We’re looking at the world’s most high-profile marketing opportunity: the Super Bowl halftime show. Sure, there was Rihanna doing what Rihanna does best, but there was also Pringles jokes to absorb! What’s not to love?
But seriously, is the Super Bowl even about football anymore?
Rakuten, Pepsi, T-Mobile, and Paramount+ – A trend of celebrities reprising roles
There was definitely a trend of nostalgia baiting this year, and why not? Movies do it, TV does it, and marketers can do it too. This year we saw Cher return to her Beverly Hills high school with Alicia Silverstone in her iconic yellow plaid skirt combo for the e-Commerce company Rakuten. Do you remember Rakuten? They were once called Play.com and were Amazon before Amazon. Nowadays, no one would know that name. But would they forget Cher? Ugh, as if!
Pepsi had Ben Still put on the Blue Steel again from Zoolander, T-Mobile reunited JD and Turk in a musical ad starring John Travolta singing Grease songs in quite a bizarre mash-up (that feels just a touch in bad taste given the second star of Grease, Olivia Newton-John, passed away in August of last year), and – rather than using any of the clips from its entertainment platform – Paramount Plus decided to hang Sylvester Stallone from a cliff, much like his 1993 “blockbuster”, Cliffhanger. I’d have gone for something Rocky or Rambo myself.
But, those who get it, get it, and those who don’t, don’t. And those who get it will really appreciate it. A concept marketers should remember when considering big content creators for marketing purposes.
M&Ms – Controversy will get people talking if nothing else
We covered the M&M’s “controversy” extensively in a past article, but the result of the situation came to a head when the M&M’s advert was broadcast. True to their promise, the sweet-shelled mascots were gone, and in their place was Maya Rudolph, declaring that M&Ms would now be called “Ma&Yas”, but not really. Did you hear a pity laugh? We didn’t.
Budweiser and Pringles – A universal in-joke is always funny
“Six degrees of separation” was once turned into a meme in a time before memes existed. It became “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon”. Why? Because it sounded similar. Fast forward a few decades and we’ve got the Budweiser commercial, where beer is passed from person to person with small tangential links to each other until finally, it reaches Kevin Bacon.
Along the same lines, we have to appreciate Pringles, who took the in-joke of their fanbase to a logical conclusion. We see an operating room, and a very concerned surgeon speaking on an epidemic of similar injuries: getting an arm stuck in a Pringles can. There is the option to make the can wider, Pringles, but where is the marketing in that?
Dunkin’ Donuts – Celebrity endorsements need something more
There were a lot of celebrities involved in this year’s Super Bowl campaigns. Of course. That’s its thing. Celebrity endorsements are everywhere. Serena Williams and Kevin Bacon showed up twice. Certain brands made more than one commercial, all featuring celebrities.
But Ben Affleck was something different. He donned the Dunkin’ Donuts uniform and headed to his nearest drive-thru, where customers got to gasp at Batman, or the Sad Affleck Meme, depending on your tastes, handing them a coffee and a doughnut. It was gaining traction before the Super Bowl ever aired, due to customers now all having a video camera in their pocket.
Perhaps the lesson here is that having your celebrity simply show up and say, “This is good”, isn’t going to get people talking anymore. It’s been well overdone by this point. And if all else failed, Anna Faris’ commercial for Avocados From Mexico proves that even a hint of nudity will get people talking.
Bud Light – Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best
Miles Teller recently went viral for a 0.5-second clip of him shimmy-dancing on the beach in Top Gun: Maverick. Fan edits swamped TikTok. So, what was Bud Light’s big idea? To have Miles Teller dance for 30 seconds. Oh, and his wife was there too. You wouldn’t know if you’d only seen the ensuing TikTok fan edits.
A missed opportunity?
What we at Affiliate Insider noted most, however, was the distinct lack of internet celebrities spotlighted at the Super Bowl. It’s happened in the past: Rice Gum, Logan Paul, Roman Atwood, and Chief Pat have all made appearances in the past. This year, KSI and Logan Paul have teamed up to release their own advert for their own viral drink, Prime, but marketers don’t seem to have caught on to the power of influencers. It’s the same concept as micro-influencers: smaller audience, more dedicated. The topic is one we will go more deeply into another day.
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