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Hello Super Bowl junkies, I’m Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age’s senior editor, taking one last look at what you need to know about all of the commercials before Super Bowl LV gets underway later today.

ReUnited States of America

Jeep’s chief marketing officer has been chasing The Boss for 10 years; and he finally landed him for a two-minute commercial that calls for unity in deeply divided America. The ad, narrated by Bruce Springsteen, centers on the U.S. Center Chapel, a tiny wooden worship house in Lebanon, Kansas that Springsteen describes in the ad as “standing in the exact center of the lower 48.” The geographic center of America is used as a metaphor for the political middle ground, which Springsteen describes in the spot as “a hard place to get to lately—between red and blue, between servant and citizen, between our freedom and our fear”—a clear reference to the nation’s political turmoil, including the deadly Capitol riots and continuing fights between supporters and critics of former president Donald Trump, Schultz writes.

Watch the commercial, and read how Oliver Francois has pursued Springsteen for the last decade, here.

'Scissorhands' sequel

Cadillac is imagining a happier ending for Edward Scissorhands and his love Kim. In the automaker’s version, the two end up with a son named Edgar. Winona Ryder reprises her role as the suburban princess (though Johnny Depp doesn’t appear in the ad). Edgar has the same dangerous appendages as his dad, making day-to-day life tough—until mom finds a way for him to drive, thanks to Cadillac Lyriq’s hands-free Super Cruise function. It’s a highly produced ad that is certainly looking to capitalize on the success Jeep had last year with its re-telling of another classic flick, “Groundhog Day,” but not sure if this one will land the same way. Watch the spot here

Don’t hate on Norway

Norway is used as a foil in General Motor’s Super Bowl ad, which shows Will Ferrell punching a globe because the peace-loving country outranks the U.S. in electric vehicle sales. Other auto makers are coming to Norway’s rescue. Audi’s Norway division tapped Norwegian actor and “Game of Thrones” star Kristoffer Hivju for a new video, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports. In it, Hivju picks up a globe and says, “You want to punch us in the face?” and ends with the message, “Don’t hate. Imitate.” (Audi is among the brands that get a high percentage of sales in Norway from EVs.) Ford’s Norway unit also got in on the fun.

Final ad tally

It seems more Super Bowl advertisers are looking to surprise viewers this year. There were 35 pre-released commercials this year, compared with 43 last year. Watch them all here.

You won’t get to see commercials from Huggies, DoorDash, E-Trade, DraftKings, T-Mobile, Verizon, Jeep, Hellmann’s or Fiverr until they air in the game. What’s more, just about 53 ad slots are accounted for, according to Ad Age’s tally. Last year there were around 60 national ads (this does not include promo ads run by the network airing the game).

What we do know … who won’t be advertising. Super Bowl stalwarts Budweiser, Coke, Pepsi, Hyundai and Kia, among others, are sitting on the sidelines. This is the first time Budweiser won’t air a Super Bowl commercial in 37 years. We will certainly miss the Clydesdales and puppies, so we relived some of our favorite ads from the brewer here.

You can re-watch these commercials and more in Ad Age’s extensive Super Bowl ad archive.

There will be far fewer car ads in the Super Bowl this year, with four automakers running five ads. Last year, six automakers consumed a total of seven minutes and 30 seconds of airtime.

Unsurprisingly, there also won’t be very many trailers for blockbuster films, as many new movies continue to be delayed. Currently, we only have Walt Disney Studios confirmed to air a spot.  

And one category currently completely absent is travel, with no indication of any hotels or airlines planning on airing ads.

These brands will be replaced by at least 21 first-time Super Bowl advertisers, including Huggies, Chipotle, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Indeed. This is up from 11 newbies last year.

For the most current look at all the marketers confirmed to air national spots in Super Bowl LV, check out our Super Bowl ad chart.

Trends to watch

In the wake of the social justice movement, Ad Age took a look at the efforts being made by marketers to make Super Bowl ads more inclusive. Of the ads pre-released so far, there are 27 people of color in leading or featured roles, on par with 2020. There are currently 29 women with starring or featured roles compared with 52 men. Last year saw a much more even split in gender: with about 21 women in leading or features roles compared with 30 men.

Super Bowl ads are more humorous and lighthearted this year, as marketers, it seems, don't want to go anywhere near politics or issues that could be viewed as controversial. Of the 35 ads released so far, just nine have a more serious tone. The rest—even when they address hardships of the last year, like in Bud Light “Lemons” and M&M’s “Come Together” spot—are looking to inject a bit of joy into a depressing year.

We are also seeing more brands supporting small businesses with their Super Bowl campaigns. Here are the trends we are following.

ICYMI, Ad Age’s Ethan Jacob Craft, takes a look at why Canadians can’t watch most American Super Bowl commercials.

Follow us during the game

Ad Age’s editorial team will be bringing you all the Super Bowl commercial news and reactions during the game.

Follow @AdAge on Twitter, starting at 6 p.m. EST, where I will be tweeting commentary, insights and analysis about all the commercials. Be sure to join the conversation!

Over on @Creativitymag, Alfred Maskeroni will also be tweeting some commentary.

And follow reporters and editors Judy Pollack (@judy_pollack), E.J. Schultz (@ejschultz3), Adrianne Pasquarelli (@shelikestoshop), and Ann-Christine Diaz (@annzo).

 

That's it for our special game day edition of Super Bowl Alert. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well.

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