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        College, Marketing

        The Heat is On – A Look at Super Bowl 2022 Ads

        February 12, 2022 By Linda Ferrell and O.C. Ferrell

        All News


        There’s nothing like the Super Bowl to help us all realize that while so many things remain uncertain in our ongoing-pandemic/post-pandemic world, some things – thankfully – remain the same.

        The rapt anticipation and media fervor surrounding this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads is one of those things. The annual on-air advertising competition has become almost as interesting as the battle on the field – some may argue it has become even more popular than the game itself.

        E! News reporting on superbowl ads for 2022 with Lay's Ad starring  Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd

        media resources:    

        We’re not talking about the cost-per-30 seconds of ad time reaching a record $7 million for this year’s broadcast or the price for tickets to the game itself skyrocketing – StubHub reports pricing of $6,100 to $61,000, owing at least in part to the LA Rams’ Southern California fan base shelling out big bucks to see their local team play in their home stadium. Nor are we referring to the 31 million Americans who are expected to bet a record $7 billion – yes, that’s a “b” – on this year’s Super Bowl, a 35% increase from last year, also a record.

        One may rightfully ask, “how can the commercials be expected to live up to all this hype?”

        Based on our research of Super Bowl ads over the years and our assessment of this year’s spots as previewed or teased online, we’re confident they will do just fine.

        Why? For one thing, advertisers are well aware of what has been proven to work in Super Bowl advertising – heartstring-pulling animals, popular celebrities and, above all – humor. This year’s advertisers – established players and first-timers alike – are taking these classic, fundamental appeals to heart, pun intended.

        Think of the heart-wrenching musical numbers from Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (or the original…) as an indication of the tone and tenor of what to expect:

        • The Budweiser Clydesdales are back in an ad that warms your heart and may even bring a tear.
        • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Zeus and Selma Hayek as his wife are featured in a 60-second ad that ends with Zeus’ wife making the decision to buy an electric vehicle from BMW. This appeal to who makes big-item household purchasing decisions – women – is intentional, a nod to the growing, increasingly significant female component of Super Bowl viewers. 
        • The ever-popular Matthew McConaughey weighs in with a spot for Salesforce promoting “Team Earth.”
        • Other familiar faces include:

          • Idris Elba shilling for
          • Lindsay Lohan, William Shatner and Dennis Rodman are back in the gym on behalf of Planet Fitness
          • Kevin Hart is shopping at Sam’s Club
          • Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara are cruising for Nissan
          • Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson are helping us understand why Alexa should not read our minds
          • The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah informs us that there are some things in the Uber don’t Eats category
          • Guy Fieri is talking ‘the loudest favor ever’ for Bud Light’s Hard Seltzer
          • Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd remember happy times with Lays chips
          • Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart create sparks with the Bic EZ Reach Lighter
          • Peyton and Eli Manning, Jerome Bettis, Terry Bradshaw and Victor Cruz are chillin’ on the road with PepsiCo products
          • Lionel Ritchie’s “Stuck on You” reminds us not to stick our hands into the bottom of the Pringles container to retrieve our last chip.

        All this said, some years the game is great but the ads are not. From our perspective, this year’s ads are looking pretty good right now. That said, if you question whether spending $7 million on a :30 spot is a good buy, recognize that these ads will be watched, rewatched, talked about on remote Zoom calls, and discussed on morning shows while USA Today’s Ad Meter will be referencing and ranking the ads in real time based on data from viewers.

        It's feeling like – if advertisers are correct – we are becoming more optimistic and are looking forward to a bright future. Buckle up, and in the words of that that one-hit wonder the MerryMen, advertising for this Super Bowl will be “Hot, Hot, Hot!”

        Featured Experts

        Linda Ferrell is the John Roth Family Faculty Fellow of Marketing and Business Ethics at Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business. Her research interests include marketing ethics, ethics training and effectiveness, the legalization of business ethics as well as corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

        O.C. Ferrell is the James T. Pursell, Sr. Eminent Scholar in Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures in the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University. He has written leading textbooks in business ethics and marketing and serves as an expert witness in high profile cases dealing with marketing ethics issues.