Super Bowl commercials have, for some time now, been on a trend of featuring more and more celebrities, in ever intriguing and beguiling ways.
Indeed, the NFL has had its very own celebrity endorsement this season, with the Grammy award winning singer, Taylor Swift, dating the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end, Travis Kelce.
Her sheer presence at his games has boosted viewing figures somewhere in the region of an additional 2 million female viewers. Since Swift first appeared in the crowd at one their games back in late September, it’s generated an equivalent brand value in media mentions and coverage, of over $330m (£238m) for the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL. And, weirdly, some major conspiracy theories about her being a Democratic plant and the NFL fixing games.
When it comes to the commercials that surround Sunday’s Super Bowl, celebrity endorsements will once again be bountiful. Albeit probably not on the same rate of return as the Swift-Kelce-effect.
Pricey Super Bowl
With a 30 second spot costing on average $7m (£5.5m), and around 70 commercials during the game, a well-played celebrity can be the move that gets a brand talked about. That’s important because talkability is a metric that a lot of brands will be judged upon once the Super Bowl dust settles.
The better adverts will use their celebrities well, not allowing their fame to become the idea but rather having their fame amplify the idea itself.
Obviously, there are different levels of celebrity and there will also be a wow factor when a big name appears. It used to be that the adverts were decorated with former NFL players, the odd comedian and maybe a Hollywood actor, depending on how good the script was. This year, the sea of celebrity is vast, deep with some huge names bobbing along.
There’s Kris Jenner for Oreo cookies, Chris Pratt for Pringles, Jason Momoa and the guys from Scrubs for T-Mobile, Arnold Schwarzenegger for State Farm, Aubrey Plaza for Mountain Dew, Post Malone for Bud Light, Mr T for Skechers, Lionel Messi kicks a ball for Michelob Ultra, Jenna Ortega stars for Doritos, Martin Scorcese has made his commercial directorial debut with an alien invasion for website builders, Squarespace, and there are many, many, many more that a lot British readers won’t recognise but presumably a lot of Americans would.
The three commercials that really stood out though, have done so using their celebrity pulls most adeptly.
Top three Super Bowl adverts
BMW is selling its self-professed inimitable electric car with the help of the inimitable actor, Christopher Walken. It brilliantly has fun with Walken’s distinctive intonation and how much he’s become a go-to for impersonations. Yeah, it’s a little random when the singer Usher appears, but he is performing at the game’s halftime show, so it’s not completely absurd.
Uber Eats tells us that in order to remember they deliver far more than just food, we need to forget something to clear a little memory space. Cue some big celebrities forgetting something obvious. Victoria & David Beckham forget which girl group Victoria was in, Jennifer Aniston forgets about the whole Ross & Rachel thing in Friends, Jelly Roll forgets he has face tattoos and Usher (again) forgets he’s playing the halftime show. Let’s hope he sees the BMW ad to remind him.
STōK Cold Brew Coffee are promoting their ‘official stadium sponsorship of Wrexham AFC’. It stars the greatest Welsh actor of all time, Sir Anthony Hopkins, in his most challenging role yet as the Wrexham matchday mascot–a red, roaring dragon named Wrex. Intercut with footage of Wrex running around the pitch from an actual Wrexham game, the film really bursts the bubble of American football hype, with a sharp punch of British self-deprecating humour.
Steve Howell is the executive creative director at Dark Horses