The Big Game is almost here! You know what that means: gathering around the largest TV you can find with friends and family to eat junk food and watch what may be one of the most talked-about Super Bowls in years. The “Deflate Gate” scandal is still a hot topic and the NFL is continuing to try and repair its broken image in light of the many domestic abuse cases that emerged this season. And who could forget about the ads; with several newcomers and a few controversies as well, we may have a lot to talk about come Monday morning.
There are some common themes when it comes to Super Bowl ads this year; probably the most prevalent around being a dad. Several advertisers, including Dove and Nissan, are fighting male stereotypes by creating commercials of dads playing with their children and exhibiting a nurturing persona. The Super Bowl seems like the perfect platform to take this approach, but you can’t help but wonder if this “fatherhood overload” could alienate female viewers, who don’t have as many ads targeted towards them.
We’ve rallied up everything we could find about who is advertising this year, so consider this your ultimate marketing guide to Super Bowl XLIX.
In addition to the brands listed below, American Family Insurance, Coca-Cola, Doritos, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nationwide, Nissan, Snickers, Squarespace, and TurboTax are all returning advertisers but have not yet released full details of their commercials.
But spoiler alert! Any videos you see below are the full-length ads that will be aired on Sunday, so if you want to be surprised on game day, stick to the descriptions provided instead.
Full Ads Released
Budweiser: “Lost Dog”
The Clydesdales are back in Budweiser’s latest installment, continuing the story from last year’s emotional “Puppy Love” ad. Better have the tissues handy for this one.
Bud Light: “Real Life Pac-Man”
On a much lighter note for Anheuser-Busch’s companies, this ad was released during “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and is a continuation of the #UpForWhatever campaign.
BMW: “Newfangled Idea”
Referencing their famous “What is the Internet?” conversation in 1994, this ad features Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel, who are trying to figure out the tech features in the new BMW i3.
Dove Men+Care: “Real Strength”
Dove has launched its “Real Strength” campaign to focus on the caring and loving side of men and how that shows “real” masculinity.
Lexus: “Make Some Noise”
This is your typical run-of-the-mill car ad, with Lexus marketing its NX line as a luxury brand with utility.
Kia: “The Perfect Getaway”
Kia’s ad is set with Pierce Brosnan and his agent cultivating the “perfect” adventure role for him to play, while marketing the new Kia Sorento.
As a continuation of their previous Super Bowl ad, Mercedes-Benz puts a twist on the iconic fable “The Tortoise and the Hare” by introducing the new Mercedes-AMG GT S sports car.
T-Mobile is continuing to market their Data Stash program, which allows you to rollover unused data to the next month. Kim Kardashian West pokes fun at her obsession with taking selfies for the commercial.
Toyota: “How Great I Am”
Toyota is featuring two ads during the Super Bowl, but has only released one so far. The first ad (below) features Paralympian Amy Purdy with a voice-over by Muhammed Ali, and the second will feature NFL stars Kurt Warner, LaVar Arrington, and Fred Jackson.
Victoria’s Secret: “Valentine’s Song”
Victoria’s Secret released an online-only video that promotes their Valentine’s Day campaign and provides a bit of a different feel from their usual spots.
The commercial that will air during the Super Bowl, on the other hand, is what we have come to expect from the retailer.
WeatherTech: “America at Work”
WeatherTech’s ad focuses on manufacturing in the U.S., while further building brand awareness and emphasizing their quality products.
This year, we are seeing a record number of advertising newcomers to Super Bowl advertising. While it might seem like a daunting task to try and compete with more well-known and established brands, past commercials have proven that anyone can stand out from the pack.
Coca-Cola first advertised in the Super Bowl in 1980, launching the now-iconic “Mean Joe Greene” commercial. Think about how much lasting power this ad has had, as we are still talking about it 35 years later! And of course, Coca-Cola has become one of the largest brands in the world.
Avocados from Mexico
Claiming to be the first fresh produce brand to advertise, Avocados from Mexico has not yet shared details of their Super Bowl premiere.
BuzzFeed is teaming up with cat food brand Friskies to air their ad in select markets, and approaches a Super Bowl party from a cat’s point of view. You wouldn’t expect anything less from BuzzFeed.
The cruise line brand has leaked clips from 4 potential ad ideas online and viewers can vote for which one they want to air during the game. They do not plan to share which idea won prior to Sunday.
The food delivery brand will air their commercial in 5 markets: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Miami, and Baltimore. The ad focuses on their mobile app and features Snoop Dogg and Gilbert Gottfried, who try and define what “hangry” means.
Esurance is technically a first-time Super Bowl advertiser because last year, their commercial aired immediately after the broadcast. It’s kind of hard to believe this is their first time purchasing a spot during the game, considering how many of their competitors have been for years. They haven’t released details about their ad at this time.
A toe fungus product under Valeant Pharmaceuticals, you can’t help but be intrigued about what the company will pull out of its sleeve. They too do not have a plan to release details about the ad before it airs during the third quarter.
Another interesting industry to participate in the Super Bowl, Loctite is a glue and adhesive manufacturer. When asked about their decision to advertise, marketing director Pierre Tannoux said, “The category of glue has been treated advertising-wise—in our opinion—in a very boring way. We said that we would like to change that.”
Mophie is a manufacturer of smartphone accessories, including a case that can charge your phone with no need for an outlet. They are advertising due to the high level of competition in their industry and the appeal of tech brands being featured in the Super Bowl.
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is arguably Skittles’ most-famous fan, but despite all of the hype, he will not be featured in their first-ever Super Bowl ad. The title of the ad is “It Will Be Settled” and alludes to a small town with physically fit citizens. Beyond that, we don’t know much.
This could be the perfect platform for Weight Watchers, considering the massive amount of unhealthy foods many of us will be consuming during the game. Details of the ad will not be released prior to airing.
Website builder Wix.com will be featuring several NFL legends it its Super Bowl premiere. The ad surrounds its “#ItsThatEasy” campaign to emphasize how anyone can design an appealing website for their company.
Brands Not Participating This Year
With a lot of first-timers joining the ranks of Super Bowl advertisers, there are some major brands sitting this one out. This year the auto industry is significantly cutting back, with General Motors, Acura, Volkswagen, Audi, Jaguar, and Lincoln all passing on opportunities to advertise. Volkswagen is probably the biggest surprise on this list, as its 2011 spot “The Force” is the most-shared Super Bowl ad on social media to date.
Another surprising absentee is yogurt manufacturer Dannon. They had close marketing ties with the NFL all last year, including a Super Bowl ad with John Stamos. According to the company, they decided to focus on a long-term campaign with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton instead of spending millions for one spot.
A year rarely goes by that a Super Bowl ad or two doesn’t cause controversy, and this year is no different.
GoDaddy, a Super Bowl regular, tried to take a different approach from its usual provocative advertising, but that plan completely backfired. The ad below has been pulled from the Super Bowl due to the fact that viewers felt the situation resembled a puppy mill business.
Carl’s Jr. is also at risk of having their commercial banned from the airwaves, as it features model Charlotte McKinney appearing to be naked as she walks through a farmer’s market. The ad, which will only be aired on the west coast, has not yet been removed from the lineup.
Finally, the NFL has paid for a 60-second spot supporting the organization No More, which focuses on raising awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault. With the plethora of stories coming out of the league regarding domestic violence, some argue that this ad is merely trying to put a Band-Aid on the situation. Whether or not the NFL’s intentions are pure, this ad is sure to get people talking.
Not every Super Bowl ad is successful, but there are always a few that stick in consumers’ minds for days following the game. Whether it’s funny, pulls at your heartstrings, or is provocative, every advertiser brings something new to the table and it will be interesting to see how things play out this Sunday. Will the first-timers lead the pack or will classic brands continue their reign?
Oh yeah, and who will be Super Bowl champs? This is a football game after all (Go Seahawks!)!
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