Super Bowl

Who Bought What in Super Bowl XLVIII

From AB-InBev to Wonderful Pistachios, With Many, Many Marketers In Between

By Published on .

80's icons storm Radio Shack
80's icons storm Radio Shack

Scarlett Johansson got a Super Bowl ad on behalf of SodaStream home carbonation machines. Jaguar tried to interest you in Ben Kingsley and two more "British villains." Stephen Colbert will made his Super Bowl debut for Wonderful Pistachios. And David Beckham hawked H&M in what was billed as the Super Bowl's first shoppable ad.

Chrysler, Audi, Toyota, Volkswagen and other car brands showed up, as always. E-Trade stayed out for the first time in years.

Unfortunately, this ad was only a regional buy. Ford saved money by buying time before kickoff; Esurance won big by buying time after the game, bragging about saving $1.5 million and promising to give the money away (if you tweet "#EsuranceSave30" to enter).

Brands including Tide and J.C. Penney tried to match Oreo's success in real-time marketing last year, even if Oreo itself decided not to try to press its luck.

Apple didn't show up after all, but Microsoft did, with a spot that would've seemed similar to the video Apple wound up releasing on Post-Super Bowl Monday.

Super Bowl XLVIII aired Feb. 2 on Fox from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Fox Sports averaged around $4 million for 30 seconds worth of ad time during the game, media buyers said. The ratings set a new TV record.

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Buy: The brewer's crucial and expensive Super Bowl plans this year added up to three ads for Bud Light; two for Budweiser. The five ads were originally slated to run three and a half minutes, one minute less than the brewer bought in the past two Super Bowls, but one Bud ad, "Hero's Welcome," was expanded to 60 seconds from 30.

Creative: A 30-second spot and a 60-second spot introduced a Bud Light tagline, "The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens," that ended the four-year-run of "Here We Go," and featured Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle and comedian/musician Reggie Watts giving unsuspecting regular guy Ian Rappaport an "Epic Night." Another 30-second Bud Light spot promoted a new aluminum bottle. One 60-second Budweiser ad -- released the Wednesday before the game and embedded below -- brought back the Clydesdale trainer from 2013's well-received "Brotherhood" commercial and spotlighted a bond between a Clydesdale and a puppy. The other Budweiser spot, the now-60-second long "Hero's Welcome," paid tribute to soldiers returning from Afghanistan. In 2013 A-B InBev ran ads for four different beers, including two new line extensions.

Agency: The pair of celebrity-filled Bud Light ads marked the debut of BBDO on the account. Cannonball, St. Louis, handled the aluminum bottle spot. Budweiser's ads are from Anomaly.

Advertising Age Player

Advertising Age Player
Audi of America (Volkswagen)

Buy: One 60-second Super Bowl commercial in the first ad break after the third quarter kick-off, according to Audi

Creative: After releasing a teaser featuring Sarah McLachlan in a SPCA-style "Special Message," Audi posted the full spot nearly a week before the game. It depicts a couple that compromises on their choice of dog, cross-breeding a Doberman with a Chihuahua to yield a Doberhuahua (the subject of Ms. McLaughlan's plea). After chaos ensues, Audi chimes in to say "Compromise scares us too." It's the seventh consecutive Super Bowl appearance for Audi, this time promoting the new Audi A3, which the ad says was "designed without compromise."

Agency: San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners again handled the brand's Super Bowl work. The agency created previous Super Bowl spots for Audi including last year's "Prom" and "Vampire Party" the year before that.

Axe (Unilever)

Buy: One 30-second ad

Creative: Axe released a 60-second version of its planned Super Bowl commercial well before game day. It depicts a series of soldiers and tyrants turning toward love. In 2013 the company used its Super Bowl ad to introduce the Apollo product line and a global contest to send 25 fans into space, or at least the very edge of space, aboard private commercial carrier Space Exploration Corp.

Agency: Publicis Groupe's BBH, London

Bank of America

Buy: One 60-second commercial between the first and second quarter to introduce a partnership among Bank of America, U2 and Red, the group co-founded by Bono to enlist brands in fighting disease, particularly HIV/AIDS.

Creative: The commercial featured Bono and the rest of U2 performing a new song called "Invisible," which was available free on iTunes for the next 24 hours. Bank of America said it would donate $1 for every download in that time, up to $2 million.

Agency: Hill Holliday in Boston and Mad London

Beats Music

Buy: One commercial in the third quarter

Creative: The ad for the new music service, and would-be Spotify challenger, stars Ellen DeGeneres as a Goldilocks type trying out the Beats Music of three bears. She played it for her talk show audience on the Thursday before the game.

Agency: R/GA

Advertising Age Player

Butterfinger (Nestle)

Buy: One thirty-second spot in the second half to promote the new Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, a line extension meant to go head-to-head with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups from Hershey.

Creative: Butterfinger's Super Bowl commercial did not include longtime Butterfinger mascot Bart Simpson, instead presenting a Peanut Butter and Chocolate in couples counseling (and heading toward a threesome with Butterfinger).

Agency: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Dailey in West Hollywood, Calif.


Buy: One 30-second commercial in the second quarter of the game

Creative: Auto retailer Carmax released a 45-second version of its 30-second spot, "Slow Clap," which is about what it sounds like, before the game. Carmax also released a version called "Slow Bark," which wasn't a Super Bowl spot but does recreate the ad with puppies.

Agency: Silver & Partners

Cheerios (General Mills)

Buy: One commercial in the first unscheduled time-out of the game

Creative: The spot, called "Gracie" for its young protagonist and released the Tuesday before the game, brings back the multiracial family from "Just Checking," a commercial that prompted some racist comments on the web but scored well with most consumers. In the new commercial, Gracie's parents use pieces of cereal to explain to their daughter that she is about to have a baby brother.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York

Advertising Age Player

Chevrolet (General Motors)

Buy: Two 60-second ads, both in the first quarter. GM sat out the 2013 Super Bowl, citing the significant cost, but its Chevrolet brand has bought time in the next big game in conjunction with the introduction of 12 cars and trucks between mid-2013 and the end of 2014, according to the company.

Creative: Chevrolet posted one of its ads online on the Wednesday before the Super Bowl. The spot, called "Romance" and embedded below, is meant to be a sendup of the usual earnest Silverado ads, according to the company. The other ad, kept under wraps until it aired, shows a couple driving silently in their truck as the sun comes up, then holding hands. Text urges viewers to join Chevy in celebrating cancer survivors and those who support them on World Cancer Day.

Agency: Both ads are coming from Leo Burnett, which handles Silverado

Advertising Age Player

Buy: One 60-second ad, Chobani's first in the Super Bowl, will run in the third quarter

Creative: The ad, called "Ransacked," shows a bear in a supermarket in a move to depict how hard it is to find "real, natural food." The spot introduces the brand's new platform, "How Matters," which is meant to describe the company's mantra of making "nutritious, delicious foods with only natural ingredients accessible to everyone." Vote between Chobani's ad and the Oikos Super Bowl spot here.

Agency: Chobani's creative agency of record, Droga5.

Chrysler (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Buy: One two-minute ad

Creative: One spot starred Bob Dylan asking whether there's anything more American than America. He concludes by telling viewers to let Germany brew your beer (sorry, Budweiser) and let Asia assemble your phone: "We will build your car."

Agency: Global Hue


Buy: Two 60-second ads, one in the second quarter and one in the second half

Creative: The marketer released one of its two planned Super Bowl spots, the 60-second "Going All the Way," which was shot in Green Bay and shows an underdog high school football player overcoming the odds to score a touchdown. The other featured people singing "America the Beautiful" in various languages.

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy handled both ads.

Advertising Age Player

Doritos (PepsiCo's Frito-Lay)

Buy: Two 30-second spots chosen through the "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, back for the eighth year in a row but open for the first time to entries from people in all 46 countries where the chips are sold.

Creative: Consumers chose one user-generated spot and Doritos' marketing team selected the other. The creators of the winning ads got the chance to work on the set of "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron." The popular-vote winner, "Time Machine," shows a cut kid conning his dad out of Doritos (the supposed fuel for his invention). "Cowboy Kid" shows a brother and sister wrangling for the Doritos. Neither got near the online views of creeptastic Australian entry "Finger Cleaner."

Agency: Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has long assisted.


Buy: Two 30-second ads, one in each half

Creative: One spot features Danica Patrick, the race car driver and longtime GoDaddy endorser, along with many other people running toward a spray tan salon using GoDaddy to host its website. The other featured a real woman quitting her job to start her own business. The company, which started toning down its typical risque approach somewhat in 2013, delivered on a promise of no innuendo in 2014.

Agency: Deutsch New York


Buy: One 30-second spot during the second quarter

Creative: The spot, which features David Beckham being slowly disrobed, was said to let viewers with certain Samsung smart TVs use their remote controls to engage with the commercial and directly buy underwear from Mr. Beckham's Bodywear line, using tech from Delivery Agent.

Agency: H&M said all its ads are produced internally at headquarters in Sweden in cooperation with independent creatives.

H.J. Heinz Co.

Buy: One 30-second spot, only the second Super Bowl ad in the brand's history (the first was 16 years earlier).

Creative: The ad, released on the Thursday before the game, shows people in various scenarios contentedly banging Heinz bottles to get ketchup out. The company previously said the spot will "highlight the belief that when someone picks up a bottle of Heinz Ketchup, they're triggering all the happy memories they've experienced over the years where Heinz was present." The buy is a surprising move for a company that has traditionally spent very little on advertising, given its size.

Agency: Heinz agency of record Cramer-Krasselt

Advertising Age Player


Buy: One ad late enough in the game that its opening line -- "Great game, right?" -- bumped uncomfortably into the reality of a boring blowout in full swing.

Creative: "Hugfest," starring Bruce Willis and Fred Armisen, encourages viewers to hug those near and dear to them as part of a pitch on car safety.

Agency: RPA

Buy: Two commercials during the 2014 game, the seventh consecutive Super Bowl appearance for Hyundai. The marketer posted both online on the Monday before the game.

Creative: One commercial shows Johnny Galecki from "The Big Bang Theory" trying to woo a fellow Elantra driver and includes a cameo by comedian Richard Lewis. The second shows a father repeatedly keeping his growing son from harm before finally teaching him to drive in a Genesis with automatic emergency braking. Last year it offered "Team," about a kid gathering a team to take on some bigger kids, and "Stuck," about using turbo to escape unsavory other drivers.

Agency: Innocean again handled Hyundai's Super Bowl spots.

Advertising Age Player

Advertising Age Player

Intuit and GoldieBlox

Buy: One 30-second spot in the third quarter of the Super Bowl

Creative: Intuit, which makes financial and tax prep software such as Quicken and TurboTax, promised a national 30-second spot on Fox during the game to the winner of a contest for small businesses After online voting produced four finalists -- Poop Natural Dairy Compost, dog treat maker Barley Labs, egg company Locally Laid and Beastie Boys antagonist GoldieBlox -- Intuit finally said that GoldieBlox had emerged victorious. Its ad showed girls building a rocket to a song called "Come On Bring The Toys" -- a new musical retrofit, this time of a song by the U.K. rock band Slade.

Agency: Intuit is working with RPA out of Santa Monica, Calif.


Buy: One 60-second commercial in the third quarter, the first Super Bowl commercial Jaguar has run. The marketer initially secured 30 seconds of time but increased its buy to tell more of a story.

Creative: The first Super Bowl ad for the venerable British brand, part of a months-long campaign promoting the new F-Type, stars British actors Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong as a trio of British villains. The spot was directed by Tom Hooper, who won Best Director for "The King's Speech" at the 2011 Academy Awards. After releasing teasers, Jaguar posted the ads online the Tuesday before the game.

Agency: Internal shop Spark 44

Advertising Age Player
Jeep (Chrysler)

Buy: One 60-second ad

Creative: "Are you among the restless many?" the narrative begins. Images of outdoor scenes, and driving in them, follow.

Agency: Richards Group


Buy: A 60-second ad in the third quarter

Creative: The ad -- a 90-second version of which is embedded here -- stars Laurence Fishburne reprising his role as Morpheus from "The Matrix." Kia is making its fifth consecutive Super Bowl outing to help introduce its new K900 flagship sedan in the United. States. Its spots in the last Super Bowl focused on "space babies" and "hotbots."

Agency: Independent David & Goliath again handled the creative work.

Advertising Age Player

M&M's (Mars)

Buy: One 45-second spot

Creative: Mars debated between featuring Snickers or M&M's this year, and decided to go with the bite-sized candies, whose colorful characters have been featured the past two years in Super Bowl commercials. This year, the brand is putting the spotlight on its peanut variety, featuring the character called Yellow, who first debuted in 1954 but has typically taken a supporting role to the Red character. The ad shows Yellow in the trunk of a car, at risk of being sprinkled over ice cream but oblivous to his fate.

Agency: BBDO

Maserati (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Buy: One 90-second ad

Creative: Various beautiful but jerky imagery, along with a child's breathy voiceover about learning to overcome giants.

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy


Buy: One ad in the fourth quarter, Microsoft's first in the Super Bowl

Creative: A tear-jerker starring former NFL player Steve Gleason, battling Lou Gehrig's disease and using a Surface Pro tablet with eye-tracking technology to speak.

Agency: To be determined

Oikos (Dannon)

Buy: One 30-second spot during the fourth quarter

Creative: Dannon made its Super Bowl debut in 2012 with an Oikos Greek spot featuring actor John Stamos, but skipped the 2013 game because it wanted time to evaluate the long-term viability of the Oikos brand, which launched in mid-2011, as well as the sustainability of the relatively young Greek segment. It returned to reunite Mr. Stamos with fellow former "Full House" cast members Bob Saget and Dave Coulie. That's the full ad, released almost a week before the game, embedded below.

Agency: The concept for the commercial was crowdsourced using Poptent, which handled the 2012 Super Bowl ad with assistance from Y&R. The creative execution of the new ad was handled by Vinizius/Y&R.

Advertising Age Player

Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

Buy: One 30-second spot to promote "Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth movie in Hasbro and Paramount's "Transformers" franchise, due out in June

Creative: Footage from the film

Agency: In-house

PepsiCo Beverage

Buy: One 30-second ad. PepsiCo is a key sponsor of the NFL and is sponsoring this year's Halftime Show for the second year in a row.

Creative: The spot introduces the halftime show with scenes of giant hands playing New York City landmarks like instruments. The ad is part of a larger "Get Hyped for Halftime" campaign that has been running for the past month as Pepsi switches to a "masterbrand" ad strategy.

Agency: Mekanism

Advertising Age Player


Buy: One 30-second

Creative: RadioShack goes where few brands dare and cops to reality. A store employee picks up the phone and announces, "The 80s called. They want their store back." A cavalcade of 80's icons like Hulk Hogan and Alf storm in and tear the place apart.

Agency: GSD&M


Buy: A 30-second spot in the fourth quarter

Creative: The marketer of home soda-making machines made its second straight Super Bowl appearance, this time adding celebrity appeal by employing Scarlett Johansson for its pitch. The theme is "better bubbles made by you," which sounds fairly innocuous, but CEO Daniel Birnbaum promised an "edgy ad," telling Ad Age that the company sought a fourth-quarter time slot because it wanted to get the final word after any Coke and Pepsi ads. Then, predictably and probably all according to brand's PR strategy, its ad calling out Coca-Cola and Pepsi by name was rejected by Fox; another version of the spot that didn't call out the competition ran instead. (Less predictably, SodaStream's factory in the West Bank made Ms. Johansson a target of complaints by people including Pink Floyd's Roger Waters.)

Agency: Humanaut, a new Chattanooga, Tenn.-based shop that has Alex Boguky as a minority investor.


Buy: One ad that was already making the rounds on TV before the Super Bowl

Creative: A home is gradually filled with music represented by colored light.

Agency: 72andSunny


Buy: One 30-second ad

Creative: The commercial, posted online on the Monday before the game, brings all the horrors of browsing the web to life before pitching Squarespace, a website platform and first-time Super Bowl advertiser, as the solution.

Agency: In-house

Advertising Age Player
Subway Restaurants

Buy: One 30-second Super Bowl commercial purchased at the last second

Creative: A spot, aptly dubbed "Crunch Time," promoting its newest product, the Fritos Chicken Enchilada

Agency: Independent MMB of Boston


Buy: Three 30-second ads: one in the second quarter, one in the third and another in the fourth.

Creative: Two ads released the Friday before the game star former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow in scenarios only possible because he's got no NFL contract, like delivering a baby and addressing the United Nations. "No Contract, No Worries" and "Still No Contract" are the first two ads for the phone carrier in the game.

Agency: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners handled the Tebow ads. The fourth-quarter ad is from Publicis Seattle and Riney.

Advertising Age Player

Advertising Age Player
Toyota (Toyota)

Buy: One 60-second spot promoting the Toyota Highlander

Creative: Toyota released the ad the Tuesday before the game. It features Terry Crews driving up to what looks like an abandoned school bus in a Highlander, then getting ambushed by surprise passengers -- Muppets. For the prior Super Bowl, the automaker bought two 30-second slots, then combined them into a comedic 60-second ad starring Kaley Cuoco from "The Big Bang Theory" as a "RAV4 Genie" who grants wishes for a family.

Agency: Toyota's lead agency is Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles.

Advertising Age Player

TurboTax (Intuit)

Buy: One 60-second commercial in the second quarter, according to parent Intuit

Creative: The ad was being created for the Super Bowl but is part of a new TurboTax brand campaign entitled "It's Amazing What You're Capable Of," meant to celebrate hard-working Americans. It bemoans the Super Bowl's lack of appeal to football fans whose teams don't make it in, then suggests taking your day back by doing your taxes and collecting a refund.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy


Buy: One 60-second spot in the second quarter

Creative: A dad tells his daughter that German engineers get their wings every time a VW hits 100,000 miles. Volkswagen released the ad on the Tuesday before the game.

Agency: A spokesman said the creative agency supporting the ad is Argonaut, while "key messaging" for the spot was developed by Deutsch.

Advertising Age Player


Buy: One 30-second ad in the second quarter, according to the company, an automotive floor mat manufacturer

Creative: The ad, a new spot called "You Can't Do That," focused on the product's manufacturing in the United States.

Agency: Schaumburg, Ill.-based Pinnacle Advertising and Marketing

Wonderful Pistachios (Roll International)

Buy: Two 15-second spots in the second quarter.

Creative: Stephen Colbert stars in both spots, marking the beginning of a year-long endorsement deal using the campaign theme "Get Crackin', America."

Agency: The Fire Station, an in-house agency, along with director Tom Kuntz.

Advertising Age Player
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