The advertising industry prides itself on independent, out-of-the-box thinking. But yesterday's Advertising Age update of who's advertising when on the Super Bowl suggests that an awful lot of free-thinking ad agencies are marching to the beat of the same drummer.
- Same brands back again – Except for a few dropouts (like CareerBuilders) and newcomers (like Research in Motion), you'll be watching commercials from the same brands you've seen on just about every Super Bowl.
- Computer-generated animals – Budweiser's Clydesdales will still be there. But the Coca-Cola polar bears and the Volkswagen dieting dog are gone, and so are the CareerBuilder monkeys. But a singing black goldfish and whole planetful of CGI animals are replacing them.
- Celebrities and pseudo-celebrities galore – Danica Patrick, Willem Dafoe, Amy Poehler, Bar Rafaeli, Tracy Morgan, Dwayne Johnson, Psy, Kate Upton, Usher, Kaley Cuoco, model Adriana Lima and Motley Crue will all be on hand for your viewing pleasure.
- Commercials driven by online promotions – The Budweiser Clydesdale commercial is all in aid of a Twitter promotion to name a new foal; "Musial" is the leader so far, perhaps indicating the horses' appeal to an aging generation of beer drinkers. Audi posted three different versions of its spot and let YouTube viewers vote on the final ending. Axe is using its commercial to promote a sweepstakes for 23 seats on a private spacecraft. Coca-Cola's spot invites viewers to choose whether a Bedouin, a posse, a Mad Max biker or a busload of chorus girls should be first to reach a bottle of Coke in the desert. Doritos' commercials are, as they've been for years, crowdsourced. Paramount is pushing an online app for its latest Star Trek movie, along with an online sweepstakes for a free trip to its premiere. Pepsi Next is offering free sodas to the first million viewers who sign up online. Research in Motion will run a simultaneous social networking promotion when its Blackberry 10 spot airs. Toyota's commercial will include a photo of a consumer who entered its #wishgranted Twitter promotion. And Wonderful Pistachios is awarding a 12-month lease on a Mercedes to someone who uploads a picture of cracking their nuts (which bypasses the lottery laws against requiring product purchase).
- Fantasies – Toyota has a wish-fulfilling genie, Mercedes a deal with the devil, Hyundai one using their seven-passenger SUV to assemble a team of kid touch football superstars and Kia a tall tale about where babies come from.
- Early release – Most of this year's advertisers have already posted these commercials on YouTube, so you've probably seem them:
- Budweiser figuratively kicks off the Super Bowl advertising with the first commercial of the game – for pseudo-craft beer Black Crown that's supposed to reverse their 25 consecutive years of declining sales among young beer drinkers. Another Black Crown spot will air later in the quarter.
- Audi's :60, showing how their S6 induces artificial bravery, will be the second commercial in the second break.
- Best Buy's commercial will feature Amy Poehler.
- Coca-Cola's :60 shows a thirsty Bedouin, posse, Mad Max biker and busload of showgirls racing each other through a desert in pursuit of a giant bottle of Coke.
- Hyundai tells the story of how a wimpy kid with no touch football team can fit six other child superjocks into their SUV.
- M&Ms, which has featured individual color characters in previous Super Bowl spots, promises an ensemble cast this time around.
- Toyota has a genie who grants a family's wishes, sorta.
- Bud Light airs a :60 under the influence of hip-hop star Jay-Z, in the hope of recapturing the interest of young beer drinkers.
- Budweiser wallows in nostalgia with a :60 featuring a Clydesdale pony, for an aging generation of beer drinkers.
- Hyundai airs its second spot about a planet that babies supposedly come from, with almost no mention of its cars.
- The Milk Processor Education Program's :30 features Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson – with or without a milk mustache, nobody knows.
- Paramount previews "Star Trek into Darkness" with a simultaneous online sweepstakes.
- Volkwagen's controversial "Get Happy" spot, accused of being racist by politically correct critics, airs.
- Skechers, featuring a man on foot racing against a cheetah, precedes the two-minute warning.
- Pepsi introduces the halftime show it's sponsoring with a :30.
- AB InBev has a computer-generated, singing black goldfish serenading a bottle of Beck's Sapphire, made with German Saphir hops (hence the name).
- Another of those Bud Light :60s
- Axe promotes its online sweepstakes for a free trip to space with a spot in which an astronaut complete with space suit upstages up a heroic lifeguard on the beach.
- Century 21 's :30 shows how "an agent in the house" is as good as a doctor for life crises.
- E-trade brings back the talking baby, who should be old enough for college by now.
- Gildan Activewear wants you to stop buying the t-shirts they make with other brands' logos on their and start buying them with their own logo.
- Kia – Lots of computer-generated imagery illustrates a father's far-fetched tale about the planet babies come from.
- MiO Fit likens changes in America to its line extension.
- Tide, the official detergent of the NFL, shows how it cleans team uniforms.
- Kia shows its Sorrento can pass other vehicles.
- Newcomer Soda Stream airs the commercial British television banned, because it shows branded soda bottles exploding.
- Mercedes Benz – A man is ready to trade his soul for a CLA until he finds he can afford to buy one.
- After the two-minute warning GoDaddy will air either their spot promoting the .co domain extension or a Danica Patrick spot that will "reposition sexy," according to the company's CMO.
Still to be determined
- Cars.com will show how buying online from them beats the showroom.
- Chrysler isn't saying what they're doing or when.
- For the seventh year in a row, Doritos' agency is letting crowdsourcing do its creative and production work for them.
- GoDaddy's other commercial.
- Lincoln is saying you should buy their declining brand because it's named after an assassinated president.
- Somewhere in the first half, Oreo will pit fans of the cookie part against fans of the filling, as if anyone cared.
- Mid-calorie Pepsi Next will offer free samples to the first million viewers who register online.
- Research in Motion is belatedly trying to recapture the market share that Apple and Android phones have taken away with the Blackberry 10 smartphone and its proprietary operating system.
- Samsung continues to outsnark iPhones and iPads.
- Taco Bell rips off "Cocoon" by showing geriatrics acting like teenagers.
- Universal Pictures runs a trailer for "Fast and Furious 6" (no connection with the ATF poeration that armed Mexican drug gangs).
- Walt Disney Pictures previews its Wizard of Oz prequel.
- Wonderful Pistachios has Psy showing how to "Get Crackin' Gangnam Style."
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