50 things you’ll see during the Super Bowl (whether you like it or not)

Ryan Berman // Feb 11 // Insights



We’re days away from Super Bowl 50,...

...and while many are busy making game day predictions and bacon-covered everything, there are some of us more focused on what’s happening in the almost 40 minutes (not a typo) of live commercials during the big game.

Make a BINGO card or turn it into a drinking game – here’s a list of 50 things we’ll probably see in a real, live Super Bowl commercial:
  1. Political spoof. The joys of being in an election year. 4 to 1 there’s a Trump jab at play. 2 to 1 we hear the line, “Here’s something we can all agree on.” And 50 to 1 we hear from…
  2. Frank Underwood. He’s already played the nation (literally) during the GOP debate. Maybe he’ll address the Divided States of America on an even larger platform.
  3. “The Blind Side” cast for Taco Bell. We fade up at the dinner room table. There’s Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and the now the not-so-little Jae Head once again playing the Taco Bell franchise-owning Tuohy family. Sitting with them is the real Carolina Panther Michael Oher. Sandra and Tim still act as if Michael is in high school with their, “Did you finish your homework, Michael?” and, “Listen to your mother, Michael” – all while Michael fends off SJ from a Taco Bell Triple Steak Burrito (as any good blind side left tackle would do) while reminding them that they aren’t his real family. Ouch.
  4. Animals galore. It’s not a Super Bowl without a spot or several full of frogs, hogs or dogs. My personal over/under on spots with animals is 33 percent. Speaking of animals…
  5. Clydesdale horses. Obvious. And to elaborate on “obvious”…
  6. Captain Obvious. I’d love to see Hotels.com take full advantage of this relevant platform with El Capitan.
  7. A digital streaming platform. There’s irony in CBS taking short-term gains (at around $5 million per spot) to promote their enemies in digital networks like Hulu or Netflix.
  8. Something incredibly sexist. According to a 2015 National Retail Federation survey, 7 out of 10 women plan to watch the Super Bowl, yet someone will still produce a commercial that offends a large portion of the viewing audience. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an ad that celebrates gender equality like last year’s Always “Run Like a Girl” and then immediately follow this up with a Victoria’s Secret striptease.
  9. Tip-of-the-iceberg ads. Where last year saw quite a few emotionally charged ads, I expect most advertisers will stay light, bright and humorous this year. This is code for “no 2016 kids speaking from the dead” ads.
  10. #HashtagOverload. Hashtags were used in about half of last year’s ads. This CTA is a simple way to continue conversations online after the big game.
  11. Oprah. It’ll be interesting to see if Weight Watchers – now partially owned by Oprah – is a repeat offender on the one day most of us bathe ourselves in buffalo sauce. Enough with the judgment, Winfrey.
  12. A black and white spot. Toss in a few extra slow zooms of still shots for extra effect. Oh the drama.
  13. A “male performance enhancer.” One survey suggests that 65 percent of viewers over 65 tend to tune into the big game. This may hold their attention.
  14. Sheldon Cooper. I can’t take it anymore, America. Are we really closing in on “Big Bang Theory” season 10?
  15. Steve Colbert. We may see him not once but twice with “The Late Show” and his nutty partnership with Wonderful Pistachios.
  16. Beer. This one’s a gimme, but we’re due for something new here outside of horses, hops and Heineken. I hope someone wows us.
  17. Cars. Slow motion…then ramped up beauty shots of gliding cars!
  18. Trucks. Middle America farmers and tough ‘n’ rugged cowboys? Check.
  19. A “refreshed” Subway. I wouldn’t put it past returning Subway CMO Chris Carroll – at the helm of marketing when Subway launched the “Eat Fresh” platform – to convince SFAFT the Super Bowl is the right spot to swing the pendulum far, far away from the Jared debacle.
  20. A retired quarterback. Easy money is on Joe Montana. But Troy Aikman, Steve Young or Brett Favre play spoiler.
  21. A current quarterback. Make that plural and I’ll take the Manning brothers for 200.
  22. Tim Tebow. Wasn’t sure where to put him, frankly, but he’ll be there.
  23. “Concussion” trailer starring Will Smith. Just seeing if you were paying attention.
  24. Crowd-sourced Doritos commercials. This is already confirmed – the final year for this concept. It’s just a matter of which of the three finalists they go with. One features animals, another a baby and, finally, a celebrity. Shocker, right?
  25. Hidden camera reveals. It’s a nice device that allows marketers to paint their version of reality. See: McDonald’s, who last year hid cameras in-store and suggested customers could pay for their orders by calling their moms and telling them they love them. I predict this idea will be back in full force.
  26. Someone from the Kardashian-Jenner-West family tree. We did this to ourselves, people.
  27. The return of Apple. We know it’s the first time Apple is involved in the Super Bowl in a decade. What’s hazy is whether it’s just a sponsorship or something bigger.
  28. Halftime sharks. ESPN expertly capitalized on this a few weeks after last year’s Super Bowl. Since America loves sequels, I wouldn’t be shocked if they return in some capacity. I’m still rooting for Right Shark.
  29. A G-rated NFL commercial. The NFL sort of survived a full year without a black eye (See: #29) – though those two words are still touchy to the NFL and Baltimore Ravens fans. Moreover, this past September was the first month since 2009 that no active NFL player was arrested. Don’t be surprised if the NFL conservatively chooses to run a family friendly “everyone-gets-a-trophy” commercial come February 7. Sorry Leon Sandcastle.
  30. Celebrities who are 50. With the Super Bowl turning 50, there are a few celebs brands can utilize: Slash, Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr., all of whom are the big 5-0. Know who else just turned 50? Charlie Sheen. #winning
  31. Babies and puppies. But will they be talking?
  32. Wardrobe malfunction. It has been 12 years and it’s still relevant today. How about Justin and Janet in a “wardrobe” commercial for Tide?
  33. DIY website companies. If it’s Squarespace, I wonder if they wrangle the ghost of Walter Sobchak (John Goodman’s character in “The Big Lebowski”) to follow last year’s Jeff Bridges commercial. I’ve checked: www.ghostofwaltersobchak.com is available.
  34. Buffalo Wild Wings. The memes in social alone suggest they don’t need to do a thing outside letting the game play out. Dear me, how the Hooters have fallen.
  35. Candy! Skittles is back and that’s great news for viewers – their commercials are usually so sophomoric and sideways you’d think they were coming out of “medicinal marijuana country” versus an agency in Chicago.
  36. A Clinton. It could be Hillary or Bill, but I really hope it’s Parliament-Funkadelic’s George.
  37. Al Gore. Well, he did invent the Internet. And with the Super Bowl in Silicon Valley, this would be the ideal platform for him to throw his hat in the ring as a Democratic nominee.
  38. “Mockingjay”’s Jennifer Lawrence. Katniss makes her extra point here with arrows.
  39. “Star Wars” something. Not sure if this is promoting one of the movies or has a character featured in a car commercial, but Star Wars fever definitely applies here.
  40. “Frozen 2.” Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. With two kids under three, I just can’t wait to watch another 100 hours of Elsa on loop. (Help.)
  41. Rihanna, Adele, Drake and Taylor Swift. The 58th Annual Grammy Awards touch down seven days later on CBS.
  42. Aaron Rodgers. “Mr. Discount Doublecheck” himself. I’m sure this isn’t what he meant by wanting to play in the Super Bowl.
  43. Lowest budget production commercial ever. Every few years, someone spends nearly $5 million on their commercial and 5 cents on their production. Don’t be surprised if this is the year we see someone just fade up their website URL on black…and that’s it. They do say less is more memorable...
  44. A two-minute commercial. That would be an approximately $20 million check to CBS before a dollar was ever spent on production – yowza. Ideal candidates to do something like this: Ford, Apple, Samsung or Google. We would certainly talk about this well after the game. That’s earned media and that’s what brands are counting on.
  45. A commercial we adore but…ten seconds after it airs, we can’t remember who it was for. I still love the “herding cats” commercial from a few years back and for the life of me I cannot tell you the brand.
  46. A taxing tax commercial. Nothing like a sobering reminder that it’s tax season. How much money can you not give over to the government this year?
  47. Oikos yogurt. I’m already cringing thinking about this. If you’re reading this, Dannon, don’t drop millions of dollars to re-run an old advertisement just because Cam’s your guy.
  48. Nutty chocolate and nutty celebs. A few folks I hope Snickers considers for their Super Bowl Spot? Pee-wee Herman, Charlie Sheen, Gary Busey or Sarah Palin. Did I mention Charlie Sheen?
  49. Trump joke delivered by….avocados from Mexico. Mic dropped.
  50. I’m going to Von Miller World! Technically, this commercial comes after the big game. Although Cam Newton is the obvious choice, I am going with, for the record (literally), Von Miller. If anyone outside a quarterback screams, “I’m going to Disney World!” it’ll be the longest streak in NFL history that a QB didn’t win this coveted honor dating back to 1987.


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