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Here’s what awaits us this Sunday

NEW YORK — Well-known advertisers will be pulling out all the stops on Super Bowl Sunday; They’ll cast high-profile actors, invest in dazzling special effects, and hope to provide laughs while trying to win over audiences during breaks.

In an increasingly fragmented and polarized media landscape and with fewer people watching live TV, the Super Bowl is an anomaly. Viewership of the big game increased, with a record 115.1 million people watching last year.

So marketers will use the game, which will air Sunday on CBS and stream on Paramount+, to draw attention to new products, brand extensions and marketing messages as they compete again in front of more than 100 million expected viewers.

Many Super Bowl advertisers appear to be doubling down on flights of fantasy or light humor, often with a dose of nostalgia and lots of mini-reunions of TV characters, almost as an escape from the divisive U.S. presidential election and deepening conflicts around the world. .

“The situation has become serious,” said Kimberly Whitler, a professor of marketing at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. “Marketers have realized that the name of the advertising game is fun, enjoyment and escape.”

Many Super Bowl commercials have already aired. Here’s what we know heading into this year’s big game:

Perhaps taking a cue from the success of last year’s PopCorners commercial, which reunited “Breaking Bad” stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, there are plenty of mini-TV show reunions in commercials this year.

Reuniting with its Scrubs co-stars in Super Bowl commercials since 2022, T-Mobile teamed up with Zach Braff and Donald Faison to produce a version of “Flashdance…What a Feeling” with Jason Momoa and Jennifer Beals’ He sings a small part of. .

In a commercial full of famous names, including “Judge Judy” Judy Sheindlin, elf cosmetics reunited “Suits” stars Gina Torres, Rick Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty in a courtroom spoof.

NBC sitcoms have many reunion moments during the game. In an Uber Eats commercial that shows people forgetting things and remembering that Uber Eats can offer a wide variety of products, Jennifer Anniston apparently forgets that she works with her “Friends” co-star David Schwimmer.

In the Mtn Dew Baja Blast commercial, Aubrey Plaza says she can have a ‘Blast’ by doing anything, including reuniting with “Parks and Rec” boss Nick Offerman while flying on dragons.

In an ad on Booking.com, Tina Fey recruits stunt doubles, including her “30 Rock” co-stars Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer, to stay in different accommodations because the site has so many options.

This image provided by PepsiCo shows the Starry 2024 Super Bowl NFL football field. (PepsiCo via AP)
This image provided by Paramount shows the NFL football field for the Paramount+ 2024 Super Bowl.  (Paramount via AP)
This image provided by Paramount shows the NFL football field for the Paramount+ 2024 Super Bowl. (Paramount via AP)

Northwestern University marketing professor Tim Calkins said pairing well-known TV show characters can help connect with the audience.

“A younger, trendier figure might be more exciting, but might lack the awareness of these established characters,” he said. “Surprise is a key element of Super Bowl advertising, so unexpected reunions can work.”

Humor and a hint of nostalgia can be found in many commercials. Molson Coors’ ad brings back “Chill Train,” which was last seen in commercials nearly two decades ago in 2005. A tongue-in-cheek ad shows a train crashing into a football viewing party to bring Coors Light to partygoers. Turns out LL Cool J was the conductor.

For Sofia Colucci, chief marketing officer of Molson Coors, which is advertising for the second year after Anheuser-Busch ended its decades-long exclusive sponsorship, the Super Bowl is a unique venue to reach existing customers and attract new ones.

“One of the things we’re really trying to think about is making sure we’re attracting new drinkers while also retaining and protecting our core drinkers,” he said. “The Super Bowl is a huge stage where you have the opportunity to speak broadly to this audience.”

Doritos promotes its new Dynamita chips in another joke-filled ad, depicting two grandmotherly women in a store with actress Jenna Ortega, marking the 24th year Doritos has advertised it at the Super Bowl. They show off their action skills by chasing down “Top Gun: Maverick” actor Danny Ramirez as he grabs the last bag of chips from a store shelf.

Dinamitas aims to reach a “young multicultural audience” between the ages of 16 and 24, says Brett O’Brien, CMO of Frito-Lay North America.

There are always tons of celebrities in commercials, and star power seems to get bigger every year.

“There are celebrities using steroids right now,” said Jessica D. Collins of the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter. While this isn’t necessarily new or surprising for the Super Bowl, “it’s going to be much higher this year,” he added.

That’s like Arnold Schwarzenneger appearing in a State Farm commercial, Ice Spice appearing for Starry, Christopher Walken facing impersonations of himself for BMW, and Super Bowl Halftime Show headliner Usher appearing in an Uber Eats commercial. It means there are big names.

Many commercials had more than one celebrity populating the spots. Beyond the TV show reunions, Michelob Ultra features football legend Lionel Messi, “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis and retired Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. BetMGM features Vince Vaughn, Tom Brady and Wayne Gretsky. And Paramount+ is highlighting a star-studded cast, including Drew Barrymore, Sir Patrick Stewart, and Creed.

Squarespace also hired a big name behind the scenes in Martin Scorcese, who directed the first Super Bowl commercial for the domain hosting site.

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