Hellmann's becomes latest unlikely entrant into the Super Bowl
Out with the Bud. In with the mayo.
Unilever’s Hellmann’s is joining a growing list of first-time Super Bowl advertisers as the first mayonnaise brand in the game with a 30-second spot to air in the third commercial break of the second quarter. Its entry is part of a major rotation that has seen such brands as Budweiser, Coke and Pepsi skip the game as seemingly unlikely brands like Huggies move in.
The ad from Wunderman Thompson will feature Amy Schumer, who also shows up in a 15-second teaser. It’s all really about the Unilever brand’s deeper purpose—reducing food waste.
Like all Unilever brands under a 2019 mandate by CEO Alan Jope, Hellmann’s went looking for a purpose beyond the purely functional. Last year, amid the disruption caused by pandemic-related restaurant closings, the brand helped prevent 1.2 million pounds of food from going to waste by redirecting it from farmers’ fields or distribution centers to food banks.
Though Heinz has been in the game previously with ketchup ads, the Super Bowl is a seemingly unlikely spot for Hellmann’s if only because it's not often seen as a game-day food, and the $5.5 million cost of a 30-second spot there is nearly a third of the $16.9 million the brand spent overall on TV last year, per iSpot.tv.
But eliminating food waste at home makes perfect sense, since mayo is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make leftovers into second-day meals—such as turning chicken into chicken salad—says Ben Crook, senior marketing director for the brand in North America.
“Often people aren’t really aware of what they’re doing,” Crook says. “They go through this cycle where they have really good intentions at the start of the week, and as the week goes on, it gets busier, food gets lost in the refrigerator, goes past its sell-by dates, and unfortunately food becomes wasted. We as a brand believe food is too good to be wasted.”
Hellmann’s can be the solution, Crook notes, because “you can use Hellmann’s in fajitas. You can make creamy casseroles. You can even use it in chocolate cake.”
The Hellmann’s “Make Taste, Not Waste” Super Bowl spot was created by director, screenwriter and producer Peter Farrelly, who won 2019 Academy Awards and Golden Globe honors, among others, for “Green Book” in 2019.
Details of exactly how Farrelly and Schumer will convey the drama of eliminating moldy leftovers from our lives will have to await game time. But Unilever's goal is to take a big chunk out of the 40% of food in the U.S. that is wasted, 43% of which comes from homes, according to ReFED, a national nonprofit that works to reduce U.S. food waste. Hellmann’s is giving $100,000 to ReFED.
The ad is part of a larger Hellmann's effort to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of cutting food waste 50% by 2030. That will include Hellmann’s joining Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic to push for federal standardization and clarity of food date labels. Unilever says consumers waste $29 billion in food annually because of confusion over what date labels mean.