Good afternoon Super Bowl junkies,
I'm Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age's senior editor, here with the latest edition of our Super Bowl Alert. For those of you who care about these sorts of things, we now know who will face-off in Super Bowl LIII: The New England Patriots will once again battle it out for the title, this time against the Los Angeles Rams.
But on to more interesting things (at least in my opinion). With less than two weeks left until the game, Ad Age is bringing you breaking news, analysis and first looks at the high-stakes, big-game commercials—all in our Super Bowl Alerts newsletter. Sign up here to get them in your inbox.
By the numbers
CBS posted some unbelievable numbers for its coverage of the Patriots-Chiefs game on Sunday night, Anthony Crupi emails: 53.9 million viewers tuned in to the grudge match, which pulled a 27.5 household rating. This makes it the second most-watched AFC Championship Game in the 42 years Nielsen has been keeping track of those deliveries. The 2011 match between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers is No. 1.
More celebrities and now some puppies
Kristin Chenoweth will star in Avocados From Mexico's Super Bowl ad, Jessica Wohl reports. In a teaser released on Monday, the Emmy and Tony winner tries to teach dogs how to sing Avocados From Mexico's jingle.
Chenoweth is the first female celebrity to appear in a Super Bowl ad for the company, which in the past has featured Scott Baio and Chris Elliott. So far, including Chenoweth, three female celebrities will appear in some capacity in Super Bowl ads. This compares to at least eight male celebrities being slated to appear.
In total, this brings the Super Bowl celebrity count to 11.
Also added to the roster over the weekend was Lil Jon, who will be featured in Pepsi's 30-second spot. The rapper is also rumored to be part of the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show. Pepsi released a teaser of the ad over the weekend showing the Atlanta native inside a diner pouring a Pepsi fountain drink, while saying, "Okayyy," his signature catchphrase.
While not a Super Bowl ad, Skittles revealed that "Dexter" star Michael C. Hall is the big name in its' musical that will be performed in New York on Super Bowl Sunday, Wohl reports. Skittles announced Hall's appearance in a teaser video which shows him speaking with a therapist over his anxiety about appearing in the Skittles commercial. Last week, Skittles announced its plan to once again skip the big Super Bowl ad buy. It's instead putting on a 30-minute show called "Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical" that will have one performance on Feb. 3.
No stars here
One brand, however, which will not include star-power in its ad is Kia. The automaker even put down those Super Bowl advertisers that will feature a celebrity in a commercial that ran during Sunday's NFC Championship game. In the ad, a boy says: "Right now companies everywhere are choosing celebrity endorsers for their big-game ad. Millions will be paid, just like any other year. But what if it wasn't? What if a few of those celebrity paychecks got set aside to help un-famous people? What if this year in some way, it was about the rest of us?"
It's an interesting statement coming from Kia, which has long had a history with spotlighting celebrities in its Super Bowl ads. Last year, Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler appeared in its Big Game spot. And Melissa McCarthy appeared in 2017.
Kia will instead use its ad to launch "The Great Unknowns Scholarship," which it says will "help young people in need get a foothold in higher education," E.J. Schultz reports.
Sex and the City
Anheuser-Busch InBev has not revealed details on Stella Artois' Super Bowl ad. But on Tuesday the brand possibly gave a clue by debuting a 15-second online video starring Sarah Jessica Parker, reprising her Carrie Bradshaw character role from "Sex in the City." The video is part of Stella's ongoing partnership with Water.org, the group co-founded by Matt Damon that invests in clean water initiatives for developing countries. Last year, Stella's Super Bowl ad featured Damon plugging the program.
Every year an advertiser or two tries to weasel its way into the Super Bowl conversation by saying their ad got rejected. This year, Acreage Holdings, which is in the cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing business, said CBS rejected its ad promoting the use of medical marijuana. USA Today reports that Acreage received an email from the eye network saying: "CBS will not be accepting any ads for medical marijuana at this time." This should not come as a surprise; it's highly unlikely the NFL, which suspends players for failing drug tests, is going to suddenly start accepting weed dollars. It was only in 2017 that the National Football League even began accepting liquor ads.
Speaking of which, Jim Beam will use local Super Bowl ad buys in the nation's top three media markets to show off its first new global ad campaign in five years, Schultz reports. Anheuser Busch InBev holds exclusive alcohol ad rights for the Super Bowl, effectively shutting liquor brands out of national buys.
Colgate became the first Super Bowl advertiser to release its full commercial last week. In the spot, Luke Wilson gets very, very close to his colleagues. You can watch it here.
While there's still no indication from movie studios which films they will promote during the Super Bowl, Crupi made some predications last week about which movies they might feature. Let's just say it's poised to be a Superhero Bowl.
Will Pras or won't he?
It's been nearly a year since Fugees co-founder Pras Michele used the Super Bowl to introduce Blacture, a media platform for African-American voices. It was expected Blacture would go live in March 2018, but that has yet to happen. "This was a little bit of a more ambitious undertaking than we were expecting," Josephine Zohny, chief communications officer at Blacture, told the Wall Street Journal. "We were in the process of developing the site. It took us a long time to be pleased with what's being presented to users. Right now, we're in the final states of developing it."
The question remains: will Blacture return to Super Bowl LIII?
One marketer that will sit out the game this year, after appearing last year, is Lexus. Instead, the automaker released an online video on Tuesday featuring former quarterback Matt Leinart, talking about the NFL's new "roughing the passer rule." Last year, Lexus ran a Super Bowl ad featuring characters from the "Black Panther" movie.
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.