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The 8 best Super Bowl commercials, from an ‘Edward Scissorhands’ sequel to Michael B. Jordan’s Alexa

Winona Ryder and Timothée Chalamet spoof “Edward Scissorhands” in an ad for Cadillac. (Cadillac)
It’s tough out there for ad agencies. If there was ever a Super Bowl when they had to hit exactly the right tone — not too “In these challenging times,” but also not too glib about a global pandemic; not pretending our country has no problems but also not purporting to solve them, like Pepsi’s infamous 2017 Kendall Jenner ad — this was the year to walk that tightrope. Plus, there was the added challenge of filming with coronavirus restrictions. A few were obviously green-screened. Tonally, many fell spectacularly flat. And overall, it was a weak year for commercials, thanks to an overreliance on bland celebrity cameos. No instant classics were born on Sunday night.
But in these challenging times (we know, we know) a handful of spots made us laugh, and one made us mist up. And only one of them referenced covid. The pandemic was inescapable, represented in the stands with the cardboard cutout fans, and it was visualized in the halftime show, with the dancers’ plague doctor-esque masks. But maybe what we wanted from our commercials was the chance to pretend that everything was normal — at least, until we can drink beer and eat chips together again.

 

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