Super Bowl

Super Bowl Alert: The First Ad Drops, Auto Buys In, Groupon Goes Viral

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The gates are opening

Stella Artois is the first big-game brand to reveal its creative for Super Bowl LII—a spot starring Matt Damon promoting Water.org. Watch it here.

And more marketers are finally divulging their Super Bowl plans.

Kraft will continue with its real-life family push in its Super Bowl ad, which will feature real families rather than actors, Jessica Wohl reports. This is the first big-game ad for brand Kraft, which previously used its Super Bowl outlays to sell its Heinz ketchup, Mio water flavoring drops and Planters nuts. It's similar to the strategy being adopted by Intuit, which will air its first Super Bowl spot for the corporate brand this year, having previously ran ads for its QuickBooks and TurboTax brands.

In the auto category,Toyota bought 120 seconds of commercial time and Lexus is running a spot tied to Marvel's "Black Panther" movie, E.J. Schultz reports. They join Kia and Hyundai, which will also run ads in the big game. Last year, eight auto brands appeared in the Super Bowl. So far one of them, Honda, has said it will sit out this year's match.

A Super Bowl commercial for one?

That's Skittles' plan. As seems to be the case every year, some marketers try to catch a ride on the Super Bowl publicity machine by conspicuously and elaborately not airing a Super Bowl commercial. Newcastle did it brilliantly in 2014 with a video of actress Anna Kendrick complaining about how the brand promised her a Super Bowl commercial but backed out. (Kendrick said in the video that she was surprised she got the call. "I don't think of myself as like beer-commercial babe hot, you know?" she says. "I mean I'm hot but like approachable-hot. Like the hottest girl in your improv class-hot.")

This year, Skittles, which has run Super Bowl spots in the last three years, will instead make what it calls a big-game worthy commercial for only one person, a teenage boy from Los Angeles, Whol reports. It's certainly a clever PR stunt and a way to avoid coughing up the $5 million NBC is charging for 30 seconds of air time. As of 1:17 p.m. ET on Tuesday, his Twitter account had 5 followers, including two Ad Age staffers; let's see if that number picks up.

Every year business journalists have to decide how much attention to give marketers that try to cash in on the Super Bowl without paying up for an ad. A lot depends on the execution.

Creative routes

Then there are the marketers that can't buy national Super Bowl ads. Last year wine brand Yellowtail found its way around Anheuser-Busch's Super Bowl category exclusivity by buying up a chunk of local spots in the game. The company is at it again with another big local buy in Super Bowl LII. (Local spots are not included in Ad Age's constantly growing tally of Super Bowl ad buys.) To support its Super Bowl spot, Yellowtail is deploying a branded food truck from celebrity chef Jeff Mauro, which will make 32 stops in nine markets before arriving in Minneapolis for the game. Yellowtail says it will reveal its Super Bowl ad (cough, local Super Bowl ad) before game day.

Viral story turns into Super Bowl ad

"Girls Trip" star Tiffany Haddish has parlayed her viral Groupon story into an ad gig that includes a Super Bowl spot. Haddish, who became the first black female stand-up comedian to host "Saturday Night Live," recently told Jimmy Kimmel about taking Will and Jada Pinket Smith on a Louisiana swamp tour that she bought on Groupon. Haddish ranks in the top 1 percent of most frequent Groupon purchasers, according to the company.

Where are the women?

As marketers begin revealing their Super Bowl creative in earnest this week, all eyes will be on how big-game brands depict women in their commercials. That goes beyond featuring scantily clad women, which hopefully no one will be foolish enough to do. Amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Super Bowl ads will be under microscopic scrutiny for how and whether they represent women at all.

In last year's Super Bowl LI, more than 2.5 as many leading ad roles went to men than to women, 61 for men compared with 23 for women, according to Ad Age's analysis which excludes movie trailers and TV promos. That's just slightly better than five years earlier, when men got more than 3 times as many key parts as women—60 for men and 18 for women. Of the ads that included adult humans (and excluding move trailers), 14 didn't include any women while just 1 lacked any men.

And while the abject objectification of women in Super Bowl ads has waned, the big game was once a breeding ground for some deplorable stereotypes of women. We take a look at some of the worst offenders.

Slow burn

Last week, Adweek asked a different question: Where are all the brands? The claim: that by this time last year more marketers and brands had already announced their ad plans. But it seems like marketers are following a roughly similar timeline as in recent years. And although there were some early-January releases from Intel last year, most of the creative didn't emerge before the last two weeks leading up to the game.

Five minutes of Olympics ads

With NBC airing the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang just four days after the Super Bowl, it's not a surprise the Peacock network will be out in full force promoting the games during the Super Bowl. As USA Today reports, NBC will air five 60-second ads during the big game featuring life stories of Olympic athletes. What's different about these house spots is NBC has tapped director Paul Hunter, a veteran music video director, to create them.

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