Super Bowl

Super Bowl Alert: Girl power!

Planters makes its first Super Bowl buy; Olay and Bumble push female empowerment

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Credit: Olay

Good morning Super Bowl junkies,

I'm Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age's senior editor, here with the latest edition of our Super Bowl Alert. In the weeks leading up to the game, Ad Age will bring 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.

That's nuts

Kraft Heinz's nut brand Planters will air its second ever Super Bowl ad, Jessica Wohl reports. The 30-second spot will air in the second quarter of the game and feature the Mr. Peanut spokesman character and an unnamed celebrity. The tagline is "always there in crunch time," and it appears Motley Crue is working on the music for the spot. VaynerMedia, a Super Bowl newbie, is handling creative for Planters. Vayner will also be handling a Budweiser Super Bowl spot.

From the archive: Planters aired its first Super Bowl ad in 2008 that shows a woman with a unibrow using cashews as a perfume and receiving adoration from the men around her.

Beauty buy

In a rare buy for a beauty brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay will make its first Super Bowl appearance, Jack Neff reports. While nearly half of NFL viewers are female, just a quarter of the ads aired during football games feature women in leading roles, says Stephanie Robertson, director of North American skincare for P&G. "We want to change this dynamic by reaching women on TV's biggest stage with a message that we hope viewers will find entertaining," she says.

Olay is the first beauty brand in the game since 2017 when it ran a spot for It's a 10 haircare poking fun at President Donald Trump's hair. The last women's beauty brand to air an ad in the Big Game before that was Unilever's Dove in 2006, though the brand's male counterpart Dove Men+Care ran ads in 2010 and 2015.

Female empowerment is a theme Bumble, another Super Bowl newcomer, will also lean into during this year's game. The spot from the social-networking app starring tennis pro Serena Williams is focused on women making the first move in dating, friendship and business. In a teaser for the ad, which you can watch here, Williams is on the tennis court. "We are just as strong, and just as smart, and just as savvy, and just as business-like as any other male in this world...Now it is time to really show up and tell our story the way it should be told," she says in the clip.

While Bumble calls itself a social networking app, many people still very much think of the company as an online dating platform, leading some Ad Agers asking the question: Why is Williams, who is married with a child, the face of a dating site? Answer: Bumble has expanded beyond dating into friendships and professional networking, and has tapped Williams to help push those businesses, but it will likely still cause some confusion.

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.

Saying goodbye

In remembering Carol Channing, who died at the age of 97 this week, plenty has been said about her roles in some of Broadway's biggest musicals. But Channing also was the first celebrity performer for a Super Bowl halftime show in 1970. Channing discussed her experience performing "When the Saints Go Marching In" in a Guardian article in 2016.

"It was like an opening night on Broadway, except we didn't have much time to prepare for that first appearance. It felt a little like an after-thought. It must have been well received, because they asked me back two years later."

Leave politics at the door

Two-thirds of consumers say the Super Bowl is an inappropriate place for advertisers to make political statements, according to a Morning Consult Poll conducted for the Wall Street Journal. Marketers seems to agree; most Super Bowl advertisers steered clear of politics last year and are expected to do so again this year. Thus far, it seems those marketers who have revealed their Super Bowl plans will lean more heavily into humor. Anheuser-Busch said earlier in the month that it would avoid anything political.

Speaking of politics, Variety reports that Travis Scott, who will be performing with Maroon 5 and Big Boi during the Halftime Show, consulted with Colin Kaepernick before confirming his Super Bowl appearance. Scott only agreed to perform if the NFL would donate money to an organization that helps end injustice.

Elsewhere in the sports world

Former NBC Sports ad sales chief Seth Winter has been tapped to tackle an analogous role for the new-look Fox, Anthony Crupi reports. Neal Mulcahy, who has been with Fox since 1987 and has served as executive VP of sports sales for the past 14 years, will remain with the company through Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl LIV, or Feb. 2, 2020.

Hyundai -- a Super Bowl advertiser -- has no plans to renew its sponsorship deal with the NFL when it expires after this season, Vince Bond Jr. reports. It had been a sponsor of the NFL for the past four years.

Crupi also provides an update on NFL ratings: According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the four Wild Card and four Divisional Round broadcasts averaged 30.4 million viewers and a 17.2 household rating, which works out to a 10 percent improvement compared to last year's analogous games. Seven of the eight postseason showdowns put up higher numbers than their year-ago counterparts, with only CBS's coverage of the Chargers-Patriots blowout failing to deliver a larger audience than the comparable game in 2018.

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