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Hello Super Bowl junkies,

I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s senior editor, counting down the final days to Super Bowl LV. With kickoff less than a week away—CBS will air the game on Feb. 7—Ad Age brings you breaking news, analysis and first looks at the high-stakes, big-game commercials, all in our Super Bowl Alerts newsletter. Sign up right here to get them in your email.

Art of the tease

While there was a large dump of commercials today (see more below), It seems fewer brands released teasers for their in-game spots this year compared to prior years. In 2016, on the Monday morning before the Super Bowl, 61 different brands had released 177 unique pre-releases and ads. But at the same point in 2020, only 64 brands had released 24 unique creative pieces—and many of those pre-releases were from PepsiCo for its portfolio, according to data from iSpot. This year, the number of brands and the amount of creative work dropped early is down yet again, with only 18 pre-releases from 27 brands in the same period. Brands have been rethinking their teaser approaches, especially this year, with more brands adopting a less-is-more approach as they navigate the peculiar challenges brought by COVID and political strife, Ad Age's Jessica Wohl and Ann-Christine Diaz write.

Ad dump

A large batch of Super Bowl advertisers decided to release their commercials today, making for an interesting mash-up of previous Bud Light Legends, a Jonas brother, the return of Lil Nas X, and remakes of at least two hit songs.

Bud Light is betting that drinkers still remember its classic ad characters—some from many years ago—including the “I love you man” guy, Dr. Galazkiewicz, the “Real Men of Genius” singer, plus Cedric the Entertainer, who last appeared in a Bud Light Super bowl ad in 2005, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz writes. The characters unite in a 60-second spot that also includes some more recent ad stars, like the Bud Knight and Post Malone, who appeared in the brew’s Super Bowl ad last year.

Nostalgia seems to once again be a running thread in Super Bowl ads (think Uber’s ‘Wayne’s World’ reboot).

Rewatch those Bud Light ads and more in Ad Age’s extensive Super Bowl ad archive

Lil Nas X is back in the game after last year’s Doritos ad, this time for Logitech, Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli reports. The 60-second spot is part of the marketer’s new brand campaign “Defy Logic” that focuses on creators, artists and activists.

Last year, Lil Nas X also appeared in a Super Bowl spot where he challenged Sam Elliott to a dance-off for Doritos. 

Other ads that debuted today include: Amazon’s Alexa will take a human form in Michael B. Jordan; Matthew McConaughey is flat and puffs back up, thanks to Doritos 3D Crunch; Scotts Miracle-Gro shows how celebs like Martha Stewart and John Travolta used their backyards amid the pandemic; and Dolly Parton puts a new twist to her classic “9 to 5” song for Squarespace’s Super Bowl commercial

See these ads and all the Super Bowl commercials released so far here.

Ins and outs

State Farm and T-Mobile are the latest brands to announce they will air commercials in the game.

This will be the first outing for State Farm. Last year, the insurer ran a spot that introduced a new version of brand spokesman Jake in the pre-show before the Super Bowl. State Farm joins the fray coming off a year of record growth, thanks in part to marketing nimbleness amid COVID-19.

T-Mobile took to Twitter today to announce its return, with chief marketing officer Matt Staneff noting the wireless carrier will air at least one commercial in the game. According to T-Mobile’s Twitter account: “There will be some football, maybe a cowboy, definitely some fire, throw in some music.’s not what you think.” I’m not even sure what I was thinking, but I assume 5G will be involved.

One brand that won’t be returning is Hulu, breaking its four-year streak. Last year, the streamer aired a spot starring quarterback Tom Brady.

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

For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.

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