Super Bowl Alert: Commercials near sell-out, Kraft buys time for frozen food brand

CBS sells out of 90 percent of Super Bowl ad inventory

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Good afternoon Super Bowl junkies,

I'm Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age's senior editor, here with the latest edition of our Super Bowl Alert (if you haven't already, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox).

With just a few weeks left until Super Bowl LIII, CBS said it has sold more than 90 percent of ad time in the Big Game thanks to a surge of business from the usual suspects and a number of first-time advertisers, Anthony Crupi reports. It's worth noting that it's always those last few spots that are hardest to unload. Last year, NBC, which carried the game, had about 10 in-game spots left as of Jan. 11, but didn't end up announcing it sold out of Super Bowl inventory until just two days before kick-off. And Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising officer, noted that CBS never says the game is sold out.

The third quarter is sold out and the majority of the available spots are in the fourth quarter, Ross said during a Super Bowl press event Thursday. Auto, beer, soda, movie and technology marketers are among the big sponsors thus far. As for the traditional interview with the president before the Super Bowl, CBS Sports Chief Sean McManus said it is still in discussion with the White House.

Hungry men

Devour, a smaller brand in Kraft Heinz's portfolio, is buying its first Super Bowl ad, Jessica Wohl reports. The brand, which debuted in 2016, is a line of dinners, sandwiches and bowl meals aimed at hungry guys. Its early marketing has included spots with the provocative tagline "Food You Want to Fork." The 30-second spot from David Miami is set to run during the third quarter.

From the archives: Last year, Kraft used the Super Bowl to promote its flagship brand with a crowdsourced "Family Greatly" spot. Heinz was in the game in 2016 with "Wiener Stampede" and in 2014 with "Hum."

Clean men

Persil ProClean will return to the Super Bowl with its fourth consecutive spot. The Henkel laundry detergent brand will bring back "The Professional" character played by "Younger" star Peter Hermann.

In last year's spot, The Professional emerged from the TV set at a Super Bowl party. That commercial went up against an ensemble of Tide spots that broke through by spoofing just about every ad convention viewers expected from other brands.

Big buy

Anheuser-Busch InBev is making its biggest Super Bowl ad buy in recent memory, with eight ads totaling five-and-a-half minutes, E.J. Schultz reports. The beer giant will use the Big Game to promote its Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois and Bon & Viv SpikedSeltzer, a flavored malt beverage brand that is being repositioned and reformulated with fewer calories and no sugar. While the company did not reveal the creative direction of the ads, Marcel Marcondes, AB InBev's U.S. chief marketing officer, said the company would avoid anything political.

We can't forget the backlash Budweiser got for its 2017 ad, which focused on Bud's immigrant roots at a time when the immigration debate had gained steam with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House.

To delve into past Budweiser ads, or almost any Big Game commercial, check out our Super Bowl Ad Archive.

Show me that smile

Colgate has unveiled more details about its Super Bowl ad, which will spotlight its Total oral-care brand. The ad, with the tagline "Do more for your mouth," stars Luke Wilson. The spot was shot in a hyper-realistic style with film-quality detail, according to the company. Colgate last advertised in the 2016 Super Bowl with a spot reminding people to turn off the water as they brush their teeth.

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.

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