Despite declining year-over-year ratings for regular season football games, NBC still expects to earn over $500 million in revenue from brands placing Super Bowl ads with the network. With prices for 30-second spots ranging as high as $5 million, brands have been breaking out their A-game to get their money’s worth.
Avocamojis From Mexico
Every millennial’s favorite fruit is appearing at the Super Bowl for the fourth year running, but this year it’s going beyond just a 30-second spot. Promising to highlight the versatility of the humble avocado, Avocados From Mexico is partnering with Inmoji to create clickable avocado emojis that opens to a branded, sharable selfie filter.
“This year, we are excited to further build on that momentum with another integrated campaign that reminds consumers that avocados are a highly versatile and great tasting fruit, perfect both inside and outside the bowl – from sandwiches to burritos to wraps and salads,” said Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico.
The interactive avocado emojis will tie into a larger “Guacworld” digital campaign, which Avocados From Mexico promises will launch in the coming weeks.
Lexus, Hyundai Promise Big-Budget Surprises
Though both car companies have remained tight-lipped about the specific details of their Super Bowl LII campaigns, Lexus and Hyundai have shared the general themes of their spots.
Lexus plans to tie in the fifth generation of its LS sedan in with Marvel’s February blockbuster Black Panther in its Super Bowl spot, a continuation of its ongoing strategy to better reach millennials.
Hyundai will likewise continue an existing theme for its big game spot, teasing its Super Bowl campaign as a higher-stakes version of its ad last year, which virtually reunited three soldiers with their family members at the game. However, where that activation only surprised three families, Hyundai promises to “surprise millions.”
Red Bull, Cargo Go Super Bowl-Adjacent
Taking advantage of the inevitable influx of intoxicated partygoers on the night of the big game, Red Bull has partnered with Cargo, a startup that sells snacks to ride-share passengers en route. On February 4, ride-share customers in Minneapolis will get complimentary cans of Red Bull from drivers participating in Cargo’s commission-based sales model.
Skittles, Tostitos Ditch The Game For The Fan(s)
Rather than shell out the $5 million for a broadcast ad that might get talked over during a hectic Super Bowl party—after all, the NRF reports that 50 percent of big-game watchers do so at parties—Tostitos elected to hand the distribution reigns over to party hosts. By going to the Tostitos website, fans can input some information and nostalgic celebrity icon Alfonso Ribeiro will host a personalized Super Bowl “ad” invite for their party.
“Tostitos has always been about getting people together for the Super Bowl,” said Pat O’Toole, senior director of marketing for Frito-Lay North America. “The Super Bowl is about so much more than the game itself. People love watching the ads, so this year we wanted to give people the opportunity to create personalized ads for their Super Bowl parties.”
The campaign promises completely individualized ads, which reports show increases campaign effectiveness by as much as 57 percent.
Skittles, on the other hand, plans to go all-out on its ad personalization, producing an ad targeted at exactly one person, Marcos Menendez of Canoga Park, California. The brand will livestream his reaction to the hyper-targeted spot on its Facebook page, but no one besides Menendez will ever see the ad, which Skittles promises will be on par with its previous Super Bowl activations.
Doritos, Mountain Dew And Squarespace Lean On Celebrity Talent
Keeping up its five-year Super Bowl tradition, Squarespace is again bringing in a celebrity heavy-hitter to star in its big game ad, this time opting for Keanu Reeves, who is an actual Squarespace customer.
“We strive to make our advertising as genuine as possible, so we always keep an eye out for the most interesting people on our platform to see what brave new ventures they are launching out into the world,” David Lee, Squarespace’s chief creative officer, said to Adweek. “In addition to being a customer, we felt Keanu’s persona was a perfect fit for this creative—he’s a bit mysterious, but also regarded widely as a good person.”
The upcoming ad will break with tradition in one respect, however—this year, Squarespace is producing the spot in-house, rather than relying on an existing agency.
PepsiCo is opting for efficiency with its Super Bowl spot, too. Rather than produce two separate spots for its Doritos and Mountain Dew products, the company is pitting them against each other head to head, each one represented by a different celebrity: Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, respectively.
“This is a great example of the power of PepsiCo’s food and beverage portfolio coming to life for consumers on one of the world’s largest stages,” said Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo North America. “Doritos and Mountain Dew go perfectly together, and both brands have passionate fan bases.”
Verizon Brings Experiential To The Big Game
Partnering with Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon has announced a sponsorship of the city’s Super Bowl LIVE festival, a free 10-day experiential activation in downtown Minneapolis.
The festival promises to feature activities sponsored by several other Super Bowl advertisers, including a Hyundai skating rink and a Doritos-branded lounge. Overall, the event promises almost two dozen unique attractions, sponsored by a hodgepodge of local and national brands.
Stella Artois Pairs Nicely With Water.org
As part of the Anheuser-Busch brand family, Stella Artois enjoys a category monopoly for Super Bowl ads, allowing the beer import to experiment with the sort of cause marketing messages that worked so well for Audi last year.
Stella Artois has decided to partner with Water.org and Matt Damon to provide water for those lacking access to it in the developing world for every beer purchased by consumers in 2018.
“We’re excited to bring this global issue to a stage as big as the Super Bowl this year,” said Harry Lewis, vice president if Stella Artois. “I feel very privileged to work on a campaign that will help build a better world for millions of people; doing well by doing good is an incredible feeling, which is why I’m so passionate about our partnership with Water.org.”
Kraft Recognizes The Pressure On Parents To Be Perfect
In continuation of its Family Greatly campaign, which depicts the struggles of parenting as well as its successes, Kraft has announced that its Super Bowl ad will address the same issues. The company has never bought any Super Bowl ads before this year, and says that its Family Greatly message is one that more parents need to hear.
“The majority of parents today say they feel pressure to be perfect. But what if there was something better than being perfect?” the brand said in a statement. “Kraft believes there’s no perfect way to family and wants parents to take comfort in knowing that as long as you’re doing it with love and conviction, you ‘family greatly.’”
Pepsi Banking On Its Legacy
Pepsi has announced that it will unveil a year-long campaign during Super Bowl LII, entitled “Pepsi Generations,” to celebrate the brand’s 120-year history. The soda brand will kick off the campaign with a remake of its famous 1992 ad starring Cindy Crawford.
“To this day, people come up to me to talk about how much they loved my original Pepsi spot from ’92,” said Crawford in a statement. “The commercial was a big moment for me and has spanned generations.”
Pepsi will also release several series of retro can and bottle designs, the first going out in late January, and sponsor the big game’s halftime show for the sixth year running—headlining Justin Timberlake.
Super Bowl Newbs: Intuit, Pringles
While TurboTax will re-appeared at this Super Bowl for its fifth year in a row, parent company Intuit will launch its first-ever corporate branding campaign at Super Bowl LII in the form of a 15-second spot.
While 46 million people use Intuit products, Intuit chief marketing and sales officer Lucas Watson asserts that not everyone identifies the brand. “The Big Game is during a time when finances are top of mind for consumers and those who work for themselves,” he said in a statement.
The company promises to introduce two characters who will feature prominently in the brand’s overarching corporate advertising efforts throughout the year.
Pringles will also appear in a Super Bowl ad for the very first time this year, hoping to introduce US consumers to the concept of “flavor stacking”—stacking two different flavors of Pringles on top of each other.
“‘Flavor Stacking’ Pringles is one of those things that seems so stupidly obvious in hindsight. But relatively few people have thought to do it,” said Brian Platt, Group Creative Director of Grey Group New York.
The chip brand claims that the Super Bowl ad is just the beginning, promising further activations in the flavor-stacking theme throughout 2018.
Coca-Cola Promises New Creative
After recycling old Super Bowl ads last year, including a 60-second spot that first ran in 2014 and a Sprite ad featuring a basketball star, Coca-Cola has promised fresh new creative for 2018, though has not given details about length, content or theme.
M&Ms Teases Their Super Bowl Ad
After promising candy fans rewards for creative touchdown dances, the Mars subsidiary is likewise guaranteeing critical support for its Super Bowl activation. M&Ms placed the ad at the Critics’ Choice Awards on January 11, featuring several film critics lavishing praise on an off-camera screening of the brand’s Super Bowl spot.