ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Super Bowl ads keep it heavy on the celebrities, light on the politics

Feb 12, 2024, 8:56 AM | Updated: 12:37 pm

This photo provided by Dunkin' shows Ben Affleck in a still from the company's 2024 Super Bowl NFL ...

This photo provided by Dunkin' shows Ben Affleck in a still from the company's 2024 Super Bowl NFL football game ad campaign. (Brigette Buckner/Dunkin' via AP)

(Brigette Buckner/Dunkin' via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs were crowned victorious over the San Francisco 49ers in this year’s Super Bowl — and, off the field, big-name advertisers competed for viewers’ attention with celebrity-filled, glitzy messages.

Beyoncé broke the internet yet again in a Verizon ad, which was soon followed by a viral music drop. Lionel Messi’s showed off his apparent loyalty to Michelob Ultra. And T-Mobile, e.l.f. cosmetics, Uber Eats and more offered a slew of mini TV show reunions, bringing together cast members from “Suits” to “Friends.”

Despite being an election year in the U.S., there was very little to show for it on Sunday besides an ad by American Values 2024, the super PAC backing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential run. It ran a 30-second, retro-styled spot that attempted to lean into his family’s legacy. Kennedy launched his independent bid for the White House last year.

Airing a Super Bowl commercial is no easy feat. On top of the reported $7 million price tag for a 30-second spot during the game, brands enlist the biggest actors, invest in dazzling special effects and try to put together an ad that more than 100 million expected viewers will like — or at least remember.

“Advertisers this year are doing everything they can to try to break through the clutter,” Northwestern University marketing professor Tim Calkins said. “They’re pulling out all the stops.”

On Sunday, scores of advertisers tapped into light humor and nostalgia to give game breaks a mostly “feel good,” whimsical energy. Still, there were also a few serious and somber moments.

Here’s a rundown of what ad-watchers saw in Super Bowl LVIII.

Celebrities everywhere

 Kris Jenner “twists on it” with Oreo. The face behind Pringles’ iconic mustache is unveiled to be none other than Chris Pratt. And Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez returned for Dunkin’ cameos, while Ice Spice sips on Starry.

In typical Super Bowl fashion, an array of companies’ adverts were adorned by stars — often with numerous celebrities stuffed in a single spot. T-Mobile, for example, showcased big names like Bradley Cooper, Common, Jennifer Hudson, Laura Dern and “Suits” stars Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams all in one ad for its “Magenta Status” customer appreciation program.

And the “Suits” homecoming didn’t stop there. In another ad stuffed with celebrity cameos — including

“Judge Judy” Judy Sheindlin — e.l.f. cosmetics brought together Gina Torres, Rick Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty in a courtroom spoof.

NBC sitcoms had quite a few reunion moments during the game. In an Uber Eats ad, which shows people forgetting things so they remember Uber Eats can deliver a wide variety of items, Jennifer Aniston seemingly forgets she ever worked with her “Friends” co-star David Schwimmer. And in an ad for Mtn Dew Baja Blast, Aubrey Plaza says she can have a ‘Blast’ doing anything — including reuniting with her “Parks and Rec” boss Nick Offerman as they fly on dragons.

Although star power in Super Bowl commercials isn’t new, it did feel especially heightened this year.

“It used to be that you’d have a celebrity pop up that would sort of be the spokesperson of the commercial,” said Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter’s Jessica D. Collins. “Now you’re seeing collaborations of celebrities… all in the same commercial, even (when) they have absolutely nothing to do with each other.”

Some brands can pull this off in a smart way — such as tapping into pop culture moments and inside jokes. But experts say that overdoing celeb cameos can take away from the impact of the ad. Viewers may remember what stars they saw in a commercial but not the brand name, University of Minnesota associate professor of marketing Linli Xu notes.

Cuteness and nostalgia 

It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without some furry friends. Budweiser, for example, brought back familiar characters to its gameday slot — which shows Clydesdales and a Labrador retriever team up to help the beer brand make the delivery. And Hellmann’s featured the “Mayo Cat.”

But the year’s ads weren’t raining dogs and cats, noted Kimberly Whitler, marketing professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

That didn’t stop advertisers from searching for other ways into viewers’ hearts.

“Everything old is new again,” she said, pointing to successful Super Bowl ads or messages from the past making a return, including ETrade’s talking babies.

The 1980s also made a comeback, Whitler noted, with both T-Mobile and Nerds featuring the theme song from “Flashdance,” while the mullet was at the center of Kawasaki’s spot.

Pulling at the heartstrings

Both Collins and Calkins said that Google’s spot was among their favorites. The ad followed a blind man as he uses “Guided Frame” — Google’s A.I.-powered accessibility feature for the Pixel camera that uses a combination of audio cues, high-contrast animations and tactile vibrations — to take pictures of the people and places in his life.

The spot was a “perfect balance of emotion and showing off a product benefit,” Collins said, adding that she appreciated how Google spotlighted an audience that isn’t always noticed. “No celebrities, (and it) purely showed what could have been an absolutely real family. Loved it.”

Xu also pointed to Dove’s ad, which focused on how low body-confidence leads to girls quitting sports.
“It’s a powerful message,” she said, in line with Dove’s past campaigns dedicated to body positivity in the past.

Some serious moments

Several other ads took more serious tones. Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, for example, ran an ad featuring Martin Luther King Jr.’s speechwriter Dr. Clarence B. Jones.
“He Gets Us” also returned to the Super Bowl this year. The campaign, which is backed by a group of wealthy Christian donors, aired two ads Sunday night.
_______________
AP Business Reporter Mae Anderson contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Arts + Entertainment

The lawsuit was filed in Tallahassee minutes after a Disney World oversight board appointed by DeSa...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Disney debt

Financial advisors will warn you against going deep into debt. But sometimes you have to. It’s a part of life. And so is going to Disney.

1 day ago

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01: Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Mu...

Mariah Maynes

Justin Timberlake arrested, accused of intoxicated driving

Justin Timberlake was arrested for intoxicated driving early Tuesday morning on New York's Long Island.

1 day ago

Van Halen was voted Utah's favorite dad rock band....

Mary Culbertson

Van Halen voted Utah’s ultimate ‘dad rock’ band in survey

A recent study surveyed Americans all over the U.S., asking them what band they would dub the “pinnacle of dad rock.”

3 days ago

Music and the Spoken word getting new voice...

Adam Small

Iconic voice of ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ to present his final program

Lloyd Newell who has presented "Music and the Spoken Word" for 35 years will be stepping down from his position.

5 days ago

tuesday movie poster next to ksl movie show host steve salles...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Tuesday’ is a movie you need to experience for yourself

In this KSL Movie Show review, we explore "Tuesday," which personifies death as a talking macaw.

5 days ago

ksl movie show host steve salles stands next to inside out 2 movie poster...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Inside Out 2’ is almost as good as the original

Is the long-anticipated movie "Inside Out 2" as good as the original? KSL Movie Show host Steve Salles says no, but it’s pretty darn close!

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Super Bowl ads keep it heavy on the celebrities, light on the politics