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Hello Super Bowl junkies,

I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s senior editor, counting down 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 Alert newsletter. Sign up right here to get them in your email. 

First time

Vroom became the first Super Bowl LV advertiser to reveal its in-game creative on Tuesday. The online auto retailer will make its Big Game debut with a spot that dramatizes the painful process of car shopping. There’s a car-dealership-turned-torture-chamber that reminds us that most of 2020 felt like an interrogation. Watch the spot here.

Two more newbies are joining the Super Bowl ad game after the pandemic created opportunities for the brands to grow their consumer bases.

As more people turned to gardening during the pandemic, Scotts Miracle-Gro is embracing the increased interest in lawn care with plans to air its first Super Bowl commercial. The mantra of the campaign is “keep growing,” and the 30-second spot, created with agency VaynerMedia, will reflect on what the outdoors meant for people during the pandemic—from grilling, to having a space to work out, to creating an area to work remotely or for kids to do virtual schooling. The commercial is designed to be optimistic, warm and forward-looking, says John Sass, VP, advertising, Scotts Miracle-Gro. “It’s rooted in the truths we would all recognize, and authentic to what consumers experienced in the pandemic.”

And freelance marketplace Fiverr is looking to capitalize on the uptick in freelance workers and small-to-midsize businesses who were either looking for work or seeking part-time help during the pandemic with its first Super Bowl spot.

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

Not this time

Several marketers that joined the Super Bowl fray in 2020 won’t be back this year.

Hershey Co.’s Reese’s used the Super Bowl last year to help bolster the launch of Take 5. This year, the candy maker will instead “focus on driving brand awareness and sales for our suite of brands through other means and key events, including the Summer Games,” according to Hershey Chief Marketing Officer Jill Baskin.

Pop-Tarts also won’t be part of the Big Game, after showcasing its Pop-Tarts pretzel flavor in 2020. This year, the brand doesn’t have any new flavors to promote during the beginning of the year, according to a spokesperson.

And Audi, which has aired 11 Super Bowl commercials, won’t be in the game this year, either. In 2020, Audi channeled Disney’s “Frozen” in a spot starring “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams. The ad plugged the automaker's electric vehicles. "As our brand looks to the future, we’re excited to share the next chapter of our story—one just as thrilling as our fans have come to expect from Audi, and one also grounded in our core values and an electrifying vision of what’s possible. We’ve got more to come," a spokeswoman said in an email.  

Audi is the latest automaker to stay on the sidelines. Hyundai, another regular Super Bowl advertiser, also won’t return.

Snack time

Frito-Lay is back in the Super Bowl with spots for its Cheetos and Doritos brands, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports. Each of the in-game spots will focus on new products: Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix, a combination of Cheetos Crunchy and Cheetos Popcorn that was released on Monday; and Doritos 3D Crunch, a snack introduced in late December that updates the Doritos 3D from 1998. While the company did not reveal details around creative for either brand, it did release pajama-clad images of NFL stars—including Marshawn Lynch, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders—as part of a broader portfolio campaign.

From the archives: Last year, Cheetos returned to the game for the first time in a decade with an ad featuring MC Hammer who reminded viewers of all the things they can’t touch with the snack’s eponymous dust on their fingers. Doritos 2020 spot starred singer Lil Nas X and actor Sam Elliott engaging in a dance battle.

Dive further into Big Game ads of yore in Ad Age’s extensive Super Bowl ad archive

NFL updates 

The National Football League is certainly in the midst of the most unique season in its history. For brands, the situation brings challenges, but also opportunities. Ad Age has been chronicling how marketers have been adapting and updates on how the NFL is navigating COVID obstacles.


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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