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.
Bud Light Gives Us The Hero This City Deserves
Bud Light will conclude its “Dilly Dilly” ad trilogy at the Super Bowl, at long last revealing the Bud Knight it teased in ads that aired at the AFC and NFC championship games leading up to the big game.
“Humor and friendship is at the core of what Bud Light and beer drinking is all about – and that’s why ‘Dilly Dilly’ has been such a great success. Bringing ‘Dilly Dilly’ to the Super Bowl – one of the biggest nights for friends and family – was a no-brainer,” said Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light.
Though the 60-second spot marks the end of the beer brand’s official trilogy, Bud Light promises further entries to the Dilly Dilly cinematic universe in 2018.
Toyota Promises Three Super Bowl Spots
Going for a broad approach, Toyota has announced that it will air video ads from two different campaigns during Super Bowl LII, including two spots from its first-ever global campaign, “Start Your Impossible.”
The new campaign will highlight Toyota’s efforts to reposition itself as a “mobility company,” pointing to the company’s programs to support diversity and the disabled.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our team at Toyota to share messages of unity, friendship, diversity and perseverance,” saids Ed Laukes, group vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor North America. “With the Super Bowl and the Olympics just days apart on NBC, we’re excited to join fans’ enthusiasm for these two world-class events and connect with them by sharing meaningful and inspiring TV spots.”
Budweiser Celebrates Its Charitable Causes
To highlight its employees’ participation in its three-decade-old disaster relief program, Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl ad will tell the story of its factories that have pivoted to produce canned water for communities in need.
“Anheuser-Busch has a long history of giving back and not only are we continuing to support in the short-term but we also want to use our upcoming 30th anniversary of the emergency water program to announce our long-term commitment for natural disaster relief,” said Bill Bradley, vice president of community affairs at Anheuser-Busch.
In addition to celebrating its existing efforts, the company announced that it will add a second brewery to the program this year, doubling the company’s production of canned water in emergencies.
E*Trade Wants You To Retire Already
Financial services provider E*Trade is tangentially weighing in on the prevalence of precarious labor, encouraging people to start saving for retirement as early as possible.
“The campaign aims to shine a light on the growing financial challenge future retirees may face, while encouraging investors to start saving for retirement,” said Lea Stendahl, for E*Trade CMO. “We’re leveraging E*Trade’s irreverence and humor to show in a more relatable way that at E*Trade, consumers have access to the resources and tools they need to help get on track.”
In addition to cracking jokes about the elderly in the workforce, E*Trade’s spot hopes to educate football watchers on several statistics, such as that one in three Americans hasn’t saved for retirement at all, and that nine out of ten people who have worry that they haven’t saved enough.
Avocamojis From Mexico (Starring Chris Elliot)
(Update: 1/31/18): Avocados From Mexico has released its Super Bowl ad, telling the story of a Utopian guacamole-based society almost undone by the lack of chips. The company has also launched a 360-degree digital experience site, Guacworld.com.
Every millennial’s favorite fruit is appearing at the Super Bowl for the fourth year running, and Avocados From Mexico has released a 30-second teaser for its big game ad, starring Chris Elliot, “Big Time Hollywood Actor,” urging the depressed and downtrodden to spread avocados on everything.
This year it’s going beyond just a 30-second spot, however. 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.
Amazon Teases An Alexa Crisis, Starring Jeff Bezos (And Gordon Ramsey And Cardi B And Anthony Hopkins And…)
(Update: 1/31/18): The full Super Bowl spot is now available, featuring a group of celebrities providing temporary voice support during Alexa’s voicelessness. At the end, Alexa thanks them for their service, meaning that the ad probably isn’t announcing anything besides the fact that Amazon has an obscene amount of money to spend on a 90-second video.
Amazon has released a teaser for its Super Bowl ad, which establishes an international crisis of Alexa, the voice of the Echo, losing her voice. No details are yet available on what the ad itself will contain, but the teaser ends with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos assenting to an emergency replacement, hinting at a celebrity appearance and possibly even a tie-in for their existing smart speakers.
Universal Parks Hires Peyton Manning As Vacation Coach
Promoting its Orlando and Hollywood resorts, Universal Parks is bringing on a celebrity voice that football fans will recognize: Peyton Manning.
Kraft Recognizes The Pressure On Parents To Be Perfect
(Update: 1/31/18): Kraft is now taking submissions for families to star in its “Family Greatly” spot, giving families the chance to see themselves on TV during the game.
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.’”
Lexus, Hyundai Promise Big-Budget Surprises
(Update: 1/30/18): Hyundai has revealed further details on its big game campaign, sharing that the millions it promised to surprise will be the professionals working to treat and cure pediatric cancer.
“Last year we honored military heroes who help make events like the Super Bowl possible. This year we’ll celebrate heroes who help in finding a cure for pediatric cancer,” said Dean Evans, CMO, Hyundai Motor America.
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.”
Jack In The Box Beefs With Martha Stewart Over Chicken
Jack in the Box has released its Super Bowl ad, revealing its new food-truck inspired series of sandwiches and declaring a Twitter war against the food personality to see who can produce a better bánh mì sandwich.
Michelob Ultra Humanizes Chris Pratt’s Abs
In Chris Pratt’s first-ever ad appearance, the actor will point out that some beer, specifically Michelob Ultra, isn’t incompatible with staying in shape.
“The Super Bowl is a huge stage, and we are really excited to partner with Chris Pratt, whose dynamic personality and passion for fitness embody the spirit of our brand so perfectly,” said Azania Andrews, vice president for Michelob Ultra. ” “When it comes down to working out or enjoying a beer with friends, Michelob ULTRA wants people to know that you don’t have to choose between one or the other.”
The star is a somewhat ironic choice for the ad, since his character on the long-running show Parks And Recreation credited the actor’s sudden weight loss for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy on cutting beer out of his diet.
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.”
Groupon Angles For Small Businesses
Coupon-purchasing app Groupon has elected to focus its big game on the social benefits of using their platform. Girls Trip star and Groupon user Tiffany Haddish leads the ad, which asks the question: “what kind of person wouldn’t want to support local businesses?” and establishes Groupon as the main way to do so.
“We have a very funny concept that combines Tiffany’s trademark sense of humor along with her authentic enthusiasm for Groupon,” said Groupon’s CMO, Vinayak Hegde. “She was a natural at conveying our passion for building amazing communities through successful small businesses, and she’s a great fit for the big stage that is the Super Bowl.”
Visit Australia For Its Scenic Movie Hoaxes
After a pair of teasers for a sequel to Crocodile Dundee starring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth were surfaced by People magazine, leaving publications to speculate how a feature film starring such big names managed to slip under the radar.
As it turns out, it’s because the feature film never existed. Reporting by Brisbane Times revealed that the movie is actually a hoax perpetrated by Tourism Australia as a lead-up to the organization’s first-ever Super Bowl spot.
Ally Financial: Enemy Of First-Screen Ads
Rather than buy TV advertising space, Ally Financial is electing to steal attention from other advertisers. With The Ally Big Save augmented-reality game, football viewers can collect virtual dollar bills on their phones during commercial breaks. High-scoring players will win a cash prize “to help them reach their identified savings goal.”
“On a day and stage where America is being flooded with messaging to spend big, Ally wants to inspire consumers to focus on saving for something bigger,” said Andrea Brimmer, Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer.
Febreze Creates A Superhero
Febreze has pre-released its Super Bowl spot, telling the 30-second story of “the only man in the world whose bleep don’t stink.”
Natural Light Offers (Some) Student Loan Forgiveness
Tapping into its primary consumer base, budget beer brand Natural Light is hosting a contest, offering up to 25 current and former college students $40,000 apiece to pay down their student loan debts.
Contest entrants must post a video on social media about what inspired them to go to college including a special green beer tab, essentially outsourcing social engagement with a crippling-debt-relief lottery.
Pizza Hut Promises Record-Breaking Pizza
In lieu of a broadcast ad, Pizza Hut has announced a partnership with former All-Pro player Devin Hester to drive up memberships for its loyalty program. If either team scores a touchdown within the first 14 seconds of the game, Pizza Hut will grant everyone who registers for its rewards program before kickoff a coupon for a free pizza, which can be redeemed February 8 and 11.
“Like I said in my retirement announcement, I owe it all to my speed,” said Hester. “I’m teaming up with Pizza Hut to challenge players in this year’s Big Game to score a touchdown faster than I did in 2007.”
M&Ms Teases Their Super Bowl Ad (Again)
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.
The candy company has released a second teaser for its ad, which will star Danny Devito.
“When M&M’S approached me about starring in their Super Bowl commercial, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to partner with such an iconic brand,” said DeVito. “Plus, who can resist seeing me in a giant pool of chocolate?!”
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.
Pepsi Banks 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.