Peyton Manning is battling for football immortality. Russell Wilson, a chance to stake his claim as the man most likely to take over the "best QB" throne once Manning departs. It will be a battle for the ages, between arguably the best offense in NFL history and the league's best def...oh, who the heck cares, get me to a commercial.
While most of us, the faithful football fans who slogged through 17 weeks of watching the Jaguars and Texans to get to this moment, will be on the edge of our seats, there is a sect of Super Bowl-watching public who couldn't care less about the game. The people who only watch because it's on at a party. The ones so upset with their teams' playoff fortunes that football is on their televisions only out of Sunday habit.
And, yes, those faithful millions who only watch because of the commercials. With companies spending upwards of $4 million merely for a 30-second spot, the competition between ad agencies and rival companies to make a memorable commercial is arguably as fierce as those playing on the field. One mistake could cost people their jobs. One brilliant ad could pad executives' pockets and send the career of a young ad exec skyrocketing.
Not that there's any pressure here or anything.
Still, in my advanced age (23), I'm starting to think that the Internet is ruining the Super Bowl commercial experience. As a child, more than half the intrigue was the element of surprise. Now, sites like YouTube and Hulu are putting up teaser ads or even allowing Super Bowl ads to be shown weeks in advance of the game.
There will still be a few ads that sneak up on us, but we already have plenty of information at our disposal. Here is a look at what to expect from your non-game action.
Note: This article contains spoilers. If you don't want to know anything about Super Bowl ads, please kindly move away. Also: Hat-tip to the Ad Age staff for a ton of this information.
If you're looking for a "global spokesperson," it's probably not a bad idea to partner with someone whose voice alone helped carry a film to critical adulation. Scarlett Johansson will appear in her first Super Bowl commercial ever next month as the latest spokesperson for SodaStream, a company that allows folks to make their own soda out of water.
This will be the company's second Super Bowl ad, but by far its most important. The Wall Street Journal's Paul Vigna recently reported that shares for SodaStream are down 25 percent, meaning this high-profile spot will be used to reinvigorate excitement in the brand.
Let's hope the point of their ad doesn't get lost in translation.
"Wanna Crush Some Beers? Heck Ya, Bro!" [Stone Cold Steve Austin Cheers Commence]
Beer and football. Football and beer. The two are as synonymous as mid-20s angst and Girls. Arguably the most memorable commercials each Super Bowl come from the curators of alcoholic beverages, with Anheuser-Busch flexing its influence on a yearly basis.
This year, of course, is no different. Bud Light and Budweiser will both be making their way to the Super Bowl stage once more, with the former getting the much larger showcase. Ad Age noted that we'll see two "celebrity-filled" ads for Bud Light, which have pretty much been spoiled already.
Have you ever wanted to see a former California governor donning a wig and short, white shorts? Actually, don't answer that. Just watch this teaser ad featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger:
I'm about 97 percent sure the "big reveal" here will be a second celebrity opponent, with whom Mr. Schwarzenegger will play ping pong. I know, controversial opinion. But if this ad doesn't somehow involve Arnold reprising his role as detective John Kimble from 1990's Kindergarten Cop, then we have all failed miserably.
Also, Don Cheadle! Which, after watching this teaser ad, I'm not quite so sure is a good thing:
Don't worry, we're all just as confused as you are. Bud Light will be using the Super Bowl to debut a slogan, "The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens." With Arnold in a wig and short shorts and Don Cheadle having a pet llama, it's safe to say we'll be seeing a natural extension of that slogan on Super Sunday.
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
Want something to go with your adult beverage? How about a crispity, crunchity, peanut-buttery snack that will coat your stomach just enough to make sure you can fit another adult beverage?
Butterfinger will be one of many companies shilling their form of goodness, but theirs in particular might shake the candy game forever. For the first time, Butterfinger is planning to release a peanut butter cup that goes into direct competition with the tried and true Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
In the world of peanut butter-based snacks, that's a giant shot fired. The cup game has been in Reese's corner for years, with only the Mallo Cup [makes scrunchy face] being even remotely similar. But Nestle, Butterfinger's parent company, goes for the gusto with this shot at the bow:
E.J. Schultz of Ad Age noted that Butterfinger will use the Super Bowl to move away from longtime spokesperson Bart Simpson and toward a less niche audience. Ay caramba!
M&M's and Doritos also have commercials planned. And also Cheerios, which seems strange, but whatever.
Drive Our Car, Please
Commercials for cars on Super Sunday are always interesting. Agencies both have to highlight the features that differentiate their vehicles from the other 6,000 while keeping things entertaining and creating a conversation. Sure, I'd like to know if I'm going to have heated seats. But if you can give me a monkey jumping on a trampoline while juggling bowling pins, that would be swell too.
Audi, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Toyota and Volkswagen each bought ad time, per Ad Age. At the moment, only Jaguar has sent out a Super Bowl teaser—and it's interesting, to say the least:
Hide ya kids, hide ya wife, I guess.
GoDaddy Is Back, Which Is Just Swell
The last time GoDaddy was on the Super Bowl stage, it was creating a wave of controversy with its ad that featured model Bar Refaeli kissing Jesse Heiman. For the whole commercial. While there were certainly some cultural undertones that came with the criticism of that spot, it's at least safe to say it wasn't the most comfortable 30 seconds of anyone's lives.
This year it seems GoDaddy is taking a stark left turn. At least one of the spots will feature NASCAR driver Danica Patrick—get it? left turn?—and move toward a more conservative approach.
It's unclear what any of the ads entail, but teaser pictures of Patrick wearing a muscle suit have been making the rounds. I'm curious to see how the website-hosting company moves away from the more risque approach.
Aloe Blacc. Somewhere. Probably.
If you don't know who Aloe Blacc is (though you should), you certainly know his latest hit song, "The Man." It's been featured in multiple Beats by Dre commercials, ad breaks for multiple networks and so on and so forth. One said Beats commercial features Super Bowl participant Richard Sherman, who could probably use his headphones to drown out the noise following his NFC Championship postgame press conference with Erin Andrews on Sunday, Jan. 19.
That said, Sherman is not the star here. Aloe Blacc is. He's the man, he's the man, he's the man, he's the man. Or something. Where Robin Thicke once taught you of "Blurred Lines" and Kings of Leon once reminded you that you could "Use Somebodaaaay," Mr. Blacc will remind you that you indeed are the man, yes you are, yes you are, yes you are.
On one side, this is painfully annoying. On the other, Aloe Blacc also seems like a pretty cool dude when he's not making me weep.
Take the good with the bad, I guess.
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