Who Won the Super Bowl Ad War 2021?

Whether you tune in for some fine athleticism, the half time show or some of the most expensive ads known to man, there’s a special place in everyone’s heart for Super Bowl Sunday.

And we’re not the only ones who think so… Last year’s game alone drew in 100.45 million TV viewers and another 3.4 million pairs of eyes viewed through online streaming sites. This year, the game was estimated to capture the attention of 185 million + viewers making the Super Bowl the most-watched programme in America. And that’s not to mention the millions of other world-wide viewers who for one night only adjust their sleeping patterns to tune in live. (We type yawning into our morning coffee in a time-zone 5 hours ahead.)

With so many eyes guaranteed to be glued to a screen, it’s no wonder there’s an annual battle of the ads where brands compete to put their product in front of the millions of viewers. But this is no easy fight, and participation in the annual battle doesn’t come cheap. With a 30-second ad costing $5.5 million for the airtime alone, you’d better make sure that your ad was money well spent.

So, with no further ado, we’re going to count you down our top 4 ads featured at the 2021 Super Bowl that made our nocturnal night all worthwhile. As for the age-old question – “were they worth the money?” only time (and some serious reporting) will tell…

4. M&Ms, 'Come Together'

An ad that was fun for the whole family was M&M’s ‘Come Together’ where a range of typical 2021 scenarios offer M&Ms as the irresistible apology for topical mistakes. From calling someone ‘a Karen’ to kicking the back of someone’s seat on an aeroplane when trying to recline, there’s no apology too big or too small that can’t be settled by an M&M peace offering.

Why we loved it: A brand that can successfully crack an inside joke with millions of viewers is a job well done in our book.


3. Tide, 'The Jason Alexander Hoodie'

A common theme for a classic Super Bowl ad is a feel-good few seconds that makes us lol -something that’s a lot easier said than done. In the case of Tide’s ‘The Jason Alexander Hoodie’ they did just that. The ad stars a true teenage fan-boy of Seinfeld actor, Jason Alexander and the unhygienic love that goes into his #1 hoodie.

Why we loved it: Not only did Tide deliver a laugh out loud TV ad but the brand brings the campaign to life with the chance to win your own Jason Alexander #TideHoodie. Bonus points were also given to the subtle references dropped in the music choice that sparked online conversation between other members of the Jason Alexander fan-boy/girl community.


2. Toyota, 'Jessica Long's Story'

Toyota chose to go a different route with their Super Bowl ad, changing direction from the usual light-hearted, funny and failing that – annoying ads we’ve come to expect. The ad re-lives the emotional and inspirational story of Paralympic swimmer, Jessica Long.

Why we loved it: The Toyota ad captured our attention and our emotions without showing a single shot of a car – refreshingly it was the companies values at the heart of the ad rather than the product. And just as you’re about to say to yourself “wow, that was moving – but what’s it got to do with cars?” the ad closes by stating Toyota is a proud partner of team USA. The connection is also brought to life on social CTAs with clever copy such as ‘See what drives Jessica’ and the hashtag #LetsGoPlaces


1. Reddit, 'Sorry we crashed your SuperbOwl party'

Who isn’t just totally and utterly obsessed with Reddit these days? Yet again Reddit demonstrated their refusal to reform to the rules. We’ve established it’s a pretty hefty price to show your ad at the Super Bowl, so Reddit decided to slash the price by showing a 5 second ad. And no, that’s not a typo – FIVE seconds.

Spending their first second on what looks to be the start of a super sexy car ad as two (none branded) Land Rovers race over the desert – Reddit then cuts in to display a secret message 120 words long for the remaining 4 seconds.

Why we loved it: No, Reddit haven’t embarrassingly miscalculated the speed of the average U.S. reader, instead they ingeniously predicted that we’d be so intrigued we’d search for the ad and pause long enough to read every word. Which ironically proves their whole campaign message.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have won the game, but in our books, Reddit won the advertising war.


Oh hey keen reader. Still with us? You know what they say, good things come to those who read the full article and we have one final shameless plug up our sleeves as we shoehorn our very own new ad campaign…

MarTech Alliance, ‘Keep Upgrading’

Here it is – the campaign we’ve all been waiting for!


Our ‘Keep Upgrading’ campaign has a playful tongue in cheek nod to the trends of yesteryear, the nostalgic references aim to transport you back to a time where the fads were once cutting edge and remind you how quickly times change.

The world has transformed and digitised - in order to keep up with the times you need to upgrade with them. By upgrading your skills, knowledge, tech and career you can achieve just that.

MarTech Alliance is THE learning solutions business offering marketing technology events, courses and resources.

Keep your eyes peeled for plenty more throwback feels from our #KeepUpgrading campaign.

Connect, learn and manage your martech with MarTech Alliance.