The search for the top TV spot in the Super Bowl was easy: Google.

In a Super Bowl filled with spots that relied on excess to stand out, the stand-out spot was one of the simplest spots of all: “Loretta” from Google.  It was unfunny, un-football, un-Super Bowl– and ultimately, unforgettable.

The ad only shows a Google screen.  The first search is “how not to forget,” which seems innocent enough. But as the spot continues, we realize the narrator is an older gentleman asking Google to remember details about his life with his deceased wife, Loretta.

The spot is simple, poignant, relatable and demonstrative:  everything that, in my opinion, makes a spot great.  This was clearly the top spot in a somewhat weak field, compared to previous years.

My second favorite spot is Amazon’s “Before Alexa.”  It’s memorable, shows the product benefit and demonstrates the product by demonstrating life before the product.  Fun moments of topical humor (presented in ancient times) and a “reward” for watching all 90 seconds with a musical “button” at the end.  Bonus points for featuring a gay married couple as the stars.

Rounding out my Top Five:

3. Cheetos Popcorn “Can’t Touch This.”  Fun, demonstrative, clear product benefit.  Just too much MC Hammer.

4. Hyundai “Smaht Pahk.”  Strong demonstration of product benefit (sensing a trend here?).  But the reason I like it is it was the only representation of New England in the Super Bowl.  Zingah!

5.  Jeep “Groundhog Day.”  Because everything is better when Bill Murray is in it.

The big loser of the night?  Tide.

Remember Apple’s Super Bowl spot called “Lemmings?”  Of course you don’t.  That was the follow-up to perhaps the best TV spot of all time, Apple’s “1984.”

Which is why Tide never should have tried to top the “Is it a Tide Ad?” campaign, which I believe is one of the top five Super Bowl campaigns of all time.

This year’s spots, featuring Charlie Day and Emily Hampshire ,try to similarly inhabit the other commercials around them, but it just doesn’t work.  It’s really hard to capture lightning in a bottle the second time – without getting zapped.

On a positive note, along with the Chiefs, diversity and inclusion won.  Brands did a better job of representing modern society by giving more lead roles to women (Olay, Microsoft, Audi, Hard Rock, Pepsi) and casting more diverse lifestyles (Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness, Lil Nas X (who came out as gay last year) and, oh yes, two drag queens. 

Hopefully, we won’t have to search hard for similar inclusion next year.

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