The countdown to Game Day is on. The 49ers will play the Chiefs in this year’s Super Bowl, marking the first time they’ve met in the big game. Here’s a taste of how spots will differ from last year’s offerings, plus more of what’s in store.
New This Year
Many brands chose to keep a safe distance from politically nuanced ads in 2019, but this time things are playing out a little differently. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg locked down a 60-second spot to help boost favor for his Democratic presidential campaign. Experts estimate that minute of TV will cost him in the ballpark of $10 million. Not to be outdone, moments after the former New York City mayor made his announcement, President Trump’s reelection campaign released their own plan to run a 60-second ad, marking the first time in recent history that national elections will be front and center during the Big Game.
SodaStream (owned by PespiCo) is returning for the first time since 2014, debuting a spot scheduled to hit before halftime. The sparkling water makers tapped Scarlett Johansson to underscore their eco-friendly message: making the switch to a home-carbonation machine can smartly cut out single-use plastic. In related fizz news, Anheuser-Busch will push its new Bud Light Seltzer product by stepping back from their iconic “Dilly Dilly” campaign to feature the fictional mayor of Seltzer, Pennsylvania, delivering important words about the flavored beverage. Anheuser-Busch will boast a total of four sixty-second ads this year, down from its five-and-a-half minutes of airtime in 2019. From drinks to snacks, Cheetos by Frito-Lay (PepsiCo’s snack unit) is back with their first Super Bowl attack since 2009. Sister brand Doritos will likewise run a commercial, with both brands likely showcasing their latest array of chips flavors (Flamin’ Hot Limon, anyone?). Pop-Tarts (Kellogg) is prepping for its premiere starring Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who flips out over boring snack foods until he finds the brand’s novel non-breakfast pretzel offerings.
Heinz hasn’t been seen in the big game since 2016, but the ketchup kings are spooning over big bucks to take part in this year’s game. Look for them during the second quarter in an ad directed by Roman Coppola—Francis Ford’s son—revealing HoneyRacha, the newest in a line of condiment mashups that kicked off with 2018’s memorable MayoChup. Though Snickers was absent the last two seasons, this year marks the perfect occasion for the tenth anniversary celebration of their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, which debuted in 2010 with beloved actress Betty White getting tackled on a football field.
Squarespace made a splash with its first Super Bowl ad in 2014, a visual bacchanalia topped only by the 2018 sight of Keanu Reeves standing atop a motorcycle singing Will Powers’ “Adventures in Success” while speeding down a desert road. The website-building company sat out last year’s game, but will return next month with a top-secret spot showing between the first and second quarters.
Last year Netflix promoted Our Planet, an earth-centric documentary series, during the Super Bowl but the media giant declined to say why they’re sidelining themselves this year. Additional brands taking a break after successful 2019 showings include Bumble (that got fans buzzing for spokeswoman Serena Williams) and Colgate (starring Luke Wilson as a close talker.) The Census Bureau advertised in 2000 and 2010, the last two times national heads were counted, but numbers didn’t add up for the federal agency in 2020. And while Facebook may have hoped to keep its first Super Bowl commercial under wraps, those plans were ironically foiled by Sylvester Stallone posting an Instagram video of fans Rocky-style racing him up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Behind-the-scenes leaks notwithstanding, viewers remain eager for the full spot, in which Chris Rock will also make a cameo.
Back for More
History shows that women haven’t played starring roles in Super Bowl ads. In the past, only 25% of spots featured leading ladies, despite women making up 45 percent of total NFL viewers. Procter & Gamble’s Olay skincare brand embarked on a mission to shift that trend last year, and now they’re back at it with a star-studded, all-female mission to space, in support of their #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign. TurboTax returns for their seventh consecutive run, just in time for April 15 fiscal filing. Planters (Kraft Heinz) and Pringles (Kellogg) are both back, featuring Mr. Peanut and Pickle Rick, respectively. Finally, six automakers (at least for now) have confirmed their Big Game appearances. Look for Kia, Toyota, Hyundai, Porsche, Audi and General Motors’ Hummer racing to screens on Super Bowl Sunday.