Super Bowl

Why Skittles' Super Bowl Ad Won't Include Marshawn Lynch

The Brand is Sticking to a Celebrity-Free Quirky Approach

By Published on .

Advertising Age Player

Marshawn Lynch, who could be the world's most popular Skittles fan, is playing in the Super Bowl. But the Seattle Seahawks star won't be in the brand's Super Bowl ad. Indeed, there won't be a single celebrity in the 30-second spot, according to the brand.

Rather, the ad, by DDB Chicago, will use the brand's signature quirky style.

"If you are trying to inspire your creative teams, starting off with a celebrity tends to pigeon-hole you," said Matt Montei, senior marketing director of confections and seasonal at Mars-owned Wrigley, which owns Skittles. "It just gives you fewer degrees of freedom. So in order to get the best creative, especially on the biggest stage, we started off with the brand voice."

That voice, as he described it, often puts a twist on reality.

Skittles on Thursday released a teaser for the spot (above), which shows several people in what looks to be a small desert town who all have one arm that is more muscular than their other arm. The spot promotes the "SettleIt" hashtag. Mr. Montei declined to reveal the storyline, or other creative elements.

Unlike a lot of other advertisers, Skittles does not plan to release the full ad early. "Waiting until the [Super Bowl] day is kind of what you would expect from an unexpected brand," Mr. Montei said. "Showing it early kind of removes that element of being unexpected."

The brand seemingly caught a break when Mr. Lynch's Seahawks team made it to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. The running back's love of the brand is well known and his obsession has brought Skittles plenty of free PR over the years. Last year, Skittles struck a deal with Mr. Lynch in which it created a limited-edition "Seattle Mix," with packs featuring the Seahawks' blue and green colors that were made available in Seattle.

Skittles plans to make the Seattle mix again this year, Mr. Montei said. But regarding other potential promotions involving Mr. Lynch, "we don't have anything else to share at this point," he said.

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