Let’s be honest, a lot of us are in it for the dip… and the commercials.

The impact on a brand’s equity when they show up at the Super Bowl can be significant, because the messages they deliver don’t just get eyeballs on Sunday night. The conversation continues well into Monday and beyond during what’s become our virtual watercooler talk.

And while Super Bowl advertising tradition dictates a heavy dose of slapstick humor, we’ve also been seeing a tremendous amount of humanity coming through.  We especially love when empathy comes through alongside humor…and not only when we’re shedding a tear.

Empathy is always a hot topic at The Sound and that’s precisely the lens through which we watched the ads. We looked for brands delivering on the 4 Empathy Reminders we’ve seen emerge in recent years – Kindness, Vulnerability, Unity and Awareness.

We applaud these brands (and agencies!) for incorporating empathy into the work they brought to the big game this year!


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

New York Life (Anomaly)

New York Life described Agape (love as an action) and showed how when you act on your love and do something to express it, you’ve taken one of the bravest steps of all.

Toyota Highlander (Saatchi and Saatchi)

A woman (hey, Colbie Smulders!) used her Highlander to save the day by rescuing people who, in movie-worthy dramatics, self-sacrificed their own comfort and safety for that of others.


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.

Google (Google Creative Lab)

The ad we can’t stop watching and feeling with over and over again tells the story of a man using Google Assistant to not forget the love of his life, Loretta.

Coca-Cola Energy (Wieden+Kennedy)

Coca-Cola Energy showed us the vulnerability all people feel (no matter how famous or successful!) when we text ‘where the hell are you’ and all we get are the dreaded three dots and wait and wait… and wait.

Dashlane (Lightning Orchard)

Super Bowl first timer Dashlane brought to life the epic struggle of forgetting our damn passwords even when we’re given loads of hints to help us remember.

Rocket Mortgage (Highdive Advertising)

Rocket Mortgage reminded us that everyone needs a place to let down their guard and just be their true self….even if it’s really different than the self they show in public. (We don’t care, Jason. We’re still obsessed!)


Unity: Despite the seemingly divisiveness surrounding us today, these are demonstrations of the ways we are connected that transcend our divides. Brands can hold up a megaphone to share rallying cries that bring us together!


Facebook highlighted some of their many groups that bring together different people with common interests and now we kinda wanna join the Front Porch and Clonehenge groups.

Snickers (BBDO NY and AMV BBDO)

Facebook highlighted some of their many groups that bring together different people with common interests and now we kinda wanna join the Front Porch and Clonehenge groups.

TurboTax (Wieden+Kennedy)

We’ve all heard the saying only three things are certain in life: birth, death and taxes. TurboTax gave us a catchy, Tik-Tok worthy dance in the lead up to tax season and reminding us that we might all be more united that we think.

Procter & Gamble (Grey)

The winner of the “killing the most birds with one stone” award (a.k.a. “selling the most brands in one ad” award), P&G preached unity by reminding us we can solve problems if we just work together.


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.

Microsoft Surface Pro (McCann NY)

People aspire to be what they can see and Microsoft made visible Katie Sowers, the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl. Sowers will undoubtedly inspire many girls just by virtue of her existence.

Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold (FCB)

Less than 1% of farmland is organic so Michelob ULTRA shone a light on that problem and offered an easy and meaningful solution to help make a change.

WeatherTech (Pinnacle Advertising)

In what was perhaps one of the least self-serving Super Bowl ads, WeatherTech unwaveringly encouraged viewers to donate to University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Plus… dogs!!!


Conclusion: 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 learn more about how much we love helping brands develop great advertising.

And click Here to sign up to get emails on our news and views.


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