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Super Bowl ads to be heavy on nostalgia, AB&C exec says

Sam Haut Culture, Headlines

Rakuten is bring back the "Clueless" vibe in its Super Bowl ad. (Rakuten)

Rakuten is bring back the “Clueless” vibe in its Super Bowl ad. (Rakuten)

It costs a lot – $7 million for 30 seconds – to air an ad during the 2023 Super Bowl. It also costs a lot to make the ad.

“Soon it’s going to cost as much to make the spot as it is to buy the spot,” said Steve Merino, chief creative director at Aloysius Butler & Clark, a Wilmington advertising agency. 

Part of that increase involves celebrities.

“It used to be a novelty when you would see a celebrity in an ad,” he said. “Now, almost every single ad you’re gonna have not only one but multiple celebrities. 

“They’re trying to outdo each other, go more over the top, higher production, higher production.”

The downside of including more celebrities is that they become more a part of the noise.

“Oftentimes you might not have something new to say, and so they think that tacking on a celebrity is gonna do that,” he said. “And what happens is everybody has a celebrity, and then they end up not cutting through.”

That said, he predicts “a lot of retro stars” in Super Bowl ads this year. “You’re going to see the people from ‘Breaking Bad’ and you’re gonna see people from ‘Clueless.’ So it’s actually gonna feel almost like a rather nostalgic Super Bowl year. 

“Rather than last year which felt like, hey we’re talking about electric vehicles or we’re talking about crypto currency. It actually felt very forward-facing. I think this is actually going to be a retrospective year.”

Merino said advertisers focus on three main things: Drawing viewers’ attention “by doing something different,” making viewers feel strong emotions and making viewers remember the brand.

“A lot of companies will do something that’s really cool and breakthrough. Wow! That commercial is great, but who is it for? And then they can’t remember the brand.”

While he said it can sometimes be difficult to analyze the impact that Super Bowl ads have, a Coinbase ad from last year, which was just a QR code, crashed the site due to the large amount of signups.

“When it comes to things like Super Bowl commercials, it’s really more like awareness flags,” Merino said.

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