Brands that advertise during the Super Bowl are gambling.
They're gambling that the time and money they have spent on making and flighting the ad that they have chosen to run during the most important ad moment of the entire advertising year, is going to resonate with the majority of the audience who see it - and most importantly, build a positive connection with that audience in the years to come.
The annual collection of Super Bowl ads is like taking a cultural polaroid of America.
It's a snapshot of how brands are reflecting the American social zeitgeist - back at America.
So as somebody who pays very close attention to change; and how almost non-existent, faint signals of change may offer us some useful insights into the opportunities that this change might signal in the future- I have been carefully pawing over this years crop of Super Bowl ads with a growing sense of optimism.
First things first - that halftime show:
This year's halftime show was co-hosted by Shakira and J.Lo and it's safe to say that it was a smash hit. The performance was one of the best ever Super Bowl halftime shows. It's remarkable because no matter how seemingly conservative the US appears to have become politically, culturally it seems that America is anything but where they were in the 1980's. Diversity and inclusively was the order of the day - which really is in stark contrast to what the presumed narrative of the day.
The NFL made a bold political statement:
The NFL is a multibillion dollar sports franchise that does not gamble with money. The owners of the NFL are fine tuned to betting on a sure thing. The are masters of growing their brand and strategically positioning it for lucrative future prospects.
So the fact that the NFL ran an ad that strongly rides against the entrenched Trump-mindset that you would assume to be their bread-and-butter target market; tells me that the leadership of the NFL doesn't foresee rightwing forces to be of any meaningful consequence in the future.
This ad is a big statement; and one that in 20 years time, will show that the NFL, as a forward thinking organisation, were on the right side of history in 2020.
A tech company outlined what its tech will never be able to do:
Technology can do some amazing things, but what almost all companies don't really understand is how their innovation is causing their very customers to feel incredibly anxious about the progress.
What last did you hear and average person walk out of a 'Future of Technology' presentation and say "Sho that was super reassuring - I feel so much better about the fate of the world now"?
So isn't it refreshing that Verizon focused their Super Bowl ad on their new 5G offering; and then promptly outlined everything that it can't do without people.
Technology without recognising the value of people is risky. Verizon recognised that and brought the conversation right back to the humanity of the innovation.
As divided and hostile as what we all might think the USA is right now, brands are stepping up and showing a different side. Corporate America have recognised the urgent need for hope and are happily supplying that demand.
More: Best Super Bowl ads of 2020 - Cherryflava