Super Bowl Alert: Break out the tissues
Hello Super Bowl junkies,
I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s senior editor, counting down the final days to Super Bowl LV. With kickoff less than a week 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.
Robinhood, the trading app at the center of the stock market frenzy around GameStop, will air its first Super Bowl commercial as it deals with the fallout surrounding the controversy. The company will use the Big Game to lean into its mission of democratizing trading, even as that is being called into question. Robinhood was criticized for halting trading of GameStop and other stocks that saw meteoric rises last week, and is now facing dozens of lawsuits as a result. The company apparently considered pulling out of the game, but decided to move forward anyway, according to a person familiar with the situation. Watch the commercial here.
Here come the water works
We saw a few serious and inspirational Super Bowl ads debut today from Toyota, Indeed, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Shift4Shop.
Indeed unveiled its Super Bowl commercial live on Ad Age Remotely this morning, showing real job seekers on their journeys to find employment. Amid historically high unemployment rates, the job site is looking to bring hope to people who lost jobs during the pandemic. This spot also gets high marks for its inclusivity coupled with a beautiful version of Andra Day’s “Rise Up” by Christian Shelton.
Toyota tells the emotional story of Paralympian Jessica Long who was adopted from a Russian orphanage by an American couple. The spot, called “Upstream,” depicts how the couple received the news that Long’s legs would need to be amputated due to a rare condition.
Shift4Shop, a new e-commerce platform, will sponsor the first civilian mission to space, and it is using the Super Bowl to give the 100 million or so viewers who are expected to tune into the game the chance to be a part of the mission. The simple spot, which shows the SpaceX suit shot to a re-make of the classic children’s song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” is meant to encourage people to picture themselves in the space suit.
Anheuser-Busch InBev’s first-ever corporate Super Bowl ad shows the role that beer plays in people’s lives. The spot features a series of scenes in which people share beers during moments of disappointment and sadness.
Back to humor
Now that my tears are dry, we can take a look at some of the more light-hearted spots that also debuted today.
M&M’s leaned into some relatable transgressions—like mansplaining, kicking the plane seat in front of you, and hosting a gender-reveal party where the guests end up covered in blue powder—to show how the candy can help apologize for these irritations. The best of these mini vignettes features two women in an apartment building.
“Sorry I called you Karen,” one woman says to her neighbor. “That’s my name,” says the neighbor receiving the candy. “Sorry that’s your name,” the apologizer says, handing Karen another pack.
Allison Miazga-Bedrick, senior director of marketing for M&M's brand, Mars Wrigley, discussed the creative concept and how it all came together during Ad Age’s Super Bowl event on Tuesday. You can re-watch it here.
Also out today is Uber Eat’s “Wayne’s World” reunion spot; the first Super Bowl ad from the buy now, pay later firm Klarna; General Motor’s corporate spot starring Will Ferrell; Brad Garett as “The King of Cold Cuts” in Jimmy John’s first Big Game ad; and Dr. Squatch’s first foray into the ad game.
See these ads and all the Super Bowl commercials released so far here.
To keep track of all the advertisers running national spots in the game, bookmark Ad Age’s regularly updated Super Bowl ad chart.
Cranberry juice on game day
Don’t forget to make room for the cranberry juice along with all the chips, wings and pizza during the Super Bowl this weekend, writes Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing. Ocean Spray is officially partnering with Nathan Apodaca, aka Doggface or @420Doggface208 on TikTok, for a TikTok campaign that celebrates dance and guzzling down juice leading up to the Big Game. Apodaca became somewhat of a mascot for Ocean Spray on TikTok after generating a ton of publicity for a viral video last October in which he sips on a carton of Ocean Spray while longboarding and lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”
President Joe Biden will sit down for his first formal interview as the Commander-in-Chief, which will air ahead of the Super Bowl, Variety reports. Biden will be interviewed by “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell. It has become somewhat of a tradition for the president to be interviewed on game day. But this sit-down will not air live.
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