The view is from behind a person at a computer, viewing two screens. They are sitting in a dark room.

Super expectations: Bridget Lescelius, an associate lecturer in SIU Carbondale’s School of Journalism and Advertising, looks at some of this year’s ads for the 2024 Super Bowl. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

February 07, 2024

SIU advertising expert: Lineup changes, Taylor Swift key for Super Bowl advertisers

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Audiences will notice a slightly different lineup among the advertisers who are seeking to capture attention of what experts believe could be the highest-viewed Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 11, said Bridget Lescelius, an associate lecturer in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Journalism and Advertising.

While the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs battle for the Lombardi Trophy, advertisers will be working to gain audience traction through 30-second ads estimated at $7 million apiece. Forbes Magazine recently projected last year’s all-time high of 115.1 million Super Bowl LVII viewers could be surpassed Sunday based on audiences during the NFL’s 2023 regular season and postseason games. Super Bowl LVIII will be aired in two formats for the first time — the traditional broadcast on CBS and a family friendly version on Nickelodeon, with several streaming services, including Paramount+ showing the game.

Lineup adjustments

“Food and beverage take over the field this year, benching the blitz from tech and crypto of 2023. Their mood seems to be one of comfort and cheer,” said Lescelius, also adviser for the award-winning Saluki AdLab, a student-run, full-service advertising agency at SIU.

Budweiser is bringing back the iconic Clydesdales while Bud Light, Lescelius noted, is “heading in a new direction with a new leading character — the Bud Light genie supported Post Malone and Peyton Manning — as the brand recovers from their social media debacle,” while soccer star Lionel Messi takes the pitch with Michelob Ultra.

Chips, candy will also be prevalent

Lescelius said Frito Lay is creating an immersive experience with a “chip strip” across the Brooklyn Bridge and Cheeto’s, Lays and Tostitos are packaged as the “taste of the Superbowl.” M&M’s return as the best food for Superbowl “almost champions,” and Reese’s returns after a four-year absence. Lescelius added that Hellmann’s Mayonnaise spot “is all-out comedy, making mayo a must-have Super Bowl food, and Kate McKinnon is crazy funny in the spot.”

Lescelius also noted that insurance companies “are bringing it all to the game, turning a hideously boring and painful topic of insurance into one of the most creative highlights of the night.” GEICO is bringing the Caveman out of retirement to lead the messaging.

E-Trade has brought back the talking babies “and they are playing pickleball, which is brilliant,” she said.

Who’s missing

While BMW’s teaser features actor Christopher Walken asking then answering what a “teaser” is, the ad is “Talkin’ Like Walken,” Volkswagen of America Inc. will have an ad promoting its part in American culture.

Meanwhile, other automakers that have regularly been a staple on Super Bowl Sunday will be absent. The “Detroit Three” – Chrysler, Ford and General Motors – are sitting out for the first time in 23 years, Lescelius said. The automakers’ reasoning is “the continued supply chain issues they are dealing with since the pandemic,” she said.

The Taylor Swift effect

Lescelius said advertisers are noticing the increases in viewership due to the high-profile romance between Grammy Award-winning singer Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce.

“She is bringing a lot of new viewers to watch the game,” Lescelius said. “And it’s a totally different demographic — one that is not traditionally watching the Super Bowl. Kind of a perk for advertisers, the viewing audience should be bigger — and with new blood!”

Before returning to SIU Carbondale as a faculty member in 2017, Lescelius’ career included years as an advertising and marketing executive at various agencies. She provided some insight into several of this year’s Super Bowl ads.

  • Uber Eats: “David and Victoria Beckham poking fun at themselves is priceless. And it’s a testament to how great advertising steals ideas and makes them brilliant. This spot got its inspiration from a moment in the Beckhams recent Netflix special where David called out Victoria for lying about her past. That moment became a meme that stormed socials. And now its produced as a funny, relatable ad for Uber Eats starring a bunch of celebs who “forget’ many things in their lives, but don’t forget that Uber Eats delivers more than food.”
  • DoorDash: Leaning into what Tide did in 2018 where other familiar ads were used, Lescelius noted, DoorDash is promoting its core convenience to customers, it will deliver anything. “DoorDash is running a contest where one lucky Super Bowl viewer can win everything advertised during the game, including cars, food and services. Odds might be low to win, but I’d say DoorDash has already won with a really clever campaign. I hope the execution lives up to the idea.”
  • Oreos: “Oreos’ campaign plays on a twist of fate throughout history. It highlights famous moments in history, and claims decisions were made with a simple twist of an Oreo by betting on what side the cream filling would land on when the cookie was twisted apart: from the Trojan horse to the Kardashians, it’s a fun lens to look at history.”
  • The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism: Besides consumer products and services, there are also ads that promote social issues. “One that stands out this year and seems really necessary given the fallout from the Middle East conflicts is by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, with its blue square #StandUptoJewishHate campaign. Its goal is to raise awareness for the fight against antisemitism that is prevalent in communities across the U.S.”
  • GEICO: “The ad is a fun nod to GEICO’s past award-winning spots by bringing back the Caveman,” she said. “Older audiences will remember the Caveman spots from 2004, which ultimately became a TV sitcom. He’s back to reclaim his dignity. Seems a good move since it really is appealing to Gen X and Boomer markets and yet introduces this irascible character to the younger demographics as a type of antihero.”