The ratings for the Grammy Awards slid to a nine-year-low last year—but that has not stopped a slew of big-name marketers from buying ad time in this year's edition, which airs Sunday on CBS. Lincoln, Apple, Oreo, Pepsi and Intuit are among the brands running commercials. Last year, an average of 19.8 million people tuned in, down 24 percent from 26.1 million the year prior, according to Nielsen.
The 2018 audience still outnumbers the top-viewed scripted series of this year—CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," which through the first 14 episodes of its final season is averaging 12.8 million viewers, per Nielsen. Last year, CBS fetched about $1.2 million for 30 seconds of Grammys airtime, taking in a total of $96 million, up from $90 million the year before, according to Kantar Media. By comparison, Super Bowl ads lure roughly $5.3 million for 30 seconds on average.
Below, a look at some of the ads that will be running during Sunday's show, which is hosted by Alicia Keys.
Serena Williams, who starred in a Super Bowl ad for Bumble, is featured in an ad for the Ford-owned luxury brand called "Sanctuary" that shows her taking respite in a Navigator amid a rainstorm. Lincoln will also run a spot called "Namesake" that shows Abraham Lincoln peering out the window at shiny new Navigator. (Never mind that the world's first automobile was invented after his 1865 death.) The spot is timed to run days before Lincoln's Feb .12 birthday. Both ads are by WPP's Hudson Rouge.
After running "Animoji" ads in last year's show, Apple Music is back with"Memoji" ads featuring Ariana Grande, Khalid and Florida Georgia Line. Apple is a Grammy regular, promoting its subscription music service, and it even has billboards with Animojis in Los Angeles. The Grande and Khalid commercials come with a disclaimer because they were enhanced using professional editing.
Aflac, a Grammys partner, continues its campaign of explaining what exactly it does (spoiler: not auto insurance). The company worked with Publicis on the spot.
The software company will break a new campaign with a 60-second commercial that addresses inequality and promotes the idea that everyone, even those living paycheck-to-paycheck, deserve to live the life they want. The commercial stars Luisa, a female entrepreneur with humble roots, and follows her journey to prosperity—of course, with the help of Intuit. The campaign was created and produced by Intuit's agency-of-record, Phenomenon.
The brand's new "Fuel Your Destiny" spot from BBDO New York depicts seafaring explorers in the 1400s, including one guy who is sad because Dunkin' doesn't exist, prompting an inspirational Dunkin'-filled speech by his captain. (The spot and a 60-second version for social media were directed by Andreas Nilsson, whose directing credits including work for KFC, Old Spice, and the Jean-Claude Van Damme Volvo Trucks spot "Epic Split.")
The cookie brand tapped rapper Wiz Khalifa and his young son to star in its new "Stay Playful" campaign, which includes a 30-second commercial from the Martin Agency. A 15-second version was released on Feb. 7. See that below.
The Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned flavored malt beverage brand will push its new Ritas Spritz offerings, which are positioned as a new twist on the wine cocktail. The Grammys ad—which features women the brand called "The Ritas"—will air in 12 markets, including Atlanta, Orlando and Miami.
The luxury auto brand will air a spot called "The New Renaissance," which features hip-hop star Sir the Baptist and his song, "Movin." The ad, by Walton Isaacson, first debuted last month.
Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jeanine Poggi, I-Hsien Sherwood, Jessica Wohl, Garett Sloane, Anthony Crupi
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that all three Apple ads were professionally edited. Only the Khalid and Grande ads were enhanced. Also, the name of the ads is "Memoji," not "Animoji."