Ad Age is counting down to Super Bowl LVII. In the days leading up to the game, which will air on Fox on Feb. 12, 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 via email.
So far, 17 Super Bowl ads have been released—and the overwhelming majority of them go for laughs. Only Dexcom and WeatherTech are bypassing humor, and those spots lean more informational than tear-jerking. Choosing comedy over drama is a trend that is likely to continue as we get a look at more ads in the coming days. While there are plenty of timely serious issues that brands could tackle—from climate change to social justice—marketers have mostly avoided such topics in recent Super Bowls. Sixty percent of the ads in last year’s game went for humor, while only 19% were considered heartfelt—a nine-year low, according to analysis from ad tracker iSpot.
Of course, humor is not always easy. “Comedy is the hardest to pull off. It can fail so spectacularly,” Lalou Dammond, a director at Biscuit Filmworks, said during a panel discussion today at Ad Age’s Super Bowl Playbook virtual event. One risk is trying too hard, or saying something offensive. Katherine O’Brien, a group creative director at VaynerMedia, which is behind this year’s comedy roast-themed Planters spot, said the key is having a “big and diverse writing team” and “capturing multiple perspectives.” She added that “you don’t want…a singular point of view that is going to be excluding others.”
“You want to make people happy with your spot, you don’t want to hurt people,” she said.
Read more: Super Bowl 2023 commercials released so far
So much for ChatGPT’s Big Game moment. As reported by Ad Age late last week, Avocados from Mexico is backtracking on plans to use a QR code in its commercial that would have linked to the generative AI tool, which would then be used to create tweets from viewers. But AI will get some love in at least two cities during the game. Dialpad, an AI-powered customer intelligence platform, will run a regional Super Bowl commercial in San Francisco and Seattle, that includes 42 AI-themed Easter eggs, including references to HAL computer from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Matrix” and the Roomba vacuum.
Check out Ad Age’s Super Bowl blog for real-time Big Game updates.
Ben for Dunkin’
When Ben Affleck appeared a bit forlorn during Sunday’s Grammys broadcast, one person joked that he would rather be at Dunkin’. Well, it turns out the actor was at his favorite coffee and donuts chain last month shooting a Super Bowl ad. Ad Age confirmed today that the actor will star in the national ad, which comes from Anomaly. No word yet whether Jennifer Lopez will also appear, but she was at the ad shoot with him, according to photos shared on social media.
In other celeb news, General Motors released its Will Ferrell ad that plugs Netflix shows (and EVs); Uber is out with its Sean “Diddy” Combs spot (it includes catchy songs and cameos); Nick Jonas is back for Dexcom; and the PopCorners “Breaking Bad” ad starring Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston is out.
See the Super Bowl teasers released so far
This day in Super Bowl history
Super Bowl XLIV was played on this day in 2010 when the Saints beat the Colts in Miami led by Drew Brees. But for ad savants, this will forever be known as the Betty White game. She starred for Snickers in the now classic “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign. It won USA Today’s Ad Meter and sparked a resurgence for the comedic actress; she hosted “Saturday Night Live” a few months later. Ad Age revisited the Snickers ad in January 2022, days after White’s death at the age of 99. David Lubars, chief creative officer at BBDO, shared that the agency originally planned to use an ad starring Aretha Franklin in the game.
For a complete look at Big Game commercial history, check out Ad Age’s Super Bowl ad archive.