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On Sunday, a projected 3.4 million Canadians aged 25-54 will come together in front of their TVs to watch the kickoff of Super Bowl 54. If the average person wanted to buy a 30 second spot, off the rack, they could expect to pay around $165K for the Canada-wide broadcast.

This is the chance for brands to get in front of high value, highly engaged eyeballs – and they pull out all the stops.

Super Bowl ads often feature campaigns that run for years and years - those ads you begin to expect like the Budweiser Clydesdales which began running in 1996.  Other years there are trends that take over the news, like 2 years ago when many of them got political and last year when they did their best to keep it a bit lighter.

This year is the year of the throwbacks. Fortunately, most of the ads are nods to the past, a leveraging of their earlier glory rather than an attempt to fully relive them.

Case in point: Whassup? is back. When the original aired in December 1999 (yes, over 20 years ago), it spawned a number of offshoots that ran until 2002. It won a Cannes Grand Prix and a Clio and August Busch IV of Anheuser Busch said in 2014 that “in our lifetimes, we’ll never see so much value created from a single idea”. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving, apparently.

Budweiser is rebooting the Whassup? campaign this year, with a spot called Whatssup Again. But Weiden + Kennedy didn’t try to just milk the same old cow. The ad features a smart home and all of the associated appliances and a CTA to use Uber because “it’s a smart world. Don’t be stupid about how you get around”. The homeowner isn’t “Watchin’ the game. Havin’ a Bud” like their predecessors. They’re heading out, presumably to a social setting, and are considering responsible ways to return home.

 

 

The Atlantic recently cited a 2017 study that showed that millennials who have consumed alcohol in the month prior remains fairly stable. But millennials see drinking as a social occasion – not necessarily one where you’d sit on your couch alone, watch a game, and drink a beer. While binge drinking remains common place, habitual drinking among millennials is on a steep decline. In a 2017 US study, “college students who drink alcohol daily fell from 4.3% in 2016 to 2.2% in 2017” – an enormous decline in a short period. So, the thought of just lounging at home with a beer might speak less to them. Instead, they leveraged the familiar phrase and modernized it, like it’s consumer.

 

 

And in 2020, P&G’s Old Spice Guy is a new Spice guy. When the original “Smells like a Man, Man” spot ran in 2010, sales rose by 11% YOY. The spot went on to win an Grand Prix at Cannes, an Emmy, and brand sales have actually now doubled.  It holds up. It’s lots of fun to watch.

 

 

The original ad famously targeted women (who they’d determined were most likely to make the switch and try a new product for their partners), “without alienating guys and long time Old Spice users”. They were successful.

Now, they’re poking fun at themselves a little harder, with Weiden & Kennedy Portland introducing the protagonist’s millennial son. He’s not like his dad, but still enjoys the product. Targeting an ever-younger demographic will continue to grow Old Spice's share of the market.

 

 

 

The third reboot, I’ll admit, isn’t quite as direct. Cheetos is launching Popcorn Cheetos. It’s the first time the brand has been in the Super Bowl for 11 years. The popcorn leaves your fingers dusty and cheesy, which, in turn, makes it difficult to touch things. In which case, one might say, ‘U can’t touch this’. Enter, MC Hammer.

MC Hammer’s not a stranger to advertising. He’s been featured in ads for Hallmark, Purell, Lysol, Nationwide, Citibank, and Lay’s. He’s also been featured in a 2009 Super Bowl Ad with Ed McMahon for Cash4Gold.

 

 

Cheetos has put out teaser spots in advance of the Super Bowl, with Mr. Hammer humming his most famous tune. (Note: It’s hard to remember if he ever sang anything else, at this point).

 

 

And then the full ad here:

 

 

MC Hammer, his pants, and that baseline never really went away, but he’s back and on the biggest stage for 2020.

The Super Bowl remains the… well, the Super Bowl of appointment viewing. You don’t just plan to watch. You plan to watch it with people, with food, with fanfare. It’s the big show. As such, if you want to build awareness and affinity to ultimately drive purchases or behaviour change, it’s where you need to be. As such, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for our clients, Cavendish Farms & Royale Tiger Towel during the Super Bowl this year.