Viewpoints: The best and worst of the 2020 Super Bowl ads

Local advertising exec weighs in

Jon Laughlin, group creative director of Milwaukee-based public relations and marketing firm Laughlin Constable.
Jon Laughlin, group creative director of Milwaukee-based advertising and marketing firm Laughlin Constable.

Last updated on April 28th, 2020 at 05:12 pm

I watched the Super Bowl sitting on my comfy couch, a pillow on my lap, perilously balancing a bowl with one too many chicken wings in it. My cold beer, Yuengling of course, was to my left and the clicker close enough, just in case I needed some more volume or to watch J Lo and Shakira shake it one more time.

But I was not alone. Millions of people around the world did the same thing. Collective experiences are a rarity in 2020, but the Super Bowl provides that. Which is why the ads that play during the game have grown into an event unto themselves.

One more thing before I get to my rankings of this year’s Super Bowl commercials. To be in the ad business and have your work play during the Super Bowl is a major accomplishment. For my peers who made something that the world saw last night, congrats.

These are the ads I’d like to watch again and the ones I’m good never seeing again.

Hits…rewind and watch again

Let’s celebrate the best sport out there with more cameos than an SNL cold open. The IRL tie in made it even better. That’s how you kick off SB LIV.

Bill Murray. Jeep. Two national treasures. Not even fair. This one ran away with it.

You gotta have a big car ad in there. For me Hyundai and Toyota delivered the goods in different ways. Hyundai had the star power, but it drove home a product attribute. While Toyota used production value and old movie tropes to drive home the benefits of their reliability.

Sam Elliot’s cookie duster should have its own commercial. A little more mustache dancing probably would’ve bumped this one up.

Just silly fun. Let’s recreate a Kubrick movie shot for shot. And they did it. Pulled it off. Bryan Cranston as the twins was a hilarious button.

I love it when you base an ad off of truth and then exaggerate the hell out of it. You eat Cheetos and you have an orange hand of death that must be cleansed before returning to the real world.

The hip hop version of Inside Out. Taking a peek into Post Malone’s head we see that there isn’t much going on. Still made for a funny spot.

Misses…fast forward!

The sequel that no one asked for or wanted. Two years ago, Tide changed the game by having a recurring series of spots throughout the Super Bowl. This time around it was just tired.

They stole 30 seconds from me, I could’ve used that time to refill my chili.

I don’t understand the faux infomercial call center trend this year. Sure, the Avocados spot had some fun little accessories, but a let down from an otherwise excellent SB advertiser.

This just doesn’t work. No one ‘mmus’ and no one ever will ‘mmus’.

Martin Scorsese, Jonah Hill and Coke would make you think you’re on to something. Just shows you all the money in the world does not make great advertising.

Jon Laughlin is group creative director for Milwaukee-based marking and advertising firm Laughlin Constable.

Get our email updates