Super Bowl Alert: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is back, food 'porn' is out

Also, safety plays a role in this year's Big Game ads

By Published on .

Good afternoon Super Bowl junkies,

I'm Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age's senior editor, here with the latest edition of our Super Bowl Alert. With less than two weeks left until the game, Ad Age is bringing you breaking news, analysis and first looks at the high-stakes, big-game commercials—all in our Super Bowl Alerts newsletter. Sign up right here to get it in your email.

Buffy's back

Yesterday we received a glimmer of hope that Sarah Jessica Parker may revive her Carrie Bradshaw character from "Sex and the City" during the Super Bowl in a spot for Stella Artois. Now Olay has revealed that it has tapped Sarah Michelle Gellar and will play homage to her roles in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Scream 2" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer." You can watch the 19-second teaser #KillerSkin here.

While the final count is far from in, it seems like female celebrities will be in greater abundance during Super Bowl LIII. Aside from Gellar, Christine Applegate will star in M&M's commercial, Jessica Wohl reports. M&M's announced Applegate's appearance with a 15-second teaser released Tuesday afternoon in which the actress clearly isn't happy to be locked out of an SUV in the parking lot of a grocery store. The brand's spokescandies aren't seen in the teaser, but here's guessing that they're the ones keeping her outside the vehicle, where she grows increasingly frustrated.

So windy

A puppy and Clydesdales will once again appear in one of Budweiser's Super Bowl ads, but the real star of the spot from David is the wind. The ad, called "Wind Never Felt Better," shows the Clydesdales galloping through a wind farm, complete with Bud-branded turbines, E.J. Schultz reports. On-screen text states that Budweiser is "now brewed with wind power." While Budweiser will air a 45-second version of the commercial in the Big Game, you can watch the one-minute version here.

Pets take precedence

WeatherTech is taking a different approach in its Super Bowl ad: Instead of focusing on its "Made in America" messaging, it will use the Big Game for another cause – pet protection and health. Its 45-second spot made in conjunction with Pinnacle Advertising will promote its new PetComfort feeding system. A teaser released this week shows a Golden Retriever with a voice over: WeatherTech is taking American manufacturing to a whole new level and will change the way you feel about feeding your pets.

Soundtrack

Rita Ora's song "Soul Survivor" will appear in Bumble's first Super Bowl commercial starring Serena Williams. Bumble is really playing on women's empowerment, with lyrics like: "I'm a soul survivor, I made it through the fire, I started with nothing, I've got nothing to lose." The social networking app released a new behind-the-scenes video of the commercial on Wednesday.

Homerun?

Baseball and peanuts are an obvious combination. It seems that's what Planters is banking on in tapping retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez to appear alongside its mascot Mr. Peanut in its Super Bowl commercial. In a teaser released Wednesday, Rodriguez is shown catching nuts in his mouth, which it turns out are being tossed over to him by Mr. Peanut. What's funny is the teaser was released just two days after Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez announced their 10-day no carbs, no sugar challenge to their fans on social media, Wohl reports. The challenge ends days before the Super Bowl, so maybe Rodriguez will be shown eating some honey roasted nuts in the Planters spot.

Not safe for Super Bowl

We simply can't get through a Super Bowl it seems without one brand having an ad rejected. At this point, it seems like marketers do this purposely just to garner attention. This time Kraft's frozen food brand Devour was banned from using the word "porn" in its Big Game commercial, Wohl reports. So instead, it released the 60-second "racy" version online. "My boyfriend is addicted to frozen food porn," the girlfriend in the commercial begins. "He watches it at least two or three times a day." Devour will air a 30-second, CBS-approved version of the ad on game day, but you can watch the "uncut" version here.

From the archives: Devour certainly isn't the first brand to have their ad banned and use it as an opportunity to generate buzz. In both 2013 and 2014 SodaStream's Super Bowl commercials were banned and GoDaddy has experienced its fair share of ad censorship, including for one featuring race car driver Danica Patrick and a beaver.

Speaking of safety…

A home security company will air a Super Bowl ad for the first time and will play upon the nation's fears in the process. While SimpliSafe will not reveal the ad until the Big Game, the spot "acknowledges the amount of fear and anxiety in the air right now, and offers a simple way to face that fear," Rob Baird, chief creative officer at Preacher, said in a statement.

Pimple popping

The counter-Super Bowl programming has simply gone too far. TLC is getting in on the game with a marathon of "Dr. Pimple Popper" they are calling "The Poppy Bowl." So instead of watching brawny men tackle each other, you can watch people pop their acne.

More predictions

Given the reach of Sunday's championship games and the seemingly endless media narratives that will be spun over the next two weeks, Anthony Crupi says it is hard to predict how that will translate to Super Bowl ratings. "As much as the NFL's ratings boomlet would seem to support the thesis that Super Bowl LIII should put up significantly higher numbers compared to the year-ago broadcast on NBC, the data say otherwise," he writes.

Our Super Bowl ad chart keeps on growing. Walt Disney will air an undisclosed number of spots in the Super Bowl. It is unclear which films it will promote, but if we were to guess, we'd expect to see Disney's live-action "Dumbo" and its reboot of "The Lion King," and possibly "Toy Story 4." When it comes to Marvel contenders, there's "Captain Marvel" and the follow-up to last year's "Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame."

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