The Guarantee
January 30

Mystery Surrounds 2018 Super Bowl Ads

In another record-breaking year, with ad costs exceeding $5 million per 30-second spot, big brands are, once again, putting it all on the line. Some will score big and others will be answering to their boards about their multimillion-dollar blunders.

Super Bowl ad sales were slower than in prior years, with contributing factors including the protest-related decline in NFL viewership combined with the competing Pyeongchang Winter Olympics advertising opportunities that begin just a few days after the Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see if this delay impacts the quality of the creative.

The big theme this year is how few brands are pre-releasing teasers, let along full-blown ads. Nearly 65 percent of brands pre-released their ads in full before the big game last year. One week before kickoff this year, only 7 percent of ads had been pre-released. Expect quite a bit of Super Bowl mystery this year as ad execs are betting big on the anticipation factor and in-game hype of a newly released ad outweighing any pregame buzz.

Last year, several brands advocated for social causes – from Audi on equal pay, to Budweiser and 84 Lumber on immigration, to Airbnb on acceptance. Expect to see an increased number of social and emotionally charged ads in this year’s game, ranging from climate change to female empowerment.

2018 will mark the emergence of the very first six-second Super Bowl spot combined with an increased brand investment in longer than 30-second spots. Let’s see how brands get creative in packaging six-second spots with longer ads to enhance storytelling.

While many brands are hush-hush about their specific ad concepts this year, here’s a taste of what you can look forward to.

Amazon’s Alexa will lose her voice. Budweiser will bring “Dilly Dilly” to the big game. Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage will square off in a Mountain Dew Ice vs. Doritos Blaze showdown. You’ll see a recreation of Cindy Crawford’s iconic 1992 Super Bowl ad. Danny DeVito, for M&Ms, has an odd relationship with chocolate if the teaser is any indication. And in a controversial move, Febreze will introduce us to Dave, the one guy in the world whose “bleep don’t stink.”

Additional celebrity spokespeople to watch for include: Iggy Azalea for Monster Products, Keanu Reeves for Squarespace, Matt Damon for Stella Artois, Tiffany Haddish for Groupon and Bill Hader for Pringles.

In a pregame stunt, Skittles reports having created a Super Bowl spot for just one random customer – Marcos Menendez. No one else will see anything other than Marcos reacting to the ad live on the brand’s Facebook page.

Which ads will be on fire and which will go up in flames? Check back Tuesday, Feb. 6, for complete Super Bowl ad coverage.

Lori Turner-Wilson, CEO and founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at

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