Brands bet big on celebrity appeal, comebacks for Super Bowl commercials

As Super Bowl 2024 looms closer, not just athletes but also brands are gearing up for one of the most anticipated events of the year. A 30-second spot at this year’s game costs about $7 million, according to Ad Age, a company that tracks data on marketing and media. With such a high price tag for ads, the pressure is on for advertisers to create memorable and impactful commercials that connect with millions of viewers — and, for Bud Light, to distance itself from controversy.

The Super Bowl‘s advertising space is a crowded field, with brands employing familiar faces like Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin and John Travolta.

Whether it’s Affleck and Lopez’s humorous banter as a married couple or Travolta’s nostalgic tunes, the goal is clear: to go viral and leave a lasting impression, said Keith Cartwright, the founder of marketing agency Cartwright.

“Star power is pretty important. It is the one time when big, big, big-name celebrities will pick up the phone. They love a good Super Bowl ad,” said Cartwright.

Behind the scenes, creative minds like Charles Kidd II, known as “Calmatic,” tackle the pressure of tapping into pop culture. Directing his fifth Super Bowl spot, Calmatic said he tries not to think of the multimillion-dollar investments that go into the ads.

“Sometimes I don’t even want to know what the budget is, like let me just create it. But then I have to, like, snap back into reality and be like, ‘OK, everyone’s gonna see this,'” said Calmatic.

Bud Light aims for a comeback with humor in Super Bowl 58 ads

Bud Light seeks to reclaim its position after a controversial partnership last year with transgender influencer and TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney led to a significant backlash, boycott and a reported 10.5% revenue drop for its parent company in the second quarter of 2023. Todd Allen, Bud Light’s new senior vice president of marketing, has signaled the company wants to shift toward humor to rejuvenate the brand’s image and connect with audiences on a lighter note.

“It’s a big moment for the brand, for sure. We actually consciously wanted to lean much more into humor, to put a smile on people’s faces. And ultimately, make people laugh,” said Allen.

From recovery to Super Bowl glory: Jeremy Renner’s inspirational journey featured in ad

One standout commercial that will air on Sunday features actor Jeremy Renner, marking his return to the spotlight a year after he was crushed by a snow plow near his home in Reno, Nevada, leaving him seriously hurt.

Renner’s journey of recovery, involving more than 30 broken bones and a collapsed lung, is not just a personal victory but also a part of his ad for the plant-based protein brand Silk.

“It’s like the threshold of making it … I wasn’t going to let the snowcat be a haunting memory for me … At my home, I see the tracks on that thing, I was like, ‘Wow, man,'” said Renner.

Renner shares the spotlight with his 10-year-old daughter, Ava. He credits her with inspiring his will to live.

“I was never really kind of afraid of death, but when it really happened to me, like the only thing I was afraid is, like, I didn’t get to say anything to my family or my daughter. If I didn’t have all those people to get better for, to help them heal, I’d be a goner,” he said.

Watch the Super Bowl on your local CBS station, on Nickelodeon and streaming on Paramount+ on Sunday, Feb. 11.

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