Ad Age is counting down to Super Bowl LVII. In the weeks leading up to the game, which will air on Fox on Feb. 12, Ad Age will bring you breaking news, analysis and first looks at the high-stakes, Big Game commercials—all in our Super Bowl newsletter. Sign up right here to get them via email.
A Cinderella story
For last year’s Super Bowl, Michelob Ultra and Wieden+Kennedy channeled “The Big Lebowski” with two bowling-themed, celebrity-filled spots called “Superior Bowl.” This year, the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand is poised to rekindle another classic movie, “Caddyshack.” It has begun running teaser ads showing CBS NFL analyst and ex-player Tony Romo, soccer star Alex Morgan and boxer Canelo Álvarez re-enacting iconic scenes from the 1980 comedy.
The spots, which were released on Ultra’s YouTube page and ran during last weekend’s playoff games, urge viewers to “order Ultra now” by displaying a QR code that links to an Instacart page. The e-commerce play is an obvious attempt to connect Super Bowl marketing to immediate sales, something that is often easier said than done.
AB InBev will not have the game to itself this year after it surrendered its long-held exclusivity. And this week we learned more about what its top competitor Molson Coors is planning: It teased a faux competition between Miller Lite and Coors Light for the brewer’s lone ad in the game, via a New York Times ad. Droga5 is the agency. (FWIW: The shop also has the NYT account.)
Who else is in?
To date, 25 marketers have confirmed Super Bowl national ad buys, including some that will run multiple ads. There were 65 ads in last year’s game. Brands that this week confirmed ad buys for the 2023 game include E-Trade (the baby is back); Heineken (it will plug its non-alcoholic beer via an Ant-Man collab); and Squarespace (it is going the celeb route).
To keep track of all the advertisers running national spots in the game, bookmark Ad Age’s regularly updated Super Bowl ad chart.
Running in place
Of course, countless brands will seize on the Super Bowl without buying an ad—a tactic that has gotten easier in recent years with the rise of social media. Among those searching for eyeballs will be one that caters to those on four legs—PetSmart, which is trying to take advantage of the fact that the game, played in Glendale, Arizona, is near its Phoenix headquarters. Among the pet retailer’s plans: an “MVPets TAILgate tour,” which asks pet parents in 30 towns in the Southwest to test their skills on a human-sized hamster wheel.
For a behind-the-scenes look at Super Bowl ad planning, check out Ad Age’s Super Bowl Playbook event on Feb. 7. It will feature brand leaders and agency execs behind the ads. Register here for the virtual event.
This day in Super Bowl history
Super Bowl X was played on this day in 1976 when the Steelers beat the Cowboys in Miami. The game, aired by CBS, featured a halftime show by Up With People (you can relive that here, at your own risk). A 30-second spot averaged $125,000.
Advertisers included Xerox, whose “Monks” spot for its 9200 copier from Needham, Harper & Steers is seen as one of the first notable Super Bowl ads (coming 8 years before Apple’s classic “1984” spot that really put Big Game advertising on the map).