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2021 Super Bowl Commercials: Super Bowl or Super Bust?

Our Founder and President, Kathy Cunningham, weighs in on the best and worst of the 2021 Super Bowl commercials.

Some might say the commercials of Super Bowl LV were a bit flat like Matthew McConaughey in this Doritos ad, but in the end, the winning TV commercials were interesting and the old faithful brands, like Tom Brady, got the job done.

Doritos 3D Super Bowl Ad

Storytelling at its finest.

The story was very intriguing, and we anticipated the payoff at the end; most importantly, how could you forget the product 3D DORITOS!

Telling a relatable story is half the battle, and who hasn’t felt a little flat this year and in need of a junk food pick me up? This ad was fun and memorable.

Super Bowl Ads Cost 5.6 Million Dollars – Is it worth all the Money and Effort?

Tide’s Super Bowl ad, Jason Alexander Hoodie

Tide always makes my top 10 list; the Talking Stain ad from 2020 is an all-time Best Super Bowl Commercial.  This year’s Jason Alexander’s Hoodie ad was a winner because when the product stands out in the humor – that’s the difference between a funny super bowl ad and a winning ad! We must remember the product and its benefits.

Brands Giving Back

Extension activities online make spending the big bucks on a TV spot worth it.  Tide has an online contest to win a Jason Alexander hoodie when you give to charity, with contributions split between Feeding America® and Matthew 25: Ministries. Tide understands that customers today want to spend money on brands that give back.

Besides Humor and Celebrities, what else did the Best 2021 Super Bowl Commercials Deliver?

Emotion is a powerful tool for engaging consumers and telling memorable stories. I think Indeed artfully captured the sentiment of a nation trying to get back to work.

This well-produced favorite had a very timely message and pulled us in psychologically. A good commercial has a clear hero and INDEED shared the hero position with its customers by telling the individual stories of people looking for a job and their quest for a new opportunity.

Music also draws us in and sets the mood for this consumer-centric message. The song RISE UP was sung by a TikTok star, Christian Shelton, a 19-year-old Las Vegas college student who has earned millions of likes online by covering pop songs. The song is captivating, and Christian’s story helps generate interest and social media engagement with the brand.

What’s Different About the Commercials in the Super Bowl 2021?

Brave brands that took on the struggles of 2020 and 2021, like the pandemic and the political climate, were rewarded with success. But when we think of the funniest super bowl commercials, we don’t always think of political correctness. Bud Light Seltzer managed to capture all our frustrations in one hilarious commercial and one well-known phrase. They even got an in-game shot of a “dude in the stands” holding a sign for Bud Light Seltzer.

Bud Light Seltzer with Lemon:


This ad was silly and family-friendly, just like the brand. Using recognizable pop culture references like Karens, mansplaining, and gender reveal mishaps all as reasons for a little gift of joy and happiness.

How Do You Get the Most Out of a Super Bowl Ad?

Alaska Airlines:

Alaska Airlines took an important subject and made it fun, using a catchy tune and dancing employees. This ad features 11 real employees, a worthy public relations story, which got the video viewed over 70 million times before it made the big game.

Tying in a social media contest and asking viewers and customers to upload their own “Safety Dance” at #AlaskaSafetyDance sweepstakes. Ten randomly selected winners will get a pair of roundtrip travel vouchers to anywhere Alaska flies, making this spot even more buzzworthy.

The Worst 2021 Super Bowl Commercials – Who Missed the Mark?

General Motors – No Way

The No Way Norway spot by GM had big laughs and celebrities, but did we get it? What was GM trying to sell us? What was the call to action?

The end tag was GM 30 new EVs by 2025; I think we are concerned about getting through this year and not at all interested in what is coming in 2025. General Motors has some creative social media activities and hashtags like #YesWayAmerica#EVerybodyIn​, but as far as getting their $5.6 million worth… NO WAY!


This ad was a little too “home video” looking for me. We expect to see the best commercials ever made in the Super Bowl; brands spend a lot of money to buy time and need to spend just as much money on the production.

I think last year’s MC Hammer “Can’t Touch This” spot way more funny, relatable, and on target.

Funniest Super Bowl Commercials of 2021

Also on my best in show list are newcomers to the big game, Michelob Seltzer and Jimmy John Sandwich.

Michelob Seltzer “Superstars”:

Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, Brad Garrett Meet the King:

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