Earlier this month we asked "Where are the women?" in Super Bowl commercials. In any other year it wouldn't come as a surprise to see few women featured in big game spots. But even amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, marketers don't seem to be making much of an effort to even appear inclusive.
As of Thursday morning, there were more than two times as many male celebrities than female appearing in Super Bowl commercials (20 men compared with just eight women).
There's certainly fear among marketers to even seem controversial. But beyond that, we will be hard-pressed to see any sort of real change in depictions of women in advertising unless there's a better balance among the people creating the ads.
During a panel hosted by Ad Age and USA Today this week, three Super Bowl creators (all male) discussed gender diversity in Super Bowl ads.
"For corporations, you can do a positive spot about the empowerment of women and then your CEO turns around and he gets caught the next week and it is something that just adds fuel to the fire," says Hungry Man's Bryan Buckley, who has directed nearly 60 Super Bowl commercials.
Anomaly co-founder Jason DeLand, who has handled many Budweiser Super Bowl spots in recent years, says physicality is fine in Super Bowl advertising, but the objectification is "shrill." However, it wasn't lost on him that there were three men were sitting on the panel discussing female empowerment.
Overall, we are dubbing this the #BoringBowl. For the most part we expect advertisers will play it safe and rely on slapstick humor and predictable jokes.
But at least one marketer -- Coca-Cola -- will be out there making a statement, albeit a much tamer one than perhaps in previous years. The beverage giant debuted its 60-second spot, "The Wonder of Us" on Thursday, which features plenty of diverse faces, E.J. Schultz reports.
"There's a Coke for he and she and her and me and them, there's a different Coke for all of us," the spot begins.
The ad is expected to be less polarizing than Coke's 2014 Super Bowl commercial "America The Beautiful," which featured the song being sung in a variety of languages, including Hindi and Senegales.
Steven Tyler will once again appear in the Super Bowl – this time for Kia. It's a smart ad, for sure. Tyler turns back the wheels of time with a lap around the racetrack squaring off against racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi. But instead of zooming forward, Tyler throws his Kia Stinger in reverse, setting off a journey back in time that leaves him younger and wrinkle-free, greeted by screaming fans straight out of the 1970s, Schultz writes. The ad ends with the line: "Feel something again."
From the archive:
The Aerosmith frontman last appeared in the big game in 2016 for Skittles, which included a creepy portrait of the rockstar made of the candy.
Back to the future
Pepsi is going back in time, before the now infamous Kendall Jenner ad, to its most iconic commercials. The spot pays homage to prior spokespeople like Britney Spears and Michael Jackson, as well as a cameo by Cindy Crawford and her son. (There's also a star turn by the DeLorean, the car from "Back to the Future." Watch it here.
It's incredibly odd that the TV network airing the Super Bowl in any given year won't show an ad for a rival network's series, but will allow streaming video platforms (which are probably bigger threats) to promote their original series. This year both Hulu and Amazon Prime Video will use the platform for teasers of upcoming series. Hulu released its spot today for "Castle Rock," based on Stephen King novels.
Earlier in the week, Prime Video debuted the trailer for "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan."
Super Bowl surprises
Quicken Loans is keeping its Super Bowl ad plans close to its vest after its first big-game spot in 2016. The company won't reveal much on the creative direction of its upcoming 60-second ad other than it will highlight its Rocket Mortgage product.
Intuit is getting animated in its Super Bowl commercial. The company, whose brands include TurboTax and QuickBooks, released a short film today, but will hold its 15-second spot until game day.
Super Bowl regular Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has yet to confirm its plans, Schultz says. CMO Olivier François has a habit of selecting from work submitted by multiple agencies, and we suspect that is what he is up to this week. The likely contenders for ads are the automaker's Jeep and Ram brands. Audi has also yet to confirm it it is in our out. Toyota will run two spots, but the brand has yet to release them.
The NFL will air at least one 60-second spot and a teaser from the organization's Twitter handle suggests it will include Eli Manning and the New York Giant's offensive line.
Buds and duds
Watch "Bud Knight" gallop into "Dilly, Dilly" Super Bowl ad.
Bud Light is accompanying its TV spot with some Snap ads and a Snapchat filter, Digiday reports.
Budweiser's "Puppy Love" was crowned the winner of USA Today's 30th Anniversary Ad Meter last night during an event held in conjunction with Ad Age.
While so far the advertisers who have bought Super Bowl ads are if not expected, at least not shocking, but that hasn't always been the case. We take a look back at some of the weirdest products that have purchased Super Bowl ads.
Koch Industries will air regional Super Bowl spots, according to Wall Street Journal's Alex Bruell. It's a move to boost the reputation of the corporate brand and help distance the company from its owners' own political views.
Cords and discord
For cord cutters, here's a look at how you can watch the Super Bowl from USA Today.
I vehemently disagree, but Los Angeles Times writes that there's only been one great Super Bowl commercial (Apple). How about Chrysler's 2011 ad featuring Eminem or "Halftime in America?" And those Clydesdales are iconic! Oh and Mean Joe Greene!