Tom Brady. Patrick Mahomes. The 10-time Super Bowl participant vs the defending champs. It is impossible to conceive a bigger game for the Big Game. It’s advertising’s biggest day and the stage should be set for the biggest blitz we’ve ever seen.
Instead, the year that has changed everything finally arrives at the goal line of the last major sporting event to go off without impact in 2020. And the “new normal” for 2021 will mean no Budweiser, no Coke and a handful of other big game stalwarts on the sideline.
AB-InBev will still run ads for several brands but has decided to reallocate the resources normally spent on ads featuring Clydesdales or talking frogs to a different message this year. “A key learning from 2020 is that we must prioritize humanity and purpose,” said Marcel Marcondes, US CMO, Anheuser-Busch.
This trend of promoting purpose and leading with values will be on TVs nationwide Sunday as Chipotle further invests in its sustainability messaging through its farmer support initiative. GM is going to follow-up its recent rebranding with a spot focused on its “green”, electric future.
While most ads will not take a risk and will instead play towards the branding values that feel comfortable for such an event it is worth noting that TV ad history tends to favor the bold. Whether it is the iconic Apple 1984 commercial or the Coke “Hey kid, catch” commercial, those spots that most closely align with a deep value of the company—and one that is readily and consistently communicated to and understood by a customer–are the ones that last.
There will be no shortage of humor or at least attempts at being funny during the breaks in the action. While some may opt not to use their normal spot to highlight a changing normal and others will attempt to laugh past it, perhaps this is precisely the time to stand up and call out what matters most.