Super Bowl LVI, set for February 13 at LA’s SoFi Stadium, will have a decidedly different feel than last year’s edition.
For starters, the stadium will be full. A year ago, the game vividly reflected the grueling early phase of Covid, as Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium hosted 24,835 fans, one-third of whom were newly vaccinated health care workers.
This year, roaring crowds and close games have boosted NFL ratings, with the conference championship games at the end of January posting multi-year highs. NBCUniversal, which will carry the game on NBC, Peacock and Telemundo, is apt to put up a healthy combined number. Even for an event that is the longtime king of tune-in, any increase (as opposed to last year’s tumble to 96.4 million viewers) would be a tonic.
Better ratings, though, would merely be icing on an already lucrative cake. All of the ad inventory sold out more than a week before kickoff, with many 30-second spots selling for a record $7 million. A recent report from research firm Kantar found that last year’s game generated $434.5 million of in-game ad revenue for ViacomCBS and indicated this year’s haul should be higher.
As for the Ad Bowl’s creative side, it will bring out the customary flock of Hollywood stars and pop-culture figures shilling for various brands. Kevin Hart demands the VIP treatment at Sam’s Club; Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd team for Lay’s potato chips; Salma Hayek and Arnold Schwarzenegger hype BMW electric vehicles; Jennifer Coolidge, Gwyneth Paltrow and Trevor Noah demonstrate Uber “Don’t” Eats; and Ken Jeong and Joel McHale debate the proper way to eat Planter’s mixed nuts. Behind the camera, along with F. Gary Gray at the helm of the halftime show, Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao directs Budweiser’s return to the game after a time-out last year. (Scroll down to watch.)
Zhao’s “A Clydesdale’s Journey,” shot in wide-open Western spaces and set to an earnest soundtrack, may not be the norm this year in terms of its tenor, however. In a taped video presentation for press last month, ad sales president Dan Lovinger said he expects Super Bowl ads to have “a more comedic tone” compared with last year. “And I think the country’s ready for it.”
The recovery of the economy from the worst of Covid has spurred a return of categories like movie studios and travel, and the emergence of newer ones like sports betting and cryptocurrency, he said.
Advertisers long ago stopped waiting for the big game for their big reveals. A number of marquee plugs go online days or even weeks in advance, and teasers are now even more of a thing. We will keep updating this post through the coming days as new material surfaces. Below, check out a few of the spots and teasers that are already online:
Chloé Zhao (director) / Budweiser
Zhao returns to the Western landscapes she mined so effectively for Nomadland and The Rider with this dialogue-free spot:
Kevin Hart / Sam’s Club:
The comedian and entrepreneur continues his string of Sam’s Club promos with a myopic claim to velvet-rope status:
Ken Jeong, Joel McHale / Planters
How to eat mixed nuts? Two former Community co-stars debate a question that’s never been pondered at the cost of millions on Super Bowl Sunday:
Deion Sanders and son Shedeur Sanders / Oikos – The Greek yogurt maker will have its third straight Super Bowl ad lineup, with this “Prime Time” father-son tandem:
Computer-animated animals / Doritos:
OK, so it’s not technically star-driven. But this animated riff set to Salt-N-Pepa’s 1986 evergreen “Push It” reprises the anthropomorphism that has scored big many times over the years (see: Budweiser frogs and Mountain Dew’s “Puppy Monkey Baby”):
Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd / Lay’s
On an amusingly exaggerated blue-screen set, a beret-wearing Rudd explains the concept of a teaser to the baffled Rogen — or at least he starts to.
Arnold Schwarzenegger / BMW
The Zeus half of the Schwarzenegger-Salma Hayek pairing slated to team up during the game orders coffee:
Jennifer Coolidge, Gwyneth Paltrow, Trevor Noah / UberEats
The trio will appear in the same spot on game day, but UberEats broke out three separate teasers, revolving around the idea of non-food delivery, or Uber “Don’t” Eats. (Paltrow even riffs on her wellness company Goop’s $75 vagina-scented candle.) It’s as big of a starry swing as last year’s Wayne’s World reunion:
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