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How Super Bowl Ads Tell Stories That Go Beyond the Game

In the universe of Super Bowl commercials, we find a unique blend of artistry, storytelling, and cultural impact that transcends the boundaries of traditional advertising. These commercials are not mere intermissions in the world’s most watched sporting event; they are, in their own right, a spectacle that rivals the game itself. In this article we’re not just exploring advertisements; we’re delving into a realm where each commercial is a narrative masterpiece, a cultural phenomenon that resonates with millions.

Crafting Stories That Resonate (1980s-1990s)

Rewind to the late 20th century, a time when Super Bowl commercials started morphing from straightforward product plugs into full-blown, emotion-packed narratives. These weren’t just ads; they were mini-movies with heart and soul. Consider the legendary “Hey Kid, Catch!” by Coca-Cola. A young fan, a Coke, and Mean Joe Greene – it’s a narrative so touching, it could melt the coldest heart. This ad has been recreated and parodied across media, proving its timeless appeal.

Coca-Cola’s “Hey Kid, Catch!” (1980)

Then came Nissan’s “Pigeons” in 1997, marking a foray into animated storytelling. This commercial wasn’t just a humorous break; it was a showcase of the era’s cutting-edge visual effects and animation, adding a playful twist to the Super Bowl ad lineup.

Nissan “Pigeons” (1997)

A New Millennium of Narratives (2000s)

As we stepped into the 2000s, advertisers embraced the rising tide of technology to weave richer, more complex stories. The commercials of this era didn’t just catch your eye; they captured your imagination. Advertisers harnessed the power of technology to craft stories that were not only visually captivating but also rich in imagination and creativity. Take, for example, EDS’s “Cat Herders.” This ad brilliantly used humor and metaphor to depict the challenges faced by businesses, leaving a memorable imprint on its audience.

EDS “Cat Herders” (2000)

The Decade of Emotional Connectivity (2010s)

The 2010s marked a new era in Super Bowl advertising, one where emotional connectivity became the cornerstone. Ads like Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” in 2014 were not just commercials; they were emotional journeys that connected with viewers on a deeper level, illustrating the power of storytelling in forging a bond between brand and consumer. This heartwarming tale of a puppy and a Clydesdale horse is a masterclass in emotional storytelling. It’s a narrative that captures our imaginations and hearts, proving that sometimes, the way to the viewer’s wallet is through their heart.

Budweiser “Puppy Love” (2014)

Interactive and Immersive Story Experiences (2020s)

Welcome to the 2020s, where commercials are more than just passive viewing – they’re interactive experiences. Advertisers are now creating narratives that invite the audience to play an active role. Now, in the 2020s, we are witnessing a revolutionary shift towards interactive and immersive advertising experiences inviting the audience to play an active role. Commercials like Mountain Dew’s “Major Melon” in 2021 are redefining the viewer’s role, transforming them from passive spectators to active participants in the narrative. Viewers were engaged in a bottle-counting challenge, blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment.

Mountain Dew “Major Melon” (2021)

Embracing the Narrative Future

As Camille Geier, Nice Shoes’ Chief Production Officer, eloquently puts it, “The shared cultural experience of watching these high-profile spots enhances our sense of community. For many this moment in time can be just as impactful and memorable as the actual game.” These commercials are more than fleeting pitches; they’re enduring narratives that resonate deeply with audiences.

From the nostalgic Budweiser frogs of the 90s to the dystopian vision of Apple’s 1984 ad, these stories become cultural landmarks. They’re not just selling a product; they’re crafting a shared experience, a moment in time that lingers in our collective memory.

In the grand tapestry of Super Bowl advertising, we see a canvas that invites storytellers to weave narratives that captivate and resonate. It’s about crafting experiences that forge connections, transcending the immediacy of the game to create touchstones that viewers feel, remember, and cherish.

At Nice Shoes, we believe in the power of a good story, rich in emotion and humanity, to anchor a brand in the minds of its audience. It’s about elevating the concept to something greater than a pitch—it’s about creating a narrative that’s not just seen but felt and remembered. And that, dear readers, is the art of crafting a Super Bowl commercial that’s not just nice – it’s unforgettable.