Big game ads: Our top five

By Lucas Leverett
February 10, 2021

Big game ads: Our top five

At MarketReach, we do a lot of work for big brands, and we see their marketing materials in a lot of stages of development. An average day is filled with messages and visuals from our phenomenal stable of clients, and you might imagine we’d be tired of seeing such things by the time, say, a highly anticipated major sporting event rolls around.

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to sit back and enjoy the work of others. But which ads struck a particular chord with our team of industry professionals? Surely such a group is bound to be particularly opinionated about the annual extravaganza of TV ads accompanying the contest for the Lombardi trophy, after all!

As one of the newest members of the MarketReach team, I set out to pick the brains of my peers on this topic—an annual obsession of mine for most of my career. Each year I conduct my own rankings, opine with colleagues and friends both online and … well … online, since we’re still all working from home in 2021. Playing armchair quarterback with massive ad budgets and creative is not only fun, but a good exercise for anyone working in or adjacent to the industry.

To kick off our list, we have a multi-way tie for fifth place in our office poll, including “Alexa's Body” from Amazon, “Drake from State Farm,” and “Wayne's World & Cardi B's Shameless Manipulation” from Uber Eats. However, the standout impression left by “The Neighborhood” from DoorDash resonated in nostalgia with Senior Proofreader Craig Clarke.

My love of words and wordplay likely began with Sesame Street,” Craig shared. “I especially appreciate their skillful use, as in Hamilton. Put these two together—Daveed Diggs hanging out in the neighborhood with Super Grover—and I don’t care what you’re selling. You have my attention.”


Moving up the scale to position number four, we’ve got “The GOAT in 5G” from T-Mobile:

"Hello? It’s Tom Brady and Gronk!" —Lyn Porter, Traffic Manager


Coming in at number three is “No Way Norway” from GM:

Simply put, Will Ferrell cracked me up! It was perfect laugh-out-loud material—and I clearly remembered GM when it was over.” —Anna Pantazis, Account Manager


Our staff-pick runner-up is “It Wasn't Me” with its pitch for Cheetos:

“I chose the Cheetos commercial because it's always great to see the lyrical genius Shaggy back in true form and it was also interesting to see that he aged the best out of all the celebrities in that commercial ... not calling anyone ugly ... just interesting to see.” —Johnathon Busto, Motion Designer


Our first-place champ was “Last Year's Lemons,” introducing Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade.

Since my fellow MarketReach newbie, Proofreader Angie Henderson, was among those who joined me in selecting this favorite, I decided to pick her brain on the appeal of this ad’s clever nod to a tough time and an overused turn of phrase.

“I loved the Last Year’s Lemons commercial because it poked fun at the serious lemon of a year that 2020 was and that no one escaped it,” Angie said. “It represented that we were all in it together, but without getting sappy.”


This year’s lineup of ads was a triumph against adversity no matter which ones you liked. Coming off a time where messages were tricky to craft, creative was harder than usual to get done, talent and crews were balancing social distancing and quarantining safeguards, and so on, such a great body of work from the world of brand promotion is a nice symbol of some sort of normalcy.

We hope you enjoyed a tiny consumer-based escape from the “new normal” as much as we did. If you’re into it, go check out all the ads at the YouTube AdBlitz. It makes for a fun lunch-break screening!

If this advertising has you inspired as much as it does us, start brainstorming for your own creative spin on your brand and see where it takes you!