked uproarious laughter, the brilliant Bryan Cranston made The Shining extra creepy for Mountain Dew and Sam Elliott’s moustache did the wave in a dance-off for Doritos.

Cathy Hotka

Amen, sister!

Mohamed Amer

This Super Bowl Sunday, we were the winners! An amazing set of commercials aimed at honoring our personal histories, our memories, and simultaneously seeing how technology can be harnessed for the good.

Tops was Google’s Loretta as a gut-punch reminder of the relationships that define us and what we (ought to) value in life. Live life fully and do create and treasure your moments.

Jeep’s Groundhog Day was brilliantly creative and fun, while Amazon’s Before Alexa witty one liners had a standup comic character to them; and while funny, they won’t age so well.

All-in-all a strong creative night of commercials in tune with their audience.

Ben Ball

The two I can recall most clearly this morning (yes, I’m at work) are Hyundai and Rocket Mortgage — but I only recalled the product from Hyundai. I’m going with “Pahk the cah.” (Although I loved “Groundhog Day” and Bill Murray!)

Richard J. George, Ph.D.

Overall a disappointing array of Super Bowl ads. My favorites were Jeep and Doritos. Both engaging, focusing specifically on their respective brands. However, the best ad for me was one not included in the various reviews, namely, the NFL 100 year commercial that led off the game. It was a terrific story, visually appealing and connected across generations. Too bad most other ads paled in comparison.

Paula Rosenblum

I really liked the Snickers commercial. If only…

Richard Hernandez

The Groundog Day commercial won it for me. The Rocket Mortgage commercial with Jason Momoa was just weird..The Tide commercial gag wore on too long but I’m glad to see the Bud Light Robot back after being killed off last year…

Gene Detroyer

This was the worst group of commercials that I can remember. Yes, some were cute. Most I found terribly annoying. For most, I didn’t even realize what products were that they were advertising. Case in point my very favorite, “Be the One.” I didn’t realize it was for Microsoft until I read the discussion topic today.

I found the ones that used first responders, military and flag waving to be totally inappropriate and embarrassing. What did they have to do with the product or the company? I want the Clydesdales back.

I think the agencies try to top the previous year and have gotten more and more complex, showy, and complicated to the extent that the message becomes irrelevant.

James Tenser
Ah, the Super Bowl ads for 2020. Most were silly. None were momentous. But there were some moments… I probably laughed the most at the Hyundai “Smaht Pahk” bit because the South Boston accents were so over the top. But Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” is in my top five for its on-target send-up of the movie. Snickers’ “Feed the World” gets honorable mention for best punch line. The Doritos “Dance-off” with Sam Elliot and Lil Nas X had the scene stolen by Sam’s horse in the second-best punch line of the night. I’m easily swayed by sci-fi tropes, so Walmart’s cleverly-produced “Famous Visitors” captured my attention. Also earning some chuckles in my house was the “Comfortable” spot from Rocket Mortgage. Those were my top five (in no particular order). Google’s “Loretta” spot deserves special analysis for its juxtaposition of calculated sentimentality and chilling dystopia. Not in the same league as Apple’s famed “1984” spot, but quite possibly a truer vision of a possible future. I confess I’m a bit worried about what might happen after the… Read more »
Evan Snively

“Comfortable” made me laugh the most with a combination of visual absurdity and perfect casting.
I’m not sure what the fuss over “Loretta” was, though admittedly it ran right when someone started chopping up onions for the chili so I was distracted. I’m not crying…you’re crying.

Kai Clarke

Bill Murray’s take on Groundhog Day and pushing the new Jeep was a great ad; it was memorable, delivered a message, and made a lasting impact for its product. All of these factors make for a great ad and this commercial was clearly one of the best Super Bowl ads.

Kathleen Fischer

This was a really great line up of commercials with some great ideas encompassing humor and sentiment – my vote goes to the Groundhog Day ad for Jeep. It not only utilized a relevant theme with the timing of this year’s Super Bowl, but also managed to easily and humorously tie in the product.

Liz Crawford

Tide received only 6 percent of BrainTrust votes for the top spot.

Here’s why I believe it deserves first place: the mini-ads created an ongoing story, which was cumulatively impactful and seared the brand into the brain. Multiple mentions enabled the brand to own the entire event.

Ralph Jacobson

Today the challenge for these ads is that the audience is expecting such a dramatic presentation that if the ad is anything less than earth-shaking, most people won’t remember it. And that’s a ton of expense and use of resources for the advertiser for a questionable ROI.

Rich Kizer

Before I tell you who I think the absolute winner was/is, let me make one point: There is a danger in inserting too many celebrities into a 30 second ad. That drives the viewer’s attention to the celebrities and not so much on the product. We tend to remember more of celebrity appearances in Ground Hog Day easier than Jeep’s message. So my favorite: Loretta. Hey guys, let us not forget that emotion sells! And that was one emotional experience for all of us. By the way, who was the actor in that spot? What does it matter?

Georganne Bender

The beauty of the Loretta ad is that it’s based on a Google employee’s grandfather and uses the grandfather’s voice. Love that, too!

Jeffrey McNulty

I really enjoyed the Doritos commercial featuring Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott having an ole fashion dance off. What a fantastic juxtaposition between old school and new school.

Carlos Arambula

It was an interesting batch this year with most commercials borrowing equity from celebrities. The good thing about celebrities is that it leads the viewer to an immediate emotion when done right (like the anxiety ridden Tide commercial) but it can also render the spot forgivable when it places the celebrity into a forced, or unrealistic situation.

Jeep was clever in not only using Bill Murray, but also one of his more memorable roles in a movie that has become part of our vernacular (having a “groundhog” moment anyone?). The contrast of the day when Jeep was involved made consumers feel as if they were watching scenes that had been left out in the movie editing and how Jeep will make any dull, or repetitive moment, more interesting.

While I appreciate the poignancy of the Google spot, I felt that it failed to capture the benefits of the product for the target audience. Moreover, it doesn’t differentiate Google from the similar competitive products — many of the spots failed this task.

Ed Rosenbaum

There was much to like and enjoy with this Super Bowl. The ads were on average better than past years although I did miss seeing the Budweiser Clydesdales again this year. I enjoyed the game which is different than most past games. I certainly enjoyed the energy of the half time show. The ladies brought the house down. As to which ad grabbed me, I would have to say the Bill Murray Groundhog Day. By the way, the intro with all the children and NFL Hall of Famers was over the top and spectacular.

Craig Sundstrom

I’m guessing there’s a kind of symmetry in the world where great games are offset by mediocre ads. Translation: I wasn’t impressed by anything I saw yesterday live, and I’m not any more impressed today. (And sorry, but my tissue box came thru the “Loretta” spot intact. I found it a slightly creepy reminder of how technology is replacing actual thought and interaction in our lives, though admittedly that’s an off-, and unintended, reaction.)

Allison McGuire

I have to say that Hyundai’s “Smaht Pahk” commercial won the day for me. The repetition of the phrase was funny, but it also really stuck with me. Tell the consumer, then tell them again. I even mimicked the phrase because it’s fun to say. And when an ad evokes a physical response, isn’t that the best type of ad?

"All-in-all a strong creative night of commercials in tune with their audience."
"There is a danger in inserting too many celebrities into a 30 second ad. That drives the viewer’s attention to the celebrities and not so much on the product."
"My vote goes to the Groundhog Day ad for Jeep. It not only utilized a relevant theme with the timing of this year’s Super Bowl, but also managed to easily and humorously tie i"

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