If the commercials during the 2022 Super Bowl LVI were defined by a wave of crypto ads (RIP FTX), the ads that air during the upcoming Super Bowl LVII will be defined by culture wars, with a candy ad apparently responding to a conservative cable news segment and ads for non-alcoholic beer, sugar-free soft drinks and the issue of food waste all on tap.
In case you think the Big Game is getting too soft, there will also be Walter White (Bryan Cranston) shillings for a bite to eat and Serena Williams and Brian Cox selling beer, so the classic genres will be well represented.
On Monday, M&M’s announced it was taking an “indefinite hiatus” from its long-running “spoke scandies” and would instead announce a new spokesperson: Maya Rudolph.
The decision was allegedly made after online commentators (as well as Fox News host Tucker Carlson) objected to recent changes to the candy characters. Coincidentally, this year’s Super Bowl will air on the Fox broadcast network.
“We weren’t sure if anyone would notice. And we certainly didn’t think it would break the internet,” the candy brand wrote in a press release. “But now we get it — even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing.” That was the last thing M&M’s wanted, because we’re all about bringing people together.”
The whole play is, of course, a set-up for a Super Bowl ad, which will air in the first quarter of the game and will star Rudolph. Whether the brand is leaning into the culture wars, or following a different strategy, remains to be seen. As for the ghost candies’ future, keep in mind that Mr. Peanut’s untimely death ahead of the Planters’ 2020 Super Bowl ad was short-lived.
But fictional talking sweets aren’t the only ad that could grab the Internet’s attention this year. For a day so closely associated with indulgence (alcoholic drinks, lots and lots of unhealthy food), a number of campaigns seem to be holding back.
Hence Paul Rudd’s Ant man drinking a non-alcoholic Heineken for saving the world (a joint campaign between Disney and the Dutch beer giant) or Pepsi promoting its sugar-free soft drink at the start of a major new campaign.
Frito-Lay, which makes a good percentage of the produce in your supermarket’s snack aisle, leans toward one of the healthiest options: PopCorners, the popcorn-based chip. The company has hired Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul to run their Break bad characters of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman for the spot.
Even a mayonnaise company is getting involved in environmentalism, with Hellmann’s debut of a new installment of his “Make Taste, Not Waste” campaign.
It’s still the Super Bowl, of course, so this year’s game will still have a lot of familiar faces and brands.
So far, Kevin Bacon is committed to a Budweiser ad, while Serena Williams and Brian Cox star in a Caddyshack parody of Michelob Ultra.
With the Big Game still 3 weeks away, there’s plenty of room for more surprises. And if brands want to generate hype, firing up the outrage machine may be the way to go.
After all, no one was talking about the shoes that cartoon M&Ms wear until Carlson devoted an entire segment to the subject. An alcohol-free or sugar-free drink, mayonnaise that is more environmentally conscious than sandwiches or a healthy snack could be the next outrage of the day.