Once a year, a handful of U.S. advertisers go on a spending spree, shelling out millions of dollars and competing for viewers' divided attention during the Super Bowl – at least in the U.S. broadcast. Many of the buzzworthy ads won't show up on Canadian TV screens.
It isn't just a pay day for the network that carries the big game; it's also a nice chunk of change for celebrities.
Once companies who have spent huge on big game airtime, their job has just begun: in order to make the investment pay off, they have to get noticed. A popular way to do that is to load up their ads with recognizable faces. Here are some of the movie stars, musicians, and even Muppets who will be lending their fame to advertisers' efforts this Sunday.
Terry Crews and The Muppets
The actor will reprise his role of Morpheus from The Matrix.
Johnny Galecki and Richard Lewis
The Big Bang Theory Star and the comedian both make an appearance in one of Hyundai’s ads.
This will be the first commercial in a multi-year deal Ms. Johansson has signed with Sodastream, a machine tomake soda water at home. The company is wringing extra promotional weight out of the claim that Fox, which is broadcasting the game in the U.S., forced them to edit out the line “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.” Sodastream has a history of this kind of promotion: it made hay in 2012 thanks to a U.K. ruling against an ad that showed bottles of pop exploding in a warehouse. The same commercial aired last year during the Super Bowl, but the company claimed another ad featuring competing Coke and Pepsi delivery men was rejected by CBS. It is a popular tactic for advertisers to gain attention by claiming their ads were too risqué or controversial for TV.The mention of its competitors was not the only controversy. SodaStream has attracted criticism for the fact that the Israeli company operates in a West Bank settlement. This week, critics demanded a response from the nonprofit Oxfam International, for whom the Ms. Johansson has worked as a global ambassador. On Thursday, the actress resigned her role with Oxfam over a "fundamental difference of opinion."
Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Strong
Jaguar USA has announced that its first-ever Super Bowl commercial will feature “British Villains” – Mr. Kingsley recently played a villain in Iron Man 3, Mr. Hiddleston was Loki in the Thor movies as well as in The Avengers, and Mr. Strong played Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes in 2009. “In the world of pop culture, villains disrupt the status quo and challenge the establishment, while living one step ahead of, and better than, the pack,” the company said in a statement, explaining the campaign.
Jaguar’s offering is also notable for how much content it is producing around the Super Bowl: there is a British Villains website, a sponsored movie night on IFC with two films featuring British baddies, sponsored articles produced by Gawker, a sponsored video series for Sports Illustrated looking at sports villains, and even a British music playlist running on streaming music service Pandora Radio called the GoodToBeBad Mixtape.
The auto racer is back, and shilling as usual for her sponsor GoDaddy. But happily, this year, the brand has veered away from the stupid, demeaning portrayals of women it has become known for in ads that appeal more to the women who run businesses and buy domain names – possibly from GoDaddy, now that they’re less offended.