As Americans, we can’t help but plant ourselves on the couch to cheer on athletes competing against their sport’s best in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

As consumers, we can’t help but stay on the couch even when the commercials are airing. Brands are expected to spend a record-setting $1.2 billion in ad sales for this XXXII Olympiad.

Which ones are worth their weight in gold? Here’s our color commentary:

Airbnb – Homes With Pools

A seamless extension of their Made Possible by Hosts campaign, Airbnb features Team USA synchronized swimmers, Anita Alvarez (Kenmore’s own) and Claire Barton, at a gorgeous home in Santa Rosa, California. The spot doesn’t have much copy. It opens with the host’s name then jumps right to a vacation photo montage of the women enjoying their stay, including some synchronized fun in the house’s beautiful pool. 

The use of Olympic athletes isn’t forced. Instead they are featured in very natural ways that highlight how Airbnb hosts can accommodate their very unique needs. The ad ends simply with “Homes with pools, made possible by Hosts.” The messaging is clear, clever and timely: Airbnb hosts have homes for everyone – even Olympians.

P&G – Your Goodness is Your Greatness

P&G’s spot built on a highly successful campaign for them. This ad progresses the overall story from the brand’s Thank You, Mom commercial, which aired in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. 

Narrated by parents, the spot shows several Olympians and Paralympians achieving amazing feats of athleticism and kindness. The touching voiceover packs the same sentimental punch established in Thank You, Mom with lines like, “I’m proud of you for doing the things we could all be doing. The things you do, not for yourself, but for others.” It ends with a simple tagline, “Your Goodness is Your Greatness.” Simple and sweet, but not maudlin. 

P&G knows their lane well and will have everyone wondering where this story goes in Beijing in 2022.

Lilly – Our Collective Health

From the jump, Lilly addresses a couple elephants in the room. “After being postponed for a health…” is the opening line and alerts the viewers that this spot is going to tackle different broader subjects.

It then directly addresses how America is not the healthiest country, even if our Olympic athletes give the opposite impression. The spot quickly shifts to hopeful and calls for us to come together to make our collective health a priority, and not take it for granted again. A line that delicately nods to the handling of COVID-19 in this country.

As a medicine company, Lilly is a brand that can broach these topics and have it feel trustworthy and authentic.

Dick’s Sporting Goods – There She Is

The use of an old timey song in commercials and movie trailers has become a bit of a gimmick, but you can’t deny its stopping power. When scrolling through your phone on a commercial break, the song usually sounds just enough out of place to get you to look up.

Dick’s Sporting Goods embraces this phenomenon, but gives it more meaning too. Their Olympic spot uses Johnny Desmond’s “There She Is,” a song that is played yearly when the new Miss America is crowned. Except we aren’t seeing any pageant waves here. The spot is full of women throwing punches, wrapping injured fingers and doing flips as Desmond croons “There she is, Miss America. There she is, your ideal.” The juxtaposition is poignant and leads into the only on-screen copy, “Every body. Every athlete. Every season – starts at Dick’s Sporting Goods.”  

And voila, now we suddenly want to buy a mouthguard!

Toyota – Start Your Impossible

Devoted to Toyota’s mobility products, the spot features Olympians and Paralympians delivering motivational lines directly to camera with action erupting behind them.  

The script is goosebump-inducing from start to finish. It opens with Lakey Peterson (Surfing) saying, “You could be me,” then quickly transitioning to Bebe Vio (Wheelchair Fencing) asserting, “Actually, you could be better than me.” This fast pace continues with Toyota products not so subtly shown throughout, including their concept robot and LQ car, which uses technology to build a bond between the vehicle and its driver. The music builds to a nice crescendo for the spot’s best line in “You don’t need to be amazing to start, but you need to start to be amazing.” The end card features, which is a landing page for Toyota’s mobility initiative that provides more information on each solution.