Recapping 2020’s Top TV Ad Creative

TV advertisers dealt with a variety of different challenges in 2020. If shifting audiences, the disappearance of tentpole programming and a politically-charged environment in the U.S. weren’t enough, COVID-19 also created commercial production concerns and a need to adjust messaging to reflect the times.

Despite that, brands responded to the changing demands, and many (18 of the top 25) actually increased TV ad impressions compared to last year. Some of those new creative approaches are reflected in iSpot’s list of the year’s top TV ad creative — which we included in our year-in-review TV advertising insights report.

In 2020, the top 25 spots (by impressions) generated over 140.3 billion TV ad impressions and accounted for 1.1 million minutes of ad time. Liberty Mutual owned five of those top 25 spots, including the No. 1 ad of 2020: “Caricature Artist,” which aired over 43,600 times and racked up 8.3 billion TV ad impressions. Together, Liberty Mutual’s five top spots generated 31.5 billion TV ad impressions, 22% of the total impressions generated by all of the top 25 spots combined. 

Brands like Domino’s were able to lean into food delivery messaging with ads to deal with on-site dining rooms being closed. The pizza brand was responsible for two of the top seven spots by impressions, with both completely geared toward delivery and curbside pick-up services. 

Chase, meanwhile, based brand messaging on its mobile app capabilities and how it prevents the need to go to a physical bank. Its “All Your Banking Needs From Virtually Anywhere” ad had nearly 6.3 billion TV ad impressions, which was sixth overall. Carvana, which has always bought and sold cars online, highlighted as much in its own ads — like “Pioneers of 100% Online Car Buying” (5.4 billion impressions) — to differentiate the brand vs. in-person dealerships.

The top five spots are shown below. But for more on the top ads, brands, industries, and more, check out iSpot’s 2020 TV ad insights report.

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