Barry McNamara  |   Published February 04, 2021

Super Bowl Commercials

Monmouth’s Prince says TV ads for big game still important, but watch social media, too.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Viewers looking for the top advertising campaigns from Super Bowl LV on Sunday might not find them during breaks in the action between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Monmouth College business professor Tom Prince.

STAR POWER: From left, Shaggy, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher will star in a commercial for Cheeto... STAR POWER: From left, Shaggy, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher will star in a commercial for Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix that will air during Super Bowl LV.Rather, he said, social media will play its most expanded role to date in the big game, which is an annual focal point of his advertising class at the College.

Prince said some advertisers, such as Cheetos, will use a blend of a traditional Super Bowl commercial with a social media component. Others, including Avocados from Mexico, are ditching their traditional multimillion dollar spot on television and strictly using a social media platform.

“The Cheetos spot, which will air during the third quarter, is a clever spot, and it stars Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and (singer) Shaggy,” said Prince. “But viewers can also go on Snapchat during the ad and win a bag of Cheetos. They’re calling it the first Super Bowl ad you can steal from.

“What you’re seeing is technology and advertising really merging, and it’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out.” Tom Prince

“What you’re seeing is technology and advertising really merging, and it’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out.”

Mountain Dew will run a $1 million sweepstakes on Twitter based on its ad promoting a new flavor of the soft drink, while Nike is not running an ad but is instead using the Super Bowl to launch a $5 million initiative to fund women’s flag football.

Interesting, too, Prince told his students, will be the tone that companies go for during the first Super Bowl played since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation.

“Frankly, everyone is so sick of COVID and the pandemic and the sentiment from advertisers that ‘We’re here for you. We’ve got your back,’” said Prince. “You’re going to see more humorous appeals and a bit more levity.”

That said, Prince said he teared up the first time he saw Toyota’s emotional appeal, featuring Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long, and that was the same reaction of a colleague when Prince showed him the ad.

Budweiser, he said, will not run an ad focusing on its namesake product, but will instead have a more general spot talking about “why you should share a beer with someone.”

As in past years, Prince’s advertising students will return to class next week to share their thoughts about which Super Bowl ads were their favorites, and which ones missed the mark.

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