Hello Super Bowl junkies,
I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s senior editor, counting down to Super Bowl LIV. With less than two weeks to go we now know the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Feb 2. Leading up to the game, which will air on Fox, 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.
Join Ad Age on Jan. 28 as we bring together some of the top brands, agencies and creatives, including Hyundai, BBDO, Sabra hummus, Madonna Badger, Pop-Tarts and WeatherTech, to discuss what it takes to pull off a Super Bowl commercial.
Super Bowl advertisers are making strides to be more diverse and inclusive in their commercials. But to do so in such a politically charged environment requires finesse and some caution. Those who are at least attempting to recast Super Bowl commercials, which historically have not been friendly to women or minorities, are doing so in the least controversial way possible—by cushioning them with humor.
Important stat: Last year, 21 women had starring or feature roles in Super Bowl commercials compared to about 43 men, according to Ad Age’s Super Bowl archive.
Heinz will tell four stories at the same time in its Super Bowl commercial, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports. In a split-screen teaser released on Thursday, the ketchup brand warns: “Prepare to watch four ads at once.” It seems like the goal is to get people to rewind the commercial and watch it again and again. Not sure who will actually do that (aside from us).
Roman Coppola, who directed the ad, said: “The notion of using the Big Game to present a conceptual media art piece is very attractive to me. By telling four stories at once, this ad is unusual and I'm eager for people to experience it communally with family and friends during the big game. Then I hope that they will have fun re-watching to further discover the multiple stories.”
On a serious note
While most Super Bowl advertisers will go for laughs this year, Kia will strike a more serious tone with its ad about youth homelessness, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports. The automaker released a teaser for the spot on Thursday, which portrays a young boy fielding questions at a press conference like, “What keeps you going out there?”
“I run for my Pops, the man who sacrificed so much. I run for anyone who’s ever doubted me, and for those out there living on white rice and ramen noodles,” responds the boy, presumably a football player.
Budweiser is officially the first Super Bowl advertiser to pre-release its Big Game ad. The brew is putting a spin on the idea of “typical Americans,” with scenes of everyday people engaging in acts of kindness and triumph, Schultz reports. But it’s doing so in a way that’s devoid of any inkling of politics. Watch the full commercial here.
Housewives, a rapper and two drag queens
No it’s not the start of a bad joke. Feuding “Real Housewives of New Jersey” co-stars Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo, drag queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, and rapper T-Pain will all be featured in Sabra’s Super Bowl commercial. The hummus brand released three teasers for the spot on Thursday, showcasing the celebs dipping various items into the chickpea-spread.
Winona Ryder goes back to her hometown and namesake of Winona, Minnesota, in a teaser for Squarespace’s Super Bowl commercial. The goal of the spot is to shed light on Small Town, USA and on small businesses.
Cheetos is out with a second teaser starring MC Hammer, Wohl writes. In “Shuffle Steal,” we see Hammer in his signature pants doing a familiar shuffle move to snag a bag of Cheetos Popcorn during a commercial shoot. He seems much happier with the craft services options than Jonathan Van Ness did in the Pop-Tarts teaser.
Avocados From Mexico also released a second teaser that shows Molly Ringwald a tad envious of an avocado’s ability to sleep in a car. The fruit even has its own avocado-green neck pillow.
Cue the stunts
There are always brands who, instead of dropping as much as $5.6 million for 30-seconds of ad time, opt for concocting stunts to garner attention around the Big Game. Burger King, which is based in Miami, is updating the signs on some of its restaurants located in the host city. The signs, which typically read “flame grilling since 1954,” will become “flame grilling since 19LIV.” The fast-food chain, however, will not be running an ad in the Big Game, following the lackluster reception to its Andy Warhol Super Bowl commercial last year.
Mint Mobile is also being benched this year after airing its first Super Bowl commercial in 2019. All we know is we are thankful we won't have to experience chunky milk again.
And Sprint is not returning to the Super Bowl, a person familiar with its plans tells Ad Age. Last year, the carrier worked with Droga5 for its fourth consecutive Big Game commercial that featured former NFL and MLB superstar Bo Jackson, a mermaid and a flying horse. Sprint did not immediately return requests for comment.