This Sunday, while you’re guzzling down your tenth beer and screaming at the TV because some guy didn’t run fast enough with a leather egg, you might notice something missing from this year’s Super Bowl. No, it’s not your sense of dignity – that went out the window after the fourth beer. It’s those politically charged commercials that have become as much of a staple at the event as overpriced nachos and questionable halftime shows.
Yep! Say goodbye to controversial ads like 84 Lumber’s border wall special or Budweiser’s hot take on immigration. This year advertisers are playing it safe, probably hoping we won’t remember their commercials in our drunken stupor anyway.
According to an expose by Variety, corporations are opting for humor and non-controversial celebrities this year instead. Because nothing says “let’s forget about our problems” quite like seeing Kris Jenner shilling Oreos during halftime. “Life generally is more difficult for consumers… they are more constrained,” said Michelle Deignan, vice president of U.S. Oreo operations – presumably while bathing in a tub full of cream-filled cookies.
“I think you’ll see those brands that lean into nostalgia, humor, emotion at the Super Bowl … those brands will resonate with the consumer.” Or so they hope! After all who can resist reminiscing about better days when we were able to afford more than just ramen noodles for dinner, right?
Corporations are turning into scaredy-cats when it comes to high-profile marketing campaigns. Who can blame them? One wrong move and the Twitter outrage machine cranks up, ready to cancel anyone who dares step out of line. As Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management puts it: “Advertisers are very aware that things can go wrong at the Super Bowl.”
And boy oh boy can they go wrong! Remember Nationwide’s dead kid commercial from a few years back? Yikes! No one wants their career to end in flames faster than you can say “wardrobe malfunction”.
A 30-second spot during this year’s game reportedly costs about $7 million – an amount most Americans could only dream of seeing in their lifetime. But hey, don’t worry about us corporations; we’ll just keep struggling with record prices for necessities like food and rent while you throw millions at fleeting television spots.
Credit card debt is skyrocketing as consumers are being forced to borrow simply to make ends meet – but sure, let’s all watch a multimillion-dollar ad about Doritos!
If you’re not too busy drowning your sorrows or yelling obscenities at your TV screen this Sunday, why not drop me a line on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg? Or better yet send over some tips (or cash) my way via email firstname.lastname@example.org!
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