Soups On! How Advertisers Fared in Pop Culture’s Biggest Pressure Cooker
Ryne Eversman | Social Media Specialist

America’s pastime. The biggest sporting event of the year. One of television’s most-watched events. Two soups enter and one leaves in a steaming bowl of victory!

Okay, not really. But since we’re not allowed to say S**** B***, Souper Bowl will have to do.

Averaging more than 100 million viewers annually over the last decade, the draw for brands looking to reach new heights is as irresistible as chicken noodle soup on a sick day. But sadly, not everybody likes chicken noodle soup. And not everybody liked your ad. Just sayin’. So let’s explore the five biggest winners and losers of last night’s commercial marathon, subjectively speaking:

Baby Nut

Baby Nut is a legume risen from the ashes of Mister Peanut with a little help from the tears of the Kool-Aid Man and a heartbroken Mr. Clean Man. Duh. Clearly taking inspiration from the recent success of its predecessors Baby Groot and Baby Yoda, some parts of this worked. Some parts didn’t. 

For one thing, it is always interesting to see how a brand’s multi-layered advertising plans will play out. Will people be invested? Will people get it? Will people care? And on this front, the ad is successful. 

But what does it really achieve? Will Baby Nut reach the same level of borderline cult reverence as Baby Yoda? Probably not. Will Planters sell more peanuts? It’s too soon to tell. Will I laugh every time I say Baby Nut until I join Mr. Peanut in the big nut bowl in the sky? Yeah, probably. 

Rating: 6.5/10

Doritos

Gun slinging cowboys. Sam Elliot’s mustache. The wild west. Sam Elliot’s mustache. Horses in the back. Sam Elliot’s mustache. Cheesy fingers. And, of course, Sam Elliot’s mustache. The night didn’t really get much more entertaining than the dance battle down at “Cool Ranch.”

Did it reinvent the wheel? Maybe, I don’t know, we’re talking about chips, not cars! But the ad was entertaining, culturally relevant, and highlighted the clearly-superior-yet-often-overlooked Doritos flavor, Cool Ranch.

Rating: 8/10

Google

“I’m not crying, you’re crying” was the collective reaction to Google’s sucker punch of emotion that was their Souper Bowl offering. Giving us an abridged performance of the first 15 minutes of “UP,” Google’s “How Not To Forget” ad stands out amongst the crowd of commercials trying to cash in on emotional capitalism. 

It doesn’t matter that these are features of the Google Assistant you will probably never use. It doesn’t matter that we are in the middle of a data privacy crisis. What matters is that Google, instead of trying to trend a hashtag or become the hot topic of the moment, used the moment to show how their products can actually make a difference in people’s lives. 

Many people argued that this commercial raises issues about data privacy and collection, but that shouldn’t be the center of this discussion. Everybody knows that Google, among others, are collecting our data and that doesn’t seem like it will be stopping anytime soon. Key takeaway: sometimes things are just nice and we should just let them be nice. 

Rating: 9/10

Political Advertisements

It is not to say that politics don’t belong in football, because that is just untrue to an irresponsible point. Between Kapernick, Kneeling, and more, you don’t have to look far to see politics working its way into the NFL. 

Donald Trump took it a step further last night and aired a re-election campaign ad highlighting Alice Johnson, a woman granted clemency with help from none other than Kim Kardashian West, under the premise of “bringing families together.” 

While the NFL and the Big Soup Game are becoming an important talking point for discussions on class, race, police brutality, domestic abuse and more — there are some things that should just be left in the vault.

Rating: LOL.

Representation

Okay. It’s not a commercial as much as it was a surprising theme running through the evening. But we’re still happy to see it nonetheless! From a record number of queer creators being featured in commercials to women leading the charge to a more diverse future in STEM to a halftime show showcasing an explosive celebration of latin power and pride on America’s biggest stage — Souper Bowl LIV shows a marked shift in advertisers and brands making statements that not even ten years ago would have been considered an irresponsible business move.

While a more diverse advertising approach still does not change the turmoil surrounding the many issues of the NFL, these brands are still making a statement that there is still good change happening in spite of the bad. Check out a few of our favorites:

Another year has come and gone. Another year where people still don’t give broccoli cheddar soup the respect it deserves. 2020 may not have had the best commercials we have ever seen. Actually, it might have included some of the worst. But the bright spots still managed to shine through brightly and make it an event the world gladly ate chicken wings to. 

With the advertising landscape being as unpredictable as it is, next year’s commercials could look entirely different. But we can all take comfort in knowing that at least one thing won’t change. We still won’t be allowed to say Super Bowl. Oops.

Ryne Eversman

Ryne joined our team as a Social Media Specialist in 2019. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2016 but has been tweeting nonsense much longer than that. His specialties include copywriting, social media strategy, data reporting, and clicking "remind me later" on computer updates until the day he dies.

Prior to joining Elasticity, Ryne worked with clients in the automotive industry that ranged anywhere from Honda and Chevy to Ferrari and Lamborghini. In his free time, he enjoys eating, breathing, blinking, talking about chickens, exercising (his right to vote,) tying his shoes, reading the farmer's almanac, and talking about drag queens. He thanks you for coming to his Ted Talk.

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