Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Mae An­der­son

Af­ter a year of po­lit­i­cal NEW YORK — and cul­tural up­heaval, Super Bowl ad­ver­tis­ers ap­pear to be pulling back from themes of unity in fa­vor of in-game stunts and ads that aim for the heart.

The stakes are high — a 30-sec­ond spot costs more than $5 mil­lion. The goal is to cap­ture the at­ten­tion of the more than 110 mil­lion view­ers ex­pected to tune in to the big game Sun­day.

“More peo­ple will see me in this than they have in the last three movies I’ve made,” ac­tor/ co­me­dian Bill Hader muses in a teaser for Pringles’ first Super Bowl spot.

Super Bowl ads of­ten pro­vide a snap­shot of the na­tional psy­che. Last year, just af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took of­fice, ads of­fered themes of in­clu­sion. Airbnb’s “We All Be­long” com­mer­cial showed faces of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties. Coke ran an ad fea­tur­ing “Amer­ica the Beau­ti­ful” sung in dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

This year, many ad­ver­tis­ers are play­ing it safer by show­cas­ing fa­mous faces, fo­cus­ing on in­of­fen­sive causes and try­ing to stand out with silly hu­mor and stunts.

Cindy Craw­ford will reprise an iconic 1992 Super Bowl spot for Pepsi. The bev­er­age maker also will fea­ture ac­tors Peter Din­klage and Mor­gan Free­man in linked ads for new ver­sions of Dori­tos and Moun­tain Dew.

In a Pringles ad, Hader in­tro­duces a made-up prac­tice called “fla­vor stack­ing,” in which he stacks to­gether dif­fer­ent Pringles va­ri­eties. M&Ms re­leased a preview of an ad show­ing Danny De­Vito dressed as an M&M be­ing dunked in cho­co­late.

Groupon’s ad shows Tif­fany Had­dish ask­ing peo­ple to sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses — then cuts to a wealthy man who plots to crush small busi­nesses, only to dou­ble over af­ter play­ers nail him be­low the belt with a kicked foot­ball.

“The crotch hit is the lowest thing in the book,” Ad­ver­tis­ing Age colum­nist Bar­bara Lip­pert lamented. “I was hop­ing it was re­tired for­ever.”

An ad for Fe­breze air fresh­ener goes all in for toi­let hu­mor. It presents a pseudo-doc­u­men­tary about a boy whose “(ex­ple­tive) doesn’t stink,” al­lud­ing to a pro­fane phrase that com­monly refers to peo­ple who are full of them­selves.

Other ad­ver­tis­ers are aim­ing for warm and fuzzy, fig­ur­ing it’s best to bet on “things that are uni­ver­sally liked,” said Kelly O’Keefe, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity’s Brand­cen­ter.

NBC cre­ated five cin­e­matic 60-sec­ond ads show­cas­ing Amer­i­can ath­letes to drum up ex­cite­ment for the Win­ter Olympics, which starts air­ing four days af­ter the Super Bowl.

An An­heuser-Busch ad shows a fac­tory pro­duc­ing cans of wa­ter in­stead of beer, high­light­ing the brewer’s do­na­tion of drink­ing wa­ter to places in need. Its Stella Ar­tois brand also teamed with Matt Da­mon to sell a lim­ited-edi­tion beer glass, with pro­ceeds also tar­geted at pro­vid­ing ac­cess to wa­ter.

Lexus is pro­mot­ing its new LS 500 lux­ury sedan, which it is aim­ing at a 45- to 55-year-old de­mo­graphic, with an ac­tion spot star­ring the Black Pan­ther, a Mar­vel su­per­hero.


Lexus will pro­mote its new LS 500 lux­ury sedan with an ac­tion spot star­ring the Black Pan­ther, a Mar­vel su­per­hero. Ad­ver­tis­ers pay more than $5 mil­lion for a 30-sec­ond Super Bowl com­mer­cial.

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