Good afternoon Super Bowl junkies,
I'm Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age's senior editor, here with the latest edition of our Super Bowl Alert. We are heading into the final stretch. As we quickly approach Super Bowl LIII 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 them in your email.
Amazon's "Big" secret
Amazon may not have officially said it will air a Super Bowl commercial, but on Friday it released a series of teasers indicating as much. The company said it was introducing a program that employs celebrities to beta test Alexa-enabled technologies. The celebrities involved include Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson and the Kelly Brothers.
From the archive: This would be Amazon's fourth consecutive Super Bowl appearance. They first began advertising in the Big Game in 2016 with an Alexa ad starring Alec Baldwin. Last year's spot included Cardi B, Gordon Ramsey, Rebel Wilson and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
One thing robots can't do
Robots can do lots of things these days, like deliver packages and assist surgeons. But they can't drink beer, or at least enjoy it the way humans do. That's Michelob Ultra's message in one of its two Super Bowl ads released today. Watch it here.
Jeff Bridges created plenty of buzz on Thursday when he posted a tweet of himself dressed as his character from the 1998 movie "The Big Lebowski." "Can't be living in the past man. Stay tuned," Bridges tweeted. The clip hints at a Super Bowl appearance, with the date "2.3.19."
Can't be living in the past, man. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/zL2CLYhGAM— Jeff Bridges (@TheJeffBridges) January 24, 2019
If true, Bridges would join Sarah Michelle Gellar, and possibly Sarah Jessica Parker, in reviving iconic characters.
The Backstreet Boys try to teach Chance the Rapper how to do some of their signature dance moves in the latest teaser for Doritos.
No more stink
Febreze won't be returning to the Big Game. The Procter & Gamble brand ran an ad in 2018 starring a man whose "bleep don't stink." It ran its first Super Bowl ad in 2017 in an effort to remind people to stock up on Febreze ahead of the Big Game the way they do beer or snacks.
Bon & Viv gets shout out from real "Shark Tank" judges
Anheuser-Busch InBev's Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer released its 30-second spot on Thursday. The ad stars two mermaids and a reference to "Shark Tank"—yes the show on ABC, not CBS, which is broadcasting the Super Bowl. E.J. Schultz emails: The brewer said it did not coordinate with the show, or seek approval, under the assumption that it would be protected legally because it is a spoof. But shortly after Ad Age's story went live, it gained notice from a couple of "Shark Tank" cast members, Kevin O'Leary and Barbara Corcoran. Her tweet amounted to a plug for the brand.
Spiked seltzer? I'm IN! https://t.co/Rm1HD1TRFh— Barbara Corcoran (@BarbaraCorcoran) January 24, 2019
On the other hand, O'Leary, aka "Mr. Wonderful," demanded royalties. (He is possibly kidding.)
This is an outrage! Where is my royalty?https://t.co/ZHU2y4vo0b— Kevin O'Leary (@kevinolearytv) January 24, 2019
At any rate, the tweets lent more attention to the ad as the newly reformulated brand is trying to raise awareness -- not a bad thing. An AB InBev spokesman reiterated that "there was no coordination with the show or anyone that appears in the show. Those posts are organic."
Too many stunts
Here at Ad Age our inboxes are being flooded with brands eager to get some Super Bowl attention without actually buying ads. The number of marketers staging such stunts seems far greater than in year's prior, especially among food brands.
Jessica Wohl emails a roundup: Oikos, the NFL's official yogurt (now you know the league has an official yogurt), isn't returning with an ad. The Dannon Greek yogurt brand ran ads in 2012 and 2014. This year, it's playing on the name of its Oikos Triple Zero products. If the Patriots and Rams combine for 1,000 offensive yards or more (one-comma-Triple Zero) it will offer free cups of Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt to fans in most states.
And if the game goes into overtime like it did in 2017, Buffalo Wild Wings plans to give away free wings.
NFL sponsor Pizza Hut is having some name fun ahead of the game. On Twitter, its handle is now @PizzaHutHut. Over on Instagram, it's still pizzahut but it added that extra "hut" in its bio. And USA Today reported that one Atlanta restaurant got the name change as well.
Hardee's is playing on football lingo, offering free sausage biscuits if any "biscuit" (slang for an easy interception returned for a touchdown, aka Pick 6) is returned for a touchdown. Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison, whose 100-yard Pick 6 in Super Bowl XLIII is the stuff of legend, is promoting the plan on social media.
And Adweek reports that Frank's RedHot will offer prizes to people who tweet about other brands' ads during the Big Game.
I was on "Entertainment Tonight" on Thursday talking Super Bowl trends and celebrities. Here's the clip.
Bookmark our Super Bowl ad chart, which is the most current look at all the marketers confirmed to air national spots in Super Bowl LIII.