Super Bowl LV Ad Recap: Which Brands Won the Big Game?

The dust has settled on this year’s Super Bowl. And while it was abundantly clear who took home the win on the field, the off-the-field battle between advertisers requires some additional analysis. In 2021, 67 different brand spots (and 87 ads overall) generated $481.2 million in est. ad revenue for CBS, plus 6.3 billion TV ad impressions.

What else did we learn from this year’s game? A sample of our top takeaways:

New Kids on the Block:

With stalwart advertisers sitting out the Super Bowl, an influx of newcomers arrived in their place. In total, 24 different brands made their Super Bowl debuts, including Chipotle, DoorDash, Huggies and State Farm — among many others. Long-timers weren’t completely out of the game, though. Budweiser didn’t advertise, but issued a pre-Super Bowl spot and fellow ABInBev brands Bud Light and Michelob Ultra both appeared in-game. Pepsi didn’t air a commercial, but still sponsored the halftime show.

Funny vs. Empowering:

Humor is a Super Bowl ad staple, but data from Ace Metrix Creative Assessment shows “funny” ads declined by 9% year over year. The main beneficiary? Empowering spots, which made up 31% of spots in keeping with a prevalent creative theme visible throughout most of 2020.

Star Power:

Celebrity appearances have been trending upward for years in Super Bowl ads, and 2021 was no different as brands from Amazon to Cheetos, General Motors, and more utilized high-profile stars to get their message across. Excluding entertainment ads, nine of the top 10 brand spots by Digital Share of Voice* all had celebrity appearances. The moral of the story for brands? Employ one if you plan on buying premium Super Bowl ad time.

There’s plenty more to share around Super Bowl results, between top emotions, audience demographic data, most buzz-worthy ads, and additional TV ad trends and highlights that stood out during this year’s game. Download our final report today to learn what made the top Super Bowl LV spots successful.

*Digital SOV is the percentage of Social Actions and Earned Views generated by the spot compared to all others. This is the primary measurement used to rank the performance of Super Bowl ads.