I’m Ad Age Editor Jeanine Poggi, counting down to Super Bowl LVI. In the weeks leading up to the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams, which will 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.
All sold out
NBC announced that it has officially sold out of commercial time in Super Bowl LVI, with some 30-second commercials fetching as much as $7 million. This year’s game will see the resurgence of several key advertising categories that took a back seat in last year’s game amid pandemic uncertainty, including autos and travel. The technology, entertainment and health and wellness categories are also particularly strong. There are more than 30 first-time Super Bowl advertisers in this year’s game, according to NBC, which tops the 25 newcomers to the game in 2021.
My first time
Currently, Ad Age has 18 first-time Super Bowl advertisers confirmed to run commercials.
One of these first-time advertisers is Carvana, which released its Super Bowl ad on Wednesday. The spot centers around an “oversharing mom” who can't stop talking about her Carvana buying experience. In true mom fashion, she tells everyone she encounters —her son, an elevator full of people, a grocery store employee, a hairstylist, guests at a wedding and more—that she had a pleasant customer journey.
You can watch Carvana’s ad and all the Super Bowl ads released so far here.
The sports betting category’s presence in and around the Super Bowl is continuing to grow, with Caesars Sportsbook making its Big Game debut, Ad Age’s Mark Fischer reports. The spot will include high-profile celebrity appearances from actor and comedian J.B. Smoove playing Julius Caesar; actress Halle Berry as Caesar’s lover, Cleopatra; as well as Eli, Peyton, Archie and Cooper Manning playing themselves. All six have appeared in prior ads for the sportsbook, which launched in August.
It’s worth noting Caesars isn’t the only Super Bowl advertiser that will feature the Roman emperor in its Super Bowl spot. Avocados From Mexico also unveiled its teaser today, which shows late-night funnyman Andy Richter dressed up as Caesar.
Caesars' rival DraftKings will also air an in-game ad that introduces its new spokescharacter, the Goddess of Fortune.
To keep track of all the advertisers running national spots in the game, bookmark Ad Age’s regularly updated Super Bowl ad chart.
Gone to the (electronic) dogs
Dogs are always a winning formula for Super Bowl ads. But some brands are taking these pooches into the future, with electronic dogs having a moment, writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. Both Kia and beer brand Sam Adams are including them in Super Bowl marketing.
Kia released its 60-second Super Bowl ad that plugs its new electric vehicle, the EV6, by introducing Robo Dog. Sam Adams is using its robot dog to, appropriately, retrieve beer in a teaser for its game-day ad, which will run regionally.
Robots were a trend in the 2019 Super Bowl, but those spots from the likes of TurboTax and Pringles had a much more sinister tone, warning of the darker side of the technology.
You can watch all of the 2019 robot-themed Super Bowl ads in our voluminous, searchable Super Bowl Ad Archive.
Lights, camera, action
Another trend this year, it seems, is positioning Super Bowl ads as fake movies. Nissan tapped Eugene Levy to star in its spot, transforming him into an action film star. The ad also includes actress Brie Larson, Levy’s “Schitt’s Creek” co-star Catherine O’Hara, and actors Danai Gurira and Dave Bautista. The spot culminates in a car chase and ends with the actors emerging from what is portrayed as the red-carpet premiere of the “movie.”
Nissan is not stopping with the ad: It will distribute “limited-edition movie posters” throughout the country and tease the ad with fake movie trailers on social and digital media. The brand even made a collectible action figure based on Levy’s character, Schultz reports.
BMW is also going the cinematic route. Arnold Schwarzenegger had fans guessing when he teased some sort of Zeus project from his Instagram account last week. Turns out, that project is actually BMW’s Super Bowl ad, Schultz reports. A teaser released on Feb. 2 shows a coffee shop barista botching Zeus’ name, with the former California governor dressed in full Zeus gear walking to the counter to retrieve his macchiato. Also starring in the ad is Salma Hayek Pinault, who will play the role of Hera, who according to Greek mythology is the wife of Zeus and goddess of marriage. The spot will plug BMW’s electric vehicle.
The crypto ad Americans won’t get to see
While FTX and Crypto.com will air ads during the Super Bowl telecast on NBC, there’s another crypto brand that will also run a commercial in the Big Game that Americans won’t get to see. Canadian crypto company BitBuy released its spot starring the NBA’s Kyle Lowry that will only air in the Canadian broadcast of the Super Bowl, which runs a different set of ads.