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Digital Ads and a Socially Distanced Super Bowl

February 04 2021 by Matthew Bozin

The Big Game that almost never was - one of the final remnants of 2020 before we can truly look ahead to the new year...or, at least for football fans. A season filled with covid19 restrictions and protocols, multiple team outbreaks, and canceled games, many prognosticators thought we'd never get to the Super Bowl - but here we are! And although we won't see all the ads until the big game, several brands have already released their spots. And, in true 2020 fashion, some brands are doing things a little different this year.

The No Super Bowl Ad, Ads

Though 2020 has come and gone, the pandemic is ongoing, and several brands have opted out of airing Super Bowl ads in recognition, like Pepsi, Kia, Planters, and Coca Cola. Budweiser is also not airing a Super Bowl ad for the first time in 37 years, even created a video ad, explaining their reasoning - devoting that money to Covid19 vaccine awareness. 

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And at a fraction of the production, and Big Game airing costs, we can't blame them for wanting to get that message out, with large spikes in Desktop Video beginning on January 26th, all devoted to YouTube.

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In a contrarian twist, the Molson Coors company also released a new creative, calling out the fact that they aren't allowed to air a Super Bowl ad, as they don't have the exclusive contract with the NFL, so they too decided on something different this year - forcing their ad into your dreams.

MolsonCoorsBeverageCompany_ Digital Ad on Twitter

Yes, you read correctly. Coors' new ad depicts a sleep study where participants are fed images and video related to the brand, then awoken during REM sleep to see what they were dreaming about. Turns out, it actually works? But to get their message out, Coors used a different channel strategy than their competitor, investing 54% on Instagram, and 90% total on social channels. However, this strategy has nothing on Pathmatics, as we've been dreaming about data for 8 years now. Way to finally catch up, Coors!

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The Celebrity Driven Ads

FritoLay_Creative_AllDevices&FormatsScreen Shot 2021-02-01 at 1.06.52 PM

But fear not! Big budget, celebrity-driven ads are still a mainstay for brands looking to make an impression, especially in a year where the field of creatives isn't as cluttered. The Frito-Lays brand, Cheetos, scooped up power couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, in combination with 90s R&B star Shaggy, giving the song, "It wasn't me!" new life as a strategy to deny, deny, deny that she ate all the Cheetos.

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However, beyond the orange fingers and dodged responsibility, the data is what counts. And with 27% investment in Facebook over the last week, Cheetos is betting that the celebrity couple will appeal to both men and women, advertising down the line to both genders.

UberEats has similarly used celebrities in recent ad campaigns, including Mark Hamill vs. Sir Patrick Stewart, and Olympian Simone Biles vs. Queer Eye star, Jonathan Van Ness. But they can't compare to a teaser Super Bowl ad starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, who make their small screen return as the iconic characters from Wayne's World. While we don't know exactly what the ad will entail just yet, we can assume there will be air drums and guitar solos involved. 

Uber Eats Superbowl Ad


Procter & Gamble Jason Alexander Tide adAnd taking a page from a 90's sitcom, Tide has begun teasing their creative for the #TideHoodie, recruiting Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, who fights a teenager's disrespect of a sweatshirt, printed with his celebrity's face. However, even as you can see the full ad online right now, Tide has been ramping up Instagram and Twitter spend since Jan. 29th, prepping for the big reveal.




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A Little Happiness Goes a Long Way

Possibly our favorite upcoming Super Bowl ad is from Michelob Ultra, and their #JoyWins campaign. With everything we've dealt with over the last year, it can be hard to find some good to focus on. But the video creative tries to find happiness and joy in, not just the bigger moments in life, like sporting championships, but the minutia of the journey - where real happiness lies. And, with 100% of impressions being purchased directly in the last seven days, Michelob has spread their digital investment across 6 top sites, leading up to the big game.

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While Pathmatics, of course, stays neutral in rooting for any particular team during the game, we do urge any snack or bathroom breaks be quick and efficient - I mean, we're an ad intelligence company, what did you expect? So, stay safe this Super Bowl weekend, and keep your eyes glued to the TV - the Ad-Game is going to be strong this year. 


About Author
Matthew Bozin

After earning his BS in Communications, Matt cut his teeth in the entertainment industry, spending fifteen years writing everything from feature screenplays for A-List directors, to celebrity bios for some of Hollywood’s top actors. That creative drive made it an easy transition to Marketing, bringing his eye for storytelling to the digital advertising ecosystem.

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