The Best & Worst Ads Of Super Bowl LV, 2021

December 15, 2021

It was the year 1984, and 77 million Americans were glued to their television sets. The Washington Redskins were up 28 to 9 against the Los Angeles Raiders when the whistle for a break was sounded. Suddenly, bald uniformed, expressionless people fill the television set. A split second later, a blonde athlete is being pursued by four men in Riot Police. This was the first Super Bowl ad—a timeless classic by Apple Computer Inc. for their first Macintosh PC. 

This moment was a turning point in the history and industry of customer outreach. It set a precedent for how audiences needed to be engaged, the importance of providing a message that sticks, and a competition of who can make the most impact. 

This article will rank Super Bowl LV’s ads on these criteria. We will focus on their appeal to the South Asia audience, especially the top 1% earning members who are part of FrontAd’s community.

The Super Bowl has become a social event for South Asian families in recent years. Even if family members do not follow the sport, they generally watch the Super Bowl together on game day. It is a great bonding event. 

Many South Asian families also tend to host the event, as it gives them a chance to socialize with neighbors and the entire community. Putting out a commercial that strikes a chord with them is a great chance to win them over.

How did the latest edition ads fare? Here are the top three best ads and worst commercials ranked for relevance to the South Asian community.

The Best Advertisements

#1: Toyota Big Game Commercial: Jessica Long’s Story

Jessica Long is a 13-time Paralympic gold medal winner. And no other community can resonate with her story more than a South Asian family. Born in Siberia with fibular hemimelia (a lack of bones in the legs and lower feet), Jessica was adopted by loving American parents who embraced her for the beautiful person that she is. They gave her the best path to follow her passion, stood by her side, and most importantly, gave her a home and a family. 

All of these values are very important in the South Asian community. For them, nothing comes above their love for one another and grit. And this ad hits it right on the spot. Not only does it resonate on an emotional level, Toyota, by showing that it is not just a brand that sells cars, but it is also a brand that empowers families and athletes like Jessica, leaves a lasting impact.

#2: Let’s Grab a Beer | Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl LV Commercial 

Filled with various instances of challenging situations and life-curveballs being lightened by companionship, this 90-sec ad showcases the importance of being there for each other through thick and thin—a sentiment every South Asian will relate to.

As a community that has faced its fair share of hardships and struggles to reach where they are today, South Asians are no strangers to trials. And a way for them to console each other has always been through sharing food and drinks. This Anheuser-Busch commercial displays that emotion beautifully.

#3: Certain Is Better | Rocket Mortgage Super Bowl Commercial

Buying a home is an important step for any family, but for an earning South Asian, it is a rite of passage. South Asian families buy houses or take mortgages for a personal residence or as an investment differently. They assess the risk very heavily. The latest 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data found that Asian Indian borrowers paid lower interest rates on average.

By showing that the risks in buying a house for their budget are close to zero, Rocket Mortgage sets the impression that they are trustworthy and reliable. Adding humor and exaggerating the risks of not being certain about a purchase also makes them memorable.

The Worst Advertisements

#1. State Farm finds stand-ins for Rodgers, Mahomes

State Farm is one of the most trusted insurance companies in the US. But their Super Bowl ad failed to communicate their reliability. Yes, they continued with a long-standing innuendo and references, but the ad did not fully communicate their value to a new subscriber or prospect. 

Read: Marketing Financial Services To The Crazy Rich South Asians

For a South Asian, it lacked context and vision. It did not explore what having a State Farm policy would change their lives. The cameos were great, but the execution and the planning had no resonance for a South Asian viewer.

#2: DoorDash delivers everywhere, including Sesame Street

An advertisement with a side of nostalgia has the potential to resonate powerfully with the South Asian community. However, the lack of cultural representation and the absence of a family setting leave it off the mark.

South Asians are one of the largest communities that cook a family dinner regularly. For DoorDash, they can become one of the most profitable demographics. However, excluding any cultural references to the community has lost DoorDash’s chance to leave a lasting impact in many South Asian households.

#3: Fairy ‘God-mayo’ Amy Schumer makes Hellmann’s magic

Making meals and innovating with leftover ingredients is a regular practice in most South Asian households, however high their income bracket. Kishwar Chowdhury, MasterChef Australia contestant, wowed the judges with her Panta Bhaat – a power-packed South Asian dish usually made with leftover rice. 

This mayo ad, however, tugs a chord with this practice for all the wrong reasons. The ad features leftovers being made into items that are not plausible or palatable with mayo. Who thought cake with mayo was a good combination? 

If the brand had taken real ingredients from the refrigerator, showcased a quick, easy hack to use the mayo while giving a touch of family magic, the ad would have been a real killer. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The ad has potential, the idea was nice, but the unrealistic representation without humor leaves it in the worst ad category.

In conclusion, Superbowl ads are an excellent chance for brands to penetrate market segments at large. Organizations looking to hit a chord with the South Asian community have opportunities to showcase how serious and committed they are to serve them by making small but impactful changes. The need to show more inclusiveness and showcase values that the ethnic communities hold dear is upon brands.

To do that, a clear understanding of the buying trends, consumer habits, and cultural context are crucial. Front Ad, the number one platform for South Asians in the US, can help.