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Hello Super Bowl junkies,

I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s senior editor, kicking-off our countdown to Super Bowl LV. In the weeks leading up to the game, which will, as of now, air on CBS on Feb. 7, 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 in your email.

No Pizza, Pizza

After airing its first Super Bowl commercial in 2020, Little Caesars won’t return to the Big Game this year, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports. “I think you’ve got to have something really important to say,” Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Klein, who helped convinced the family-owned chain to spend on the Super Bowl in 2020, said during the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast. “We’re not a brand that has a problem with unaided awareness.” 

Last year, when Little Caesars announced its new delivery option, it made sense to fork over a few million dollars for air time. But amid COVID, brands need to think carefully about committing to such a costly event in an uncertain climate.

Little Caesars is one of several marketers who have advertised in the game in recent years and plan to sit out this year. Sabra Hummus won’t return after making its debut last year, and neither will Facebook. The social network instead plans to focus its efforts on the Grammy Awards (which on Tuesday were postponed to March), according to a company spokeswoman.

Olay also won’t bring its female-focused messaging back to the Super Bowl. After airing commercials in the last two games, the Procter & Gamble beauty brand has not bought commercial time in 2021. The company is committed to its messaging around women in STEM for the next decade, and this year will lean more heavily into the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11.

The longest-running Super Bowl advertiser to sit out this year is Avocados From Mexico, which is breaking its six-year streak. The company said in October it will use this year to “reinvent itself.”

You can take a look at prior Super Bowl ads from these companies and many others in our voluminous, searchable Super Bowl Ad Archive.

So who will air commercials?

At this point in the Super Bowl news cycle, the number of confirmed brands is down from years prior. Currently, there are seven brands confirmed to advertise in the Big Game, down from 17 on Jan. 7, 2020.

Thus far, all of the Super Bowl advertisers confirmed have a history of running commercials in the game. This marks both WeatherTech’s and TurboTax’s eighth consecutive appearances; Toyota and Pringles will each run their fourth consecutive ads; and Mtn Dew is back in the game for its second straight year and is expected to plug its new Major Melon flavor, a watermelon-flavored version. 

M&M’s is also returning after sitting out last year, with an ad intended to make people smile following a grim year. The goal of the campaign will be to “inspire people to find ways of connecting with each other,” according to the company.

Light-hearted humor will likely be the underlying tone to many Super Bowl campaigns this year, as brands take on the responsibility of uplifting spirits while also remaining cautious of anything that could further divide people.

To keep track of all the advertisers running national spots in the game, bookmark Ad Age’s regularly updated Super Bowl ad chart

That does it for today’s Super Bowl Update. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. 

Join Ad Age on Feb. 2 for a look at how brands are navigating the pandemic and addressing diversity in their ads for the 2021 game.

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