Super Bowl ads showcase nostalgia and star power
NEW YORK (AP) — On the field, the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56.
NEW YORK (AP) — On the field, the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56. Off the field, Super Bowl announcers aim to air a night of celebrity-laden and nostalgia-laden commercials in a effort to entertain Americans tired of two years of pandemic life
Advertisers paid up to $7 million for 30-second spots during the Super Bowl, and they’re using their time to try to entertain with humor, star power and nostalgia. The nostalgia is high: T-Mobile is reuniting “Scrubs” stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison. The General Motors ad features characters from the “Austin Powers” movies peddling GM electric vehicle technology, including a reprise of Mike Myers’ role as Austin Powers’ nemesis Dr. Evil. And Verizon recreated the 1996 movie “The Cable Guy” starring Jim Carrey to tout its 5G internet offering. There are few ads that try to send a serious or sincere message.
Mexico’s lawyers have created an ad showing Julius Caesar and a group of gladiator fans outside what appears to be the Colosseum, easing their seemingly violent differences over guacamole and avocados. But the announcement came after news broke that the US government has suspended all imports of Mexican avocados after a US factory safety inspector in Mexico received a threat.
The association did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ban, which hits an industry with nearly $3 billion in annual exports.
Some familiar advertising icons have returned in 2022. ETrade has brought back the mouthpiece it used in Super Bowl ads from 2008 to 2014 to attract investors to its platform.
“Brands are coming back with ads that leverage the capital they’ve built over years,” said University of Virginia marketing professor Kimberly Whitler.
A first-time announcer attempted a stunt. Coinbase ran an ad with a QR code that changed color while playing electronic music. The QR code led to the Coinbase website.
Whitler said the approach was likely to drive sign-ups, but might not work for some Super Bowl viewers.
“A floating QR code without a brand name may not be enough to generate interest,” Whitler said. “They’re probably hoping curiosity will get people to put down their beer and pick up their phone…but that’s a tall order with no other ‘reason why.’
What does the future look like? Electric, if automakers have anything to do with it. As automakers come back strong this Super Bowl, BMW shows Arnold Schwarzenegger as Zeus, the god of the sky (or in this commercial, the god of lightning) whose wife, Salma Hayek Pinault, gives him the EV BMW iX to spice up retirement.
Kia advertises the Kia EV6, the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle, along with an adorable “robot dog”. Nissan gives a nod to its all-electric 2023 Nissan Ariya.
First-time advertiser Wallbox features an actual survivor of being struck by lightning in its advertisement for its home electric vehicle charger.
Other advertisers are also looking to the future. Amazon’s spot shows real-life spouses living in a world where Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, can read your mind. In a regional ad, Samuel Adams shows Spot, Boston Dynamics’ dancing robot dog, getting into a fight with the brewer’s employees.
Among the 30 new advertisers are several cryptocurrency exchanges. Proponents of blockchain-based digital currencies that have attracted interest from investors and financial services firms also want to attract ordinary Americans. Exchanges Crypto.com, FTX and eToro have all announced Super Bowl advertising plans, and others have been rumored but unconfirmed.
While the Super Bowl can be a good place to launch a new brand or category into the public consciousness, there are risks of getting lost in the shuffle as new advertisers. And they have a big task with 30 seconds.
“They need to educate the public about what their product is, why it’s not risky, and where they can access it,” said Charles Taylor, professor of marketing at Villanova.
POP CULTURE NOSTALGIA
Nostalgia is always a sure bet to win over viewers, and this year’s Super Bowl is no different.
In a teaser, Verizon hints that it’s bringing back Jim Carrey to reprise his disgusting “Cable Guy” persona from 1996 for their commercial. GM has enlisted Mike Myers for an “Austin Powers” themed ad that features a reprise of his role as Austin Powers nemesis Dr. Evil. Sidekicks played by Rob Lowe, Seth Green and Mindy Sterling also join.
And some ad executives hope people will remember the iconic ad, too. ETrade has brought back a spokesperson who appeared in its Super Bowl ads from 2008 to 2014. A Hellmann ad shows former New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo attacking unsuspecting people who waste money. the food. The ad is a homage to a 2003 Reebok Super Bowl commercial featuring a fictional linebacker named Terry Tate who preyed on office workers who weren’t productive.
A well-liked celebrity usually adds goodwill to the brand message. So how about three to five of them? Super Bowl ads are always filled with celebrities, but this year many ads are overloaded with them.
“I’ve never seen anything like this number of A-List celebrities,” Taylor said of Villanova.
Uber Eats wanted to get the message across that you can order household and other miscellaneous items from its delivery service, not just food. So his ad features celebrities and other actors trying to eat everything from kitty litter to diapers. “If it was delivered by Uber Eats, does that mean I can ‘eat’ it?” asks White Lotus actress Jennifer Coolidge. Gwyneth Paltrow tries to eat a candle, Trevor Noah tries to eat a light bulb, and “Succession”‘s Nicholas Braun tries to eat dish soap.
The Planet Fitness commercial is narrated by William Shatner and shows Lindsay Lohan working out, winning Jeopardy against Dennis Rodman and dazzling Danny Trejo’s anklet.
And in the Nissan commercial, a straight-legged Eugene Levy turns into an action hero while driving a 2023 Nissan Z sports car, alongside stars Danai Gurira and Dave Bautista. Levy’s “Schitt’s Creek” co-star Catherine O’Hara appears in Nissan’s new Ariya electric car.
Mae Anderson, The Associated Press