I’m Ad Age Editor Jeanine Poggi, counting down to Super Bowl LVI. In the weeks leading up to the game, which will, as of now, air on NBC on Feb. 13, 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.
Liv Mas modernized
Taco Bell is returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2016 with an ??ad showcasing a “modern expression” of its Live Más motto, Ad Age’s Jon Springer reports. The commercial comes as the brand celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
Taco Bell's last Super Bowl commercial was called “Bigger Than Futbol,” which introduced its Quesalupa. The fast-food chain has aired Super Bowl commercials in at least nine years dating back to 1995.
You can watch all of Taco Bell’s previous Super Bowl ads and more in our voluminous, searchable Super Bowl Ad Archive.
Out of NFL soil come potato chips
Lays is another brand making its Super Bowl return after a long hiatus. The chip brand will air its first Big Game commercial in 17 years, Springer writes. Ahead of the in-game commercial, Lays is releasing a limited edition NFL-inspired potato chip called Lay’s Golden Grounds. What makes this chip so special? Well, the potatoes used were grown in soil extracted from every NFL team’s home stadium. Nothing tastier than football cleats.
To keep track of all the advertisers running national spots in the game, bookmark Ad Age’s regularly updated Super Bowl ad chart.
Travel is in
As the pandemic continues to disrupt travel plans, with thousands of flights canceled in recent weeks, Booking.com plans to air a 30-second spot in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. The travel booking site worked with Horses & Mules on creative and Mindshare on media buying, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports.
This is the first travel brand to announce its return to the Big Game since the pandemic began. No brand in the category aired a Super Bowl spot in 2020 or 2021. Back in 2019, Norwegian Cruise Line and Turkish Airlines both appeared in the game.
Auto category revs ups
General Motors is the latest auto brand announcing its return to the Super Bowl, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports. GM will make an appearance in the Big Game for the third straight year, but provided no details on how many spots it will air and with nameplates it will feature.
GM is the third automaker to publicly confirm plans to advertise in the Big Game, following Nissan and Toyota.
Hyundai won’t air a Super Bowl commercial this year, but still found a way to tie the brand to the Big Game. The company is turning to fictional ad man Dre Johnson from ABC sitcom “Black-ish” to develop a Super Bowl spot for Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer, wrote on LinkedIn. This is part of an integration deal Hyundai struck with Disney and aired in last night's episode of the show.
'Puppy Bowl' NFTs
In the first of what’s expected to be at least a few NFTs tied to the Super Bowl, Animal Planet is creating “Puppy Bowl”-themed digital tokens, Ad Age’s Asa Hiken reports. The opening drop features 5,000 free tokens of the “Puppy Bowl Pass,” which offers fans a piece of digital memorabilia as well as first access to the upcoming drops of NFTs that will vary in price and rarity. The full series of non-fungible tokens includes 23 unique cards that will be doled out weekly before the game airs on Feb. 13.
Avocados From Mexico, which will return to the Super Bowl after sitting out last year, is looking to make the fruit more shoppable in the lead up to the game. This includes a virtual “House of Goodness” activation hosted by former New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. House of Goodness includes virtual spaces consumers can navigate through and take a selfie with Brees, watch the brand’s Super Bowl commercial, discover new guacamole recipes and of course, purchase avocados.
“We're headed into this Big Game with a more modern view of marketing that aims to fuse our branding and performance efforts into a novel approach that we have defined as ‘brandformance’ – taking our innovation to the next level in both territories: branding and marketing-driven sales,” Ivonne Kinser, VP, marketing and innovation for the AFM brand, said in a statement.
Avocados From Mexico also struck a deal with MikMak to make every digital and social ad shoppable, giving consumers the ability to purchase the product wherever they interact with the brand's Big Game campaign. This is part of a larger data play to learn more about how its consumers shop.
This day in Super Bowl history
Super Bowl III was played 53 years ago today when Joe Namath’s New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts. Ads only cost $67,000 for 30 seconds on NBC. (For this year’s game NBC is seeking $6.5 million.) Advertisers included Chrysler’s Plymouth and Schlitz beer, according to the Ad Age Super Bowl Archive.