While the Weeknd’s Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show was certainly the musical moment to watch on Sunday (Feb. 7) night, the commercials during 2021’s Super Bowl were undoubtedly every bit as buzzy. With unannounced surprise spots from A-listers (Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and MF-in’ DRAKE) and the return of two beloved Gen X properties (Edward Scissorhands, Wayne’s World), plenty of can’t-miss moments happened off the field at Super Bowl LIV.
Hats off to State Farm for landing none other than Drake for its Super Bowl ad — and keeping it under wraps until the big game itself. Twitter was naturally like “wait, did that just happen?!” when the blockbuster rapper popped up playing a stand-in for Jake from State Farm. Jake didn’t let Drake sing the State Farm “like a good neighbor” jingle, but fingers crossed that an OVO remix (perhaps featuring co-star Paul Rudd) will drop soon.
Another surprise get came with T-Mobile’s Super Bowl ad, a hilariously shady meet-cute tale that ostensibly told the story of how the seemingly diametrically opposed musical celebs Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton ended up together. It involved Adam Levine, a poor cell connection, some clever writing, and a whole lotta secrecy to keep it under wraps until its Sunday debut.
Some Good Buds
Post Malone, Cedric the Entertainer, the Bud Knight, the guy who tearily says “I Love You, Man” and other Bud commercial fan faves teamed up for Bud Light Legends commercial. With Budweiser’s advertising focus shifted to Bud Light, we have truly entered a PostMapocalyptic World.
I Just Opened My Mouth and Out It Okurrrrrr
It’s a testament to the brilliant simplicity of the Wayne’s World concept that in 2021, 32 years after the first sketch appeared on Saturday Night Live and 29 years after the classic film, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey can reprise their instantly recognizable roles, riff on the same shtick they’ve been doing for decades and still produce one of the most memorable, joyous highlights of the biggest TV event of the year. An UberEats ad encouraging people to eat local when restaurants are hard-hit by the pandemic (perhaps order some pralines and dick ice cream?), Cardi B stopped by for a tongue roll and to try on Garth’s clothes.
Hamilton star Daveed Diggs’ Sesame Street pair-up for DoorDash was undoubtedly the most adorable thing to happen during Super Bowl LIV’s runtime. Wearing a truly incredible sweater that Fred Rogers would have approved of, Diggs strolled down a street (of the sesame variety) with Big Bird, encountering hibachi chef Grover and Cookie Monster baking – believe it or not – cookies.
Cheating Meets Cheetos
When Mila Kunis was caught orange handed sneaking real-life husband Ashton Kutcher’s Cheetos, she turned to Denial Icon (DenIcon?) Shaggy for a 2021 rework of his 2000 Hot 100 No. 1 “It Wasn’t Me.” Whether it was Shaggy’s fly purple smoking jacket or Kunis’ innocent eyes, Kutcher bought the bald-faced lie, leaving Shaggy to quip, “That’s the first time that’s ever worked.”
9 to 5 and Other Odd Ads
Dolly Parton re-recorded her iconic 1981 Hot 100 topper “9 to 5″ as “5 to 9″ for SquareSpace to salute those working after hours to make their dreams come true.
With Winona Ryder and a perfectly cast Timothee Chalamet as Edgar Scissorhands, Cadillac’s Super Bowl ad was a cut above the rest – a shear joy to watch, any way you slice it.
Why Don’t You Just Meet Me to the Middle
Bruce Springsteen’s “The Middle” Super Bowl ad for Jeep urged us to put fear aside and focus on what connects us. Like many of the Boss’ own lyrics, the narration was a heartfelt and earnest meditation on America that never crossed the line into platitude.
Paramount’s ads for the Paramount Plus streaming service were pretty damn solid, with an ongoing narrative that lead up to a mountaintop summit where, among other things, Stephen Colbert served cocktails for the inestimably charming Patrick Stewart while SpongeBob SquarePants sang his boxy yellow ass off. If that’s what’s involved, hard to argue.
Lil Nas, Big Look
For Logitech’s “Defy Logic” campaign, rapper/social media charm king Lil Nas X saluted the “ground breakers, creators, streamers and dreamers” bringing their dreams to reality. The ad features a tease of his upcoming single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and reveals that when LNX gets earnest, he’s a legit inspirational speaker.
Boasting more plot than any Super Bowl commercial has a right to, a bearded Will Ferrell’s farcical anti-Norway commercial for General Motors – featuring Kenan Thompson and Awkwafina – was also funnier than nearly everything else during a year when many of the ads were comparatively muted.