The Super Bowl is one of the biggest advertising events of the year as brands flock to NBCUniversal to grab a slot.
This year is no different. In fact, inventory was nearly sold out by July, despite NBCUniversal asking for a record $6.5 million for 30-second ad slots, up from $5.6 million last year.
But surges of COVID-19 Omicron variant have once again shadowed sports with uncertainty. Several leagues, including the NFL, have postponed games due to positive cases.
Still, advertisers remain firm. So, who will play and who will sit on the bench?
Who is in?
Travel site Booking.com will make a splash at the Super Bowl this year with a 30-second spot debuting in the fourth quarter. The Booking Holdings-owned brand worked with Horses & Mules on its creative campaign. Mindshare handled media buying. Despite travel shares fluctuating due COVID-19 variants, Booking Holdings, which also owns Kayak, Priceline and OpenTable, reported a 77% year-over-year increase in third-quarter revenue, bringing it to $4.7 billion.
Electric vehicle charging company Wallbox will air its first commercial during Super Bowl 56. The 15-second spot, created by The David Agency, will air during the second quarter, Wallbox will also run a digital campaign after the Super Bowl airs.
Intuit TurboTax already confirmed that it will air a spot during this year’s Super Bowl. But for the first time, Quickbooks will get its own branded commercial in the game. The spot will continue the brand’s “Early Start” brand platform, according to AdAge.
A recent Quickbook ad depicts the challenge small business owners face when dealing with bookkeeping. “QuickBooks can help,” a voiceover says in the 30-second spot.
Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com will run its first Super Bowl ad as cryptocurrency and sports continue to grow its relationship. In December, the exchange platform paid a reported $700 million for naming rights on the Staples Center Arena in Los Angeles, changing the name to Crypto.com Arena. It also became a sponsor for the 2021 Coppa Italia Final in 2021.
FTX is also getting in on the action. Cryptocurrency platform FTX will run its first Super Bowl ad in February. It has not yet released creative details, but the exchange has recently scaled its bid to enter the sports world, purchasing naming rights to an arena in Miami for $135 million. In September, the exchange ran an ad starring Tom Brady as ambassador. It has named Gisele Bündchen, Stephen Curry and Shohei Ohtani brand ambassadors as well.
E-commerce company Rakuten will make its Super Bowl debut with a 30-second spot during Super Bowl LVI. The ad was created by its in-house marketing team.
Who is back?
- Taco Bell
Taco Bell will return to the Big Game after a five-year hiatus with a 30-second spot airing in the fourth quarter. The QSR returns to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year. A company spokesperson says the ad will demonstrate a “modern expression” of its Live Más motto.
The spot, produced by Deutsch LA, includes work from Edelman and Spark Foundry.
Taco Bell last appeared in the Super Bowl in 2016 with an ad titled “Bigger Than Fútbol” which introduced Quesalupa to its menu. At the time, Taco Bell took pre-orders online before debuting the new menu item.
Lay’s is returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in 17 years with a spot during the game.
The CPG giant will release a line of NFL-inspired chips for the playoffs called Lay’s Golden Grounds, with the help of NFL legend Jerry Rice. Lay’s says it used soil directly from NFL stadiums in various potato fields used to make the chips. The limited-edition line will feature NFL team colors and logos on packaging. Football fans can enter to win a bag by following Lay’s on Twitter and looking out for Golden Grounds sweepstakes tweets.
- General Motors
General Motors will return to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year, according to AdAge.
Last year, the automotive company ran two ads during the Big Game. Will Ferrell promoted its electric vehicles and Timothée Chalamet starred as Edward Scissorhands to promote the Cadillac Lyriq.
Frito-Lay is returning to the Super Bowl with a spot dedicated to its Flamin’ Hot flavors. The ad will feature Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy and Doritos’ newest flavor, Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch, as well as a soon-to-be-revealed celebrity guest.
During last year’s game, Frito-Lay ran a spot that mimicked a bedtime story featuring football legends including Peyton and Eli Manning, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Jerome Bettis, Deion Sanders. They were all too excited for the Big Game to sleep.
Google will also return to the Big Game after sitting out, according to AdAge.
In 2020, Google ran a 90-second ad titled “Loretta,” which focused on an elderly widower attempting to remember his wife. In the spot, he types “how to not forget” into Google’s search bar and usesGoogle’s virtual assistant to help with his query.
Kellogg’s Pringles will return to the Super Bowl on Feb. 13 with a 30-second spot created by WPP’s Grey Group, marking the chip brand's fifth consecutive year advertising during the Big Game.
For the last several years, Pringles’ Super Bowl commercials have focused on “flavor stacking,” or combining different Pringles flavors together in a stack. According to Adweek, the tradition started in 2018 with a 30-second Super Bowl ad starring actor and former SNL cast member Bill Hader.
Automotive company Nissan is making a comeback this year, with its first Big Game ad in seven years.
The company will run a 60-second spot this February starring actress and brand ambassador Brie Larson featuring its Airya all-electric crossover and Z sports couple vehicles.
The National Football League will advertise again this year with a spot airing during its own Super Bowl LVI.
Last year’s spot focused on the theme of unity with actor Ross Hutchinson reciting quotes from NFL Hall of Famer and coach Vince Lombardi.
- Meta/ Facebook
After a one year hiatus, Meta (Facebook) will return to the Super Bowl under its new brand name. It is unclear whether the ad will be for the parent company or one of its social media platforms.
In 2019, Facebook unveiled a 60-second spot for Super Bowl 54 promoting Facebook groups featuring comedian Chris Rock and actor Sylvester Stallone.
Intuit’s TurboTax will make an appearance at the Super Bowl for the ninth year in a row in preparation for Tax Day on April 15. The tax software brand will work with creative agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland on a spot.
At last year’s Super Bowl, TurboTax ran an ad titled “Spreading Tax Expertise Across the Land,” promoting the software’s knowledgeable experts to support DIY taxes. In 2020, the brand reminded viewers that taxes are something everyone has in common in its ad, “All People Are Tax People.”
In 2020, Intuit and the NFL agreed to partner with TurboTax becoming the NFL’s official sponsor for financial, accounting and tax software with the deal extending through the 2021-2022 NFL season. This year, TurboTax Live is also the presenting sponsor of the AFC and NFC divisional playoffs, as well as the AFC and NFC conference championship games in the NFL postseason.
Squarespace is back with another appearance in the Big Game. Last year, the website builder teamed up with Dolly Parton to create a remix of her 1980 hit “9 to 5.” The new song, titled “5 to 9,” paid tribute to entrepreneurs hustling after work hours to make their dreams come true.
This year’s ad details are still under wraps.
Toyota is back for the fifth consecutive year, working with agency partner Saatchi & Saatchi on an ad for this year’s game. While creative details are still unknown, last year, the automotive brand generated buzz when it shifted its 60-second spot away from cars and paid focus to the life of Paralympian and Team Toyota athlete Jessica Long.
DraftKings will return to the Super Bowl with an ad created by creative agency VaynerMedia. Details of the creative have not been disclosed, but the sports betting platform will run the 30-second spot in the first quarter.
WeatherTech will return to the Super Bowl with a 30-second spot created by agency Pinnacle. Last year, the brand aired two 30-second spots highlighting America’s contributions in manufacturing.
WeatherTech’s appearance during Super Bowl LVI will be the ninth time it participates.
Automotive company Vroom is returning to the Super Bowl for the second time with an ad created by agency of record Anomaly. Vroom made its debut last year with a 30-second ad titled "Dealership pain" which showed a man being tortured by a car salesman before the scene changes to his house, where he receives the car he ordered on Vroom.
- Avocados from Mexico
After a one-year hiatus, Avocados From Mexico will return for Super Bowl LVI. Last year was the first time in six years the brand had chosen to sit out the Big Game. Details of the creative remain a mystery.
Anheuser-Busch will advertise during the Super Bowl but has not disclosed which brands will be included, according to Marketing Dive. Last year, the longtime Super Bowl sponsor bought four minutes of ad time for Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer, but chose not to advertise for Budweiser for the first time since 1983.
Instead, Budweiser donated the funds it would have spent on an ad to coronavirus vaccination efforts.
Who is out?
Jaguar will not advertise in the Super Bowl this year, Adweek reported. The automotive company first advertised in the Super Bowl in 2014 with a spot featuring British actors Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong. In the ad “Rendezvous,” the three actors, representing villains, explain why British actors often play villains while promoting the Jaguar F-Type Coupe.
Kraft Heinz will sit out the Super Bowl for the second year in a row — but it’s unclear whether what happened to Planters’ Mr. Peanut Jr. will stay a mystery under its new parent company, Hormel Foods.
In 2020, Heinz ran four Super Bowl spots on one split screen for its ketchup. Planters Peanuts, owned by Kraft-Heinz at the time, aired an ad depicting the death of its mascot, Mr. Peanut, who sacrifices his own life to save actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. The campaign, which aired ahead of the Super Bowl in late January, was put on pause after it received pushback for running when news broke of the tragic death of basketball star and icon Kobe Bryant.
Mars Wrigley, the parent company of M&M’s, Skittles and Snickers, will skip the Super Bowl this year after 10 consecutive years of advertising during the Big Game, the company confirmed to Campaign US.
Last year, Mars was one of the first companies to unveil its ad for popular candy brand M&M’s featuring actor Dan Levy. Snickers and Skittles have also appeared in recent Super Bowls.
“We will not be producing an ad for this year’s Super Bowl, and instead plan to deliver better moments and more smiles to our consumers by celebrating our brands in other ways,” a spokesperson said in an email.
Automotive brand Lexus will sit out the Super Bowl again this year, despite its parent company Toyota participating for the fifth year in a row.
Lexus last aired a spot at the 2018 championship game featuring the Lexus LS 500. The spot, titled "Long Live the King," featured late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
Hyundai will sit out the Big Game for the second year in a row. The automotive company’s last Super Bowl appearance took place in 2020, when it ran a 60-second ad for the 2020 Sonata featuring actors Chris Evans, John Krasinki and Rachel Dratch.
"This was a decision based on business priorities and where we felt it was best to allocate our marketing resources,'' a Hyundai spokesperson said in a statement to Adweek. "Hyundai has a long and successful history in producing memorable Super Bowl advertising and has found it valuable in building the brand and bringing attention to our latest vehicles and technologies. We will continue to evaluate participation in Super Bowl advertising on a year-to-year basis."
Procter & Gamble’s Tide will sit on the bench for the Big Game this year, but will instead “focus storytelling efforts on other media and events through the winter,” according to Marketing Dive. Tide has advertised during the Super Bowl consistently for four out of the last five games.
Last year, Tide teamed up with “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander for a humorous ad created by Saatchi & Saatchi New York featuring Alexander’s face on a hoodie.