Hello Super Bowl junkies,
I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s senior editor, counting down the final days to Super Bowl LV. With kickoff just days away—CBS will air the game on Feb. 7—Ad Age brings 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.
Super Bowl Alert: Boss sighting, back to nature, and social bowl kicks off
Hello Super Bowl junkies,
The Boss sighting
Could it be true? Bruce Springsteen, who has actively avoided appearing in ads, might finally be in a big one—Jeep's Super Bowl commercial, Ad Age's E.J. Schultz writes. Local media reports out of Nebraska documented his travels in the state in recent days that appear to be related to shooting a Big Game ad for the car brand.
Getting Springsteen to appear in an ad would certainly solidify the notion that more A-list celebrities were willing to lend themselves to these efforts with productions on many movies and TV shows delayed—and music tours postponed.
There’s no question the pandemic has upended the ad game. From who is in—and out—of the Big Game, to the tone of the spots and who is being featured, this year’s commercials are poised to look vastly different.
One important trend is the dearth of automakers expected to air commercials in the game this year. Autos has long been an outsized category on game day, but currently there are only three automakers confirmed to air in-game national ads—General Motors, Toyota and Jeep owner Stellantis, Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports. Car retail site Vroom is also running an ad. Five brands that advertised in last year’s game—Hyundai, Genesis, Audi, Kia and Porsche—have confirmed they are sitting it out, while other auto brands that have run ads in recent years are also a no-go for national ads, including Ford, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, according to company representatives. Last year, six automakers consumed a total of seven minutes and 30 seconds of airtime.
Other trends include a large batch of advertiser newcomers, themes of nostalgia and a push for more inclusivity.
Back to nature
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's is one of only a handful of Super Bowl advertisers that will directly address the pandemic in its Super Bowl commercial. In its first Big Game ad, the outdoor retailer will celebrate nature as a place viewers can turn to during these "trying times," Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes. The spot shows consumers planning their journeys, before switching to images of forests and lakes, mountains and a sunrise.
The retail chain is not the only brand entering the Super Bowl with a message about the outdoors. Scotts Miracle-Gro, which has seen sales skyrocket as consumers invest in gardening and backyard improvement, tapped Martha Stewart and John Travolta for its big game debut.
Triller changes course
Despite initial plans to buy its first Super Bowl commercial, Triller has decided to go a different route instead, writes Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. The video app tried to produce a spot for this Sunday’s contest, but the plans fell through, according to the company. Instead, Triller, a fledgling mobile video app trying to break big with creators and brands, is doing a promotional event with another startup called VersusGame.
Brands will certainly lean on social platforms on game day, either to extend their Super Bowl ad buy or to find a way into the conversation without actually having to shell out $5.5 million.
Cheetos, Verizon and Mtn Dew are building out their Super Bowl ad buys with interactive social strategies, while brands like Avocados From Mexico are looking to use social to engage with fans through virtual experiences, Ad Age's Ilyse Liffreing writes. Cutwater Spirits is even launching a sweepstakes with a well-known comedian. At the same time, social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are sharing stickers, filters and hosting events to boost chatter.
Guaranteed Rate is the latest mortgage lender to join the Super Bowl fray (Rocket Mortgage also has plans for two commercials). The company will make its Super Bowl debut with a spot featuring dramatic footage of athletes from various sports, but not football, in its quest to capture the attention of viewers during a major surge in business, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports. Then, it shifts to a message around the dream of buying a home or refinancing, showcasing the brand.
Guaranteed Rate also the latest first-time Big Game advertiser, with currently 20 newbies making their first foray. And like many other first-timers, the brand is has seen tremendous growth during the coronavirus pandemic.
To keep track of all the advertisers running national spots in the game, bookmark Ad Age’s regularly updated Super Bowl ad chart.
Scaling the mountain
Ahead of the highly anticipated launch of ViacomCBS’s new streaming service Paramount+, which will take the place of CBS All Access next month, the media company has rolled out an epic six-part campaign showcasing the best of the platform’s talent that will culminate in a 60-second commercial during this weekend’s Super Bowl, Ad Age's Ethan Jakob Craft writes. More than two dozen stars are represented in the multi-part marketing saga, which shows celebrities like Patrick Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Gayle King, DJ Khaled and “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, scaling a mountain. They are joined by some animated characters too like Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, and Beavis and Butt-Head.
The Weeknd spills
In a press conference today, The Weeknd revealed some details surrounding the halftime performance, Variety reports. "Due to COVID and for the safety of the players and workers, we kind of built the stage within the stadium. We’re also using the field as well, but we wanted to do something that we’ve never done before," he said.
That's it for today’s Super Bowl Alert. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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