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The 2014 Super Bowl's most important lineup is practically set

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Fugeddabout that other lineup that won't be determined until after a few more weeks of season and post-season play. The 2014 Super Bowl's most important lineup – the one everyone really watches the game for – is already shaping up.

According to a December 9 Advertising Age report, it'll feature a possible record number of head-to-head battles and some significant changes of game plan (plus some more of the same old same old).

Head-to-head battles

SodaStream home soda machines will be punching above their weight again, taking on Coke and Pepsi. They'll be on in the fourth quarter, after Coke's spots and after Pepsi's halftime show sponsorship and :30s for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max and Pepsi Next. Nobody – not even CEO Danial Birnbaum – knows what SodaStream will be doing for its last word in the game, but they're hoping to slip something as outrageous as this year's rejected "Exploding Bottles" commercial past the Fox broadcast standards censors.

There will also be a battle of the peanut butter cups, as Butterfinger's new line extension will be going head to head with Reese's in a second-half :30 that, according to brand manager Jerry Vandervoet, won't feature Bart Simpson but will maintain what he calls his brand's "clever, irreverent personality."

If that weren't action enough, two Greek yogurts will also be duking it out. Chobani will be making its Super Bowl debut, kicking off a new campaign with a commercial longer than 30 seconds (though how much longer, no one's saying). Competitor Oikos, having been the Super Bowl's first yogurt advertiser in 2012 and having dropped out this year, will be back again in February.

Mars Chocolate North America is fighting an internal battle over whether a new M&Ms commercial or a new Snickers commercial will air in their one 30-second slot.

Changes of game plan

Chevrolet, having decided to skip the Super Bowl last year (and then having fired CMO Joel Ewanick, who made the decision), will be back. No one knows when in the game or how often, but they'll have introduced an even dozen new car and truck models in the months before game time.

A-B InBev, Budweiser's parent company, will switch from thinly disguised music videos that did more to promote their celebrity "creative directors" (such as Justin Timberlake) than to sell beer to commercials created by an actual, professional advertising agency – at least for core brand Bud Light. If they follow form, their first spot will be for a new line extension and will come from the same advertising sources that have helped speed their brands' sales decline.

GoDaddy will be back, and so will race driver Danica Patrick. But this year, their advertising, too, will come from a professional agency and, wonder of wonders, will be fit for family viewing.

Same old same old

For the eighth consecutive year, Doritos will be following its formula of airing crowd-sourced commercials created and produced by people willing to make ads for them for the remote chance of working on the set (in what capacity and for how long is anyone's guess) of "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron." The only differences are that for 2014, they're sourcing from a bigger crowd of starry-eyed, gullible folks from 46 countries instead of just the US; and rather than subjecting their finalists to popular vote, consumers will choose just one spot, while Doritos' marketing team will pick the other.

Veterans and rookies

Speaking of consecutive years, Hyundai will be back for the seventh consecutive year with two commercials. Kia will be back for the fifth consecutive year, this time to introduce its K900 sedan.

And speaking of Korea, Wonderful Pistachios is busy looking for something more inane than last year's Super Bowl spot with Gangnam rapper Psy and last September's spot with Dennis Rodman and a Kim Jong Un lookalike. Rumors say it'll be Miley Cyrus.

A :30 in the third quarter – Jaguar's first Super Bowl commercial ever – will promote the F-Type coupe, feature British actors, will be themed around British villains and will be directed by Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for "The King's Speech." Given all that, it better be good.

In the first unscheduled time-out, Cheerios will run a commercial from the same agency that created the one that got some notoriety because it featured an interracial family.

And during the third quarter, Intuit will run a :30 for the winner of their contest for small businesses. The four finalists were Poop Natural Dairy Compost (made from cow manure), Barley Labs dog treats (made from brewery leftovers), Goldie Blox (engineering toys for girls) and Locally Laid (an egg company), so entrants were apparently judged on the basis of political correctness.



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