Our pre-game preview of noteworthy spots
With Super Bowl LI just a few day away, sports fans can look forward to an offensively minded shootout, while advertising fans are equally excited for the biggest matchup of creative quality of the year.
Yes, it’s one of those rare times your friends and family will ask you to shut up during commercial breaks. Brands and their agencies are pulling out all the stops to create the most buzzworthy, memorable :30s, :60s and :90s they hope will break through the clutter.
Though the cost of a 30-second spot has historically risen by $250,000 each year, pricing is more modestly above 2016’s contest, at just north of $5 million to air on Fox. A few brands have chosen this year to debut in the Super Bowl, like Procter & Gamble brands Mr. Clean and Febreze—perhaps they saw an opportunity in the void left by former SB regulars Doritos or Toyota, both of which are sitting out this year’s game.
What’s not changed much is the parade of celebrities popping up, including Melissa McCarthy starring in an ad for Kia, and Cam Newton and Miranda Kerr teaming up for Buick.
Many won’t debut until their game-time slot, but here’s a look at some of the spots and teasers that are already generating attention. We’ll be watching to see how they play out among viewers on Feb. 5.
And in case you haven’t been keeping up, check out our Ad Tracker at Adweek.com for the latest news as it updates with teasers and full spots as we get them.
This year’s ad from Budweiser features an immigration theme as it focuses on the history of Adolphus Busch and how he came to America. The ad, from Anomaly, is titled “Born the Hard Way,” and the company is hoping the ad will tug on viewers’ heartstrings.
Droga5 brings the funny with this darkly comic 30-second Sprint spot, in which a father goes to extremes to get out of his Verizon contract. Luckily, the Sprint guy (formerly the Verizon guy!) shows up, hiking sticks in hand, to dissuade him.
Procter & Gamble has come to the Big Game to play, touting a few cleaning brands this year (including Febreze and Tide). A big departure for the brand’s, er, more squeaky clean past, this third-quarter spot from Leo Burnett Toronto has our hero channeling Magic Mike and getting a homemaker all hot and bothered.
Though some brands are shying away from celebrities this year, Kia is embracing Melissa McCarthy full-on. She’s been narrating smaller spots for the new Niro marque, and she stars in a third-quarter spot, all from David&Goliath. The full spot features all of her physical comedy chops.
Avocados From Mexico
Easily the weirdest Super Bowl advertiser of late—remember #AvosInSpace from 2016?—this year, the fruit brand embraces the #AvoSecrets held by a cloaked society. The ad features Jon Lovitz, only subliminally, and was created by GSD&M.
After a backlash for a 2015 spot it ended up not running in the game, GoDaddy sat out the SB in 2016. But the web domain is back, this year attempting to “personify the internet.” The full spot is titled “The Internet Wants You,” features cats on Roombas, and was created by the agency Bullish.
This automaker had a great year of advertising in 2016, and it’s starting off 2017 in unexpected fashion—by devoting its 60-second Super Bowl spot (via Venables Bell & Partners) to the progressive cause of equal pay. It’s an interesting move by the company, which says “progress” and moving culture forward is in its DNA.
John Malkovich has started his own fashion line (no really, in real life). But in this spot, someone else is squatting on JohnMalkovich.com. The legendary actor is miffed about this, to say the least, and pulls out some signature bad-guy in this entertaining 30 seconds, made with creative collective John X Hannes.
This automaker had a surprise hit last year with a 30-second spot starring Odell Beckham Jr. and Emily Ratajkowski. For an encore, agency Engage M-1 is going with the same formula—NFL star plus supermodel—but this time it’s a :60, and the setting isn’t a wedding but a Pee Wee football game. Cam Newton and Miranda Kerr star.
You remember the classic Busch ads from the ’70s, where the voiceover would say “Bussssccchhh” just as a can was being opened. Deutsch New York parodies those old spots in this amusing :30, in which the product name goes on, and on, and on.
Boomers are going to love this production, from Merkley + Partners and Germany agency Antoni, featuring an Easy Rider tribute and a very special cameo at the end. It’s also the first Super Bowl spot in 15 years to be directed by the Coen Brothers.
Though we’ve only seen a teaser, the spot from Tide pairs a fun, new odd couple together: Rob Gronkowski and Jeffrey Tambor. This isn’t Tide’s first go-around in the Super Bowl, but two other P&G brands, Mr. Clean and Febreze, are making their debut.
Perennial Super Bowl ad favorite Snickers is trying out the game’s first live ad, to air in the first ad pod of the third quarter. From BBDO, Star Wars actor Adam Driver will star in what may be a Western-themed candy brand spot. How do we know? Teaser ads included horse auditions.
Similar to Snickers’ approach, Hyundai will run a 90-second post-game, pre-ceremony spot that will be shot during the contest. Director Peter Berg will film it documentary style, to show some of the best “off-the-field” moments. This is Hyundai’s second year as an official NFL partner.
This construction supplies firm not only came out of nowhere this year, but is in with a 90-second ad—surprising, given it spent a grand total of $1 million in marketing last year. The ad that will run in the game is below; it tells the story of a Mexican family evidently trying to get to America—but viewers will have to go online Sunday to see the conclusion.