Wed, 08 Feb 2023 17:38:00 GMT
It is once again that time of year - the time to cook and buy copious amounts of food, sit down with friends and family, gather around the TV, and cheer, cry and laugh at one of the most anticipated live events of 2023: the Super Bowl… ads!
Even if you’re not into the action on the field this Sunday, there will be plenty of action off of it. After several years of slightly more sensitively approached advertising - thanks largely to the covid-19 pandemic - it seems that the industry is ready for some serious belly-aching laughter this year (or so our experts think!). Among the trends expected to feature heavily in 2023 are AI, EVs, humour and - of course - celebrity cameos.
As more teasers and early showings of the ads are getting released by the day, LBB’s Ben Conway decided to speak with some of adland’s leaders, from the creative side to the world of production, and asked them what they are expecting to see at the Big Game on the 12th.
To collate their expectations for Super Bowl LVII’s ad offerings, LBB’s Ben Conway spoke with 14 representatives from across the States, including VMLY&R New York, M&C Saatchi Performance USA, McKinney, Swift, RPA, VMLY&R COMMERCE US, Saatchi & Saatchi / Woven Collective, Great Guns USA, Cutwater, the community, Love Song, Battery, Arts & Sciences and Chelsea Pictures.
My ‘predictions’... or are they?
1.Social Causes: Advertisers will focus on supporting social causes that are important to the public, such as environmental conservation, animal rights, health awareness, etc.
2. Celebrity Endorsements: Celebrities will likely be featured in a variety of ads, using their star power to draw attention and create buzz around products or services.
3. Technology Innovation: Ads will showcase how technology is changing our lives for the better with an emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), 5G networks, robots/drones/automation etc.
4. Emotion-Driven Content: Advertisers are expected to use emotional storytelling tactics when crafting their Superbowl campaigns this year, looking to tug at viewers’ heartstrings and evoke strong reactions from them.
5. The above response was created by ChatGPT.
Advertisers that invest in Super Bowl spots are going to be more successful if they not only look at reach and GRPs, but also analyse offline and online word of mouth, YouTube views and Google search trends as a barometer of how well the Super Bowl feature resonates with viewers. Many Super Bowl commercials feature A-list celebrities but this year, advertisers may diversify and feature rising influencers and creators to tap into their fandom and drive online chatter. Based on 2023 teasers that have already dropped, you see several food and beverage brands tapping into humour and nostalgia with Caddyshack (Michelob Ultra) and Breaking Bad (PopCorners) inspired plots.
We’ll see more ad content and sweepstakes that incentivise users to act in the moment; with the assumption that Americans are eager and willing to use their mobiles while watching TV. This could come in many different formats with commercials featuring promo codes, a microsite, or sweepstakes that you can enter in real-time.
I’m eager to see how different age groups respond to the Super Bowl and where they tune in. Younger audiences are likely more open to viewing it online or through streaming services, which was already the primary source for viewership growth. That opens doors for advertisers who aren’t willing to pay a premium for a traditional TV commercial (Super Bowl ad costs jumped to $6.5 million per 30-second spot last year) to capitalise instead on CTV and YouTube.
We think we’re going to see a lot of companies doing more than just a spot: QR Codes, social pushes, sweepstakes and betting websites are all going to feature. Celebrities are going to be everywhere - that’s got to be basically table stakes at this point. We’re looking forward to the one random crypto ad for a brand no one’s ever heard of. And apparently, it’s the year that a handful of brands try cross-branded spots, whether that’s sister brands like Miller Lite and Coors Light, or Michelob and Netflix, or Genesis and Netflix. Shit, maybe it’s Netflix’s Super Bowl and we’re all living in it. We’re also expecting all the other beer brands to come out swinging after over thirty years of watching Anheuser-Busch brands’ Super Bowl ads. All things considered, it looks like it’s going to be a pretty fun year. Either way, we’re just looking forward to eating some meatballs.
There will be stars, lots of stars. A few perfectly ingeniously relevant stars and then a gaggle of cringe-worthily irrelevant stars. Best use of a star can win it. But there may also be another kind of star this year: AI. Whether a stunning commercial created by Generative AI, or a few laughs at AI's expense assuring us humans are still in control (ha!), AI could make an appearance. And laughter will trump emotion. Laughter will win. Four of the top five films will make you laugh, the other will put a lump in your throat.
Another theme I’m predicting: the funniest Super Bowl moments won’t be on the Super Bowl at all. They’ll be on TikTok and social channels, as everyday pundits and social creators riff on SB ads and themes, extending them, skewering them, re-imagining them. The internet response, the explosion of original videos and comments, is where millions including me will laugh hardest (and probably think hardest) this Super Bowl. And the smartest brands will be playing along, making and fueling, every step of the way.
This year, the big trend will be crazy-wacky-stupid fun that grabs America’s attention. After three years of being shuttered and serious, brands are ready to break out and party like it’s 1999 - or at least, 2019. With celebs reshaping classic roles or new stars redoing classic bits, it’s going to be a wild ride. We’re going to see a lot of funny. A lot of looking back to a time when the world was more carefree. Dare we say: entertaining? We’ll see less social commentary. Brands want to bring more joy into our living rooms and lives. Travel, beer, snacks and gaming in all forms will dominate. People are ready for the roaring ‘20s to start. Let’s party!
With a potential recession looming, I foresee more content from value brands to appeal to consumers’ financial sensitivities. For pricier, more premium brands, they will need to focus more on unique RTBs, giving consumers a compelling reason to choose their brand over a less expensive alternative. I also expect to see more ‘stunty’ content this year. Last year, Coinbase was all the chatter for its full-minute spot that simply featured a bouncing QR code. The unprecedented ad gained a lot of PR and buzz for its boldness, even crashing the Coinbase app due to overload. I think we will see many brands trying to achieve a similar reaction this year. Perhaps Google will be among them, as the company has a lot to prove against new competitors like ChatGPT.
Additionally, given how aggressively Burger King has been running its jingle ads throughout the NFL season, I predict the brand has big plans for the Super Bowl. Finally, I expect we’ll see more brands tap into the success of using A-list celebrities who were not previously associated with the company. Last year, we saw this with FTX with Larry David and Salesforce with Matthew McConaughey - both of which were unexpected yet very well-received.
“Dear brands, more humour please” - humans.
I can see more comedy in the ads people will watch during the game. It’s always been present, however, it has leaned lighter over the last couple of years. My personal take on it is that other cultures take challenges with enthusiasm, ingenuity and humour. For example, in Latin culture, it is what keeps us going - the ability to laugh at ourselves or at our idiosyncrasies. So as our country grows more diverse, not only geographically but also in influencing culture, my hope is that optimism and humour will satisfy Super Bowl audiences this year.
More big ideas, fewer standalone ads.
Brands are investing in the Super Bowl to not only entertain fans craving belly laughs, but to ensure that the humour in the ad ties back to the brand or product premise. A good example for me was the Pringles ad last year: Simple, funny and connected to a unique brand attribute.
Breaking the format.
Brands are making an effort to delight consumers beyond a TV commercial, by basically showing them that the fun doesn’t end there. An interesting example is what Downy Unstopables did for its Super Bowl ad this year, by making fun of the fact Super Bowl ads release teasers ahead of the game. They did it 12 weeks ago (in 2022) because that is the amount of time its scent keeps clothes fresh. In this case, they broke the format by creating a 12-week Super Bowl ad.
It’s clear that comedy is back and well-represented in this year's lineup for the Super Bowl. I, for one, welcome the opportunity to see these great spots while laughing after the past few years of NOT.
Once again, celebrities rule the ad waves which I like and add such a fun level of comedy to these ads. I’m a little shocked to see Serena Williams in a beer ad but she is amazing and the spot uses nostalgia and current top series as backdrops for the challenge… very funny!
It’s going to be a fun day for the ad world on Super Bowl Sunday. Well done to the advertising agencies and production companies. One last comment is that I wish we could see, in the near future, new names as directors on these ads. Take a chance! Be fearless!
This year's Super Bowl commercial contest will be a title match-up of classic brands and novel ones. The tried and true will take aim at the insanity of the AI and NFT world. Conversely, the AI and NFT generation brands will make fun of the old world they leave behind. As these two sides duke it out for attention and relevance, the winner will be humour. After the last few years, all communicators realise we need a moment to come together and laugh - to have multiple generations talking about what was funny and what wasn’t; the young ones teasing their elders about what they didn’t get; the older ones telling us all it used to be better when they were young. There will be mostly great films and good jokes, tastefully done. But hopefully - perhaps even wishful thinking - there will be one that takes the biggest risk. [One] that tries harder to be something more than just 30 seconds of air. One that is compelling enough for us to think for a second, recalibrate our senses, make us feel - perhaps even pick up our phone and do something. And for that victor will go the spoils.
In the last two years, we've slowly transitioned from talking about the past to focusing on the future. In short, moving away from the pandemic to focus on Crypto, EVs, AI, and more. Hopefully this year, this shift leads to brands having more fun during the Big Game. My prediction? AI will be one of the main new toys this year. Both because I think it's exciting, and because it’s already embedded into a lot of what we do. So it's only normal to start seeing it come up in big cultural moments. However, I hope brands don't forget that AI is a tool, not an idea. We need ideas more than we need links to AI generators. At the end of the day, or at the end of the game, I hope to see more funny ads. After all, Super Bowl parties are supposed to be fun, right?
Given the current mood around the state of the economy, many brands and agencies seem to be in a very volatile and fear-based place. I will be shocked if we see any significant creative risks. We can expect very safe comedy spots and lots of celebrities, but nothing with any real teeth. And now that the ads come out weeks before the Super Bowl, there is hardly any surprise. That said, I hope that advertisers will choose to do something smart, memorable, and worth hearing about 50 times before the game even starts. People will watch a few times on their own and talk about them with their friends while watching the game - it's an atmosphere that doesn't lend itself to serious or thought-provoking work. Which is fine because the Super Bowl is a party, and it should feel like one. A great simple comedy piece will always help elevate the mood in the room.
It’s important to consider the tune-in moment that the Super Bowl creates, far beyond just the event broadcast - after all, we know that multi-screen behaviour is pretty prevalent during gameday viewership. This year, we predict that more brands will see social channels, not TV, as the prime-time tune-in destination.
In such a culturally-unignorable moment, social remains the entertainment haven for both those who want to dive deeper into the game, and those who want an escape from it. We expect to see more brands pedal attention-grabbing work that draws from lo-fi and experimental treatments that increasingly define trending social content, specifically on platforms like TikTok LIVE and Snapchat. Even for brands opting for a more affordable way to debut new work or products, we believe the influx of traffic and an encouraged sense of relaxed etiquette will be incentives for brands to show up more boldly on owned channels than they historically would. We’re optimistic that social opportunities will offer an antidote to the preciousness that a splurge-y ‘big game’ broadcast buy might warrant, because experimentation is what great Super Bowl ads are made of.
Arts & Sciences produced three spots for the Super Bowl this year, two of which were directed by women - which I hope is an ongoing trend, given that spots in the Big Game have historically been dominated by male voices.
I think another ongoing trend will be the release of long-form versions of many of the spots well in advance of the actual game, as this continues to give brands more value, awareness, and excitement around their work. And to build on that, a new, and hopefully, future, trend will be brands creating longer, episodic-driven content that culminates in a Super Bowl spot and leverages that massive platform and audience in an even bigger way. One of the Super Bowl projects we're currently working on is for FanDuel's ‘Kick of Destiny’, which has Rob Gronkowski attempting to kick a field goal in a live ad. We helped FanDuel and Wieden+Kennedy NY tell this story by rolling out a multi-spot campaign beginning a month ago, which allowed for a much bigger narrative arc and all-around engagement.
Lisa> Donna, what are a few of your favourite Super Bowl ads?
Donna> I will take a good story or a good laugh anytime. But sometimes the most beautiful and simple ads are the most arresting. Something that makes you stop... from some years back, Nike ‘Heritage’ - ‘nuff said. Lisa, what are some of yours?
Lisa> You’ve got to have a killer concept that lands it with an of-the-moment insight, especially if told funny…. and it helps if you get what’s happening even if you can’t hear the sound.
Donna> Lisa, any predictions on which brand you think will really nail it this year?
Lisa> I think we will see some jokes at the expense of Elon Musk, Crypto, Putin and likely something over the top starring Jennifer Coolidge. Donna, how about you?
Donna> I agree. What brand wouldn’t want her special sauce?
Lisa> Donna are you chilli, wings or guac? Me, I am guac on the chilli; it's Carroll Shelby’s mix.
Donna> Turkey Chili with Guac… I can do without the wings!