Super Bowl ads keep it light by using nostalgia and stars

Super Bowl ads keep it light by using nostalgia and stars

NEW YORK (AP) — The Super Bowl commercials are more than just breaks between play at the biggest sporting event of the year: They offer insight into the country’s zeitgeist, as well as the state of the main industries.

This year, crypto ads and automakers advertise less as these industries face issues. Big food brands like M&Ms, tech companies like Google, streaming services like Peacock and m ore alcohol brands jumped up to take their place.

When the Super Bowl LVII starts Sunday evening with the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in Glendale, Arizona, the big marketers will also face off on Fox’s broadcast.

Their price? The opportunity to capture the attention of more than 100 million viewers expected for the big game. This entry price is high: some advertisers pay over $7 million for a 30 second spotand this does not include the cost of creating the ad itself.

This year, viewers can expect stars galore, light humor and catchy songs. For the most part, advertisers are avoiding dark messaging or outrageous humor that might have garnered attention in decades past, but not now, as the country is still emerging from the pandemic, dealing with economic uncertainty and that the war continues in Ukraine. .

“This year is a ‘don’t worry, be happy’ year,” said Kelly O’Keefe, CEO of Brand Federation. “You name it, we’ve had it all and it’s put us in an almost depressed situation. This year people have recovered and advertisers are responding very well – there’s traditional brands, traditional humor and it’s going to look like a big group hug.


Stars are commonplace in Super Bowl ads, but in recent years the ads have been increasingly filled with celebrities. This year is no exception.

Popular celebrities offer goodwill to a brand and help it stand out from the crowd of 50 advertisers during the big game. But with so many stars in the ads, it can be harder to stand out in a crowded field.

“If you use fame intelligently, that’s huge,” said Rich Weinstein, a professor at VCU Brandcenter. “But with all these celebrities, are people going to remember who each celebrity is attached to?”

Big names are making a splash this year: Melissa McCarthy sings a jingle for, Miles Teller dances to hold music for Bud Light and Adam Driver multiplies for Squarespace. Avocados From Mexico enlists Anna Faris for one of the few slightly risque ads this year, which envisions a giveaway where everyone is naked, including the Statue of Liberty. And tennis star Serena Williams stars in two commercials: one for Michelob Ultra and one for Remy Martin. It’s the second year in a row that she’s featured in more than one commercial: last year, in addition to a commercial for Michelob Ultra, she starred in a commercial for smart gym maker Tonal. Even hip-hop mogul P. Diddy appears in a commercial, in which he tries to make a hit for Uber One.

An unusual star this year: Jesus. Group of Christian donors pays top dollar for two ads who promote the religious message “He gets us”.


Another tactic that advertisers use to win over viewers is to recreate beloved movies and TV shows. This year, online retailer Rakuten is causing a stir when it enlists Alicia Silverstone and Elisa Donovan to recreate a ’90s romantic comedy “Clueless.” Popcorners, a snack brand from Frito-Lay, brought back “Breaking Bad,” which first aired in 2008, starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.

Other advertisers are trying to capitalize on favorite content from years past: T-Mobile’s ad shows John Travolta singing a T-Mobile internet-themed version of “Summer Nights” from “Grease” with the stars of “Scrubs “Donald Faison and Zach Braff. And finally, Michelob Ultra brought up “Caddyshack” when placing his advertisement at the Bushwood Country Club which is in the film.

The nostalgia fits the mood of the times, Weinstein said.

“Consumers crave a good laugh and feel comfortable,” Weinstein said. “It’s less about living through the problems facing the world today and more about leaning into nostalgia and having fun.”


Some rookie advertisers decided to lean into stunts and gimmicks to highlight their first foray into the big game. Most notable is Fan Duel, who hired four-time All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski to try and score a field goal live during a third quarter announcement. If successful, anyone who places a Super Bowl bet of $5 or more on FanDuel will win a share of $10 million in free bets.

A blockchain-based gaming company, Limit Break, plans to run a QR code during the game’s first commercial break and will give away non-fungible tokens to people who scan it. And for its first national Super Bowl commercial, Molson Coors asked people to bet on aspects of its ad, such as whether it will feature Miller Lite or Coors Light.

Kim Whitler, a professor at the Darden School of Business, said stunts don’t always translate into positive sales results or brand recognition.

“People want to do stunts because stunts get attention,” she said. “But ultimately the ad needs to communicate something unique or better about the brand.”


While many advertisers have released announcements ahead of the game, there are always surprises. Dunkin’ Donuts is running an ad that reportedly features Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, though the brand hasn’t confirmed this. Stellantis, which owns the Jeep and Ram car brands, will run two undisclosed ads. And M&Ms kept its publicity a secret after saying its candy spokespeople were on hiatus – they are, however, likely to make an appearance during the game.