As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl 55 in Tampa Bay, Florida, a different kind of action is taking place off the field.
After a year of pandemic fear and isolation and a tumultuous election, brands are waging battle during the game’s commercial breaks. Many are sticking with nostalgia and light humor to entertain and connect to the 100 million viewers expected to tune in to the CBS broadcast On Sunday.
Cadillac is going with an update to the classic 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands,” with Timothée Chalamet as the title character’s son enjoying the Cadillac Lyriq’s hands-free “Super Cruise” Technology. M&M’s enlisted Dan Levy to show how a bag of M&M’s given as an apology can help people come together. And Will Ferrell teamed with GM — and Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson — on a madcap cross country dash to promote electric vehicles.
With so many light spots, advertisers that try a different approach risk polarizing the audience — but are more likely to stand out. Jeep will air a two-minute ad in the second half of the game starring Bruce Springsteen urging people to find common ground.
“There’s so much going on in this country, advertisers want to be a little more cautious and a little more safe around what they put out,” said Vann Graves, director of the Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The Super Bowl is a respite in many ways of what’s been going on.”