From Hollywood to the metaverse, WMU expert reveals how advertisers will try to score big during Super Bowl

Contact: Erin Flynn
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KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Commercials have become as big a draw to the Super Bowl as the competition on the field and advertisers are going all in to score points with consumers this year. Prices for ads during Super Bowl LVI are higher than they've ever been. While some advertisers locked in ad slots early for the bargain rate of $6.5 million per 30-second commercial, those who bought the last few available slots paid a whopping $7.1 million.

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Greg Gerfen

Greg Gerfen, executive-in-residence in advertising and promotion in Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business, has the play-by-play on four major trends you can expect when you saddle up to the TV for the Big Game.

We Need a Break

Last year’s commercials were somewhat reserved and reflected the uncertain nature of the pandemic. This year, advertisers sense that consumers need a break. Brands will return to the tried-and-true formula of creating ads that tickle our funny bones or make us grab for the nearest tissue.  Watch for funny ads like a forest full of wild animals breaking into Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” as they gasp for relief from eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Kenny G and his mellow tones in the Mountains of Busch beer. And, leave it to Budweiser, a horse and a dog to make us feel like things just aren’t that bad.

The Metaverse Will Be Revealed

This year, several commercials will be taking place in a virtual world. Some brands are creating virtual places for consumers to meet up—with the help of the correct technology.  Meta Oculus 2 will feature a virtual entertainment club called Questy’s where consumers can actually meet virtually. Other brands, like, will tell us how we can work without limits. And Guy Fieri will take us to “the land of loud flavors” for Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda.

Hooray for Hollywood

Los Angeles loves celebrities, and so do Super Bowl advertisers.  Dozens of Hollywood A-listers, sports icons and pop stars will appear in ads. Factor in the cost to pay for these celebrities with the cost of running the ad and it’s easy to see how brands could easily spend upwards of $10 million on just one commercial.  Stars like Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan for Lay’s Potato Chips, Doja Cat for Taco Bell, Matthew McConaughey for Salesforce and Hannah Waddingham—of Ted Lasso fame—for online shopping site Rakuten will be just a few of the many celebrities vying for our attention.

Cars Are Back

Even with supply chain issues and bare car lots, the automotive category is one of the hottest categories this year. BMW—with Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Zeus, the god of lightning—and Kia—with an adorable robo dog—will feature electric vehicles. Nissan will launch a new sports car model with the help of Eugene Levy. GM and Toyota will also be in the game. Internet sites and Vroom will show consumers how easy it is to buy and sell cars.  Finally, Wallbox will use the massive audience to build awareness of its home electric car charging station.

New Advertisers Will See What the Hype Is All About

There are over 30 first-time advertisers in this year’s game. Crypto currency, health and wellness products and tech companies will all see whether big investments pay off in big brand awareness gains.

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