As people who love a good ad, the Super Bowl is always about more than just the delicious snacks and action on the field. The ads we appreciate most are those that deliver on the 4 types of empathy reminders we’ve seen emerging from brands over the last few years: Kindness, Vulnerability, Unity, and Awareness. And we saw all these reminders emerge in 2021’s Super Bowl ads in ways that made us laugh and cry.

Now, let’s recognize some of the brands (and agencies!) that incorporated these reminders into their Super Bowl ads. They made the effort to deeply understand the people they seek to engage and that’s always something we at The Sound are down for.

 


Kindness: The olive branches, thoughtful gestures, and acts of selflessness in service of individuals. Those “pay it forward” moments from brands remind us how rewarding it can be to be a little nicer to one another.


 

M&M’s (BBDO)

We all do little shitty things to other people (whether knowingly or not!) and M&M’s might help an apology carry a bit more weight.

Procter and Gamble (M Booth)

In 65% of homes, chores fall to one person and this ad is a gentle reminder to those other people to pick up the Swiffer every once in a while, too.

 


Vulnerability: An embracing of the strength that is demonstrated by showing our perceived “flaws” and the ugly beauty of real life. These are our shared human experiences of imperfection, lifelong learning, personal evolution and perhaps even hardship we can all relate to.


 

Anheuser-Busch (Wieden+Kennedy)

When life serves up the unexpected, grabbing a beer with people who can support or commiserate with you does often just make everything feel better. This ad is even more empathetic because it reflects how much we’re missing these casual, “let’s grab a beer” moments, and how keen we are to get back to them.

Squarespace (In-house)

Not everyone’s lucky enough to love their day job (and with the job market being what it is, no one’s eager to jump ship) so Squarespace helps make side-hustle dreams a reality.

 


Unity: Despite the deep divisiveness surrounding us today, these are demonstrations of the ways we’re connected.


 

Jeep (Doner)

The paragon of a Unity reminder and who better than The Boss to tell us about it.

 


Awareness: An effort to spark a collective shift in attention to macro-level causes that are ripe for awareness building. Brands have shone a spotlight on issues that are important for humanity, the greater good, and the future-proofing of our world.


 

Chipotle (Venables Bell and Partners)

How we grow our food does affect our future and this cute kid ponders all the facets that have potential to have an impact.  Extra points for the snarky older sister who’s the voice of so many people wanting to ignore these facts. 

General Motors (McCann)

Electric vehicles are the future and maybe stoking some competitive spirit can help US adoption.  Claps for making us laugh vs. feeling terrified about what might happen if we don’t get on board. 

 

Let us know which other ads you would have included in this #Empathy round-up. You can click here to read more of our thoughts on Empathy and here to see how we help brands develop great advertising without killing ideas.

Contact Sandy at [email protected] to chat more!

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