(AP) – The mood on the field was tense during the Super Bowl as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trounced the Kansas City Chiefs. Off the field, brands sought to relieve the tension of the game — and the year — with lighthearted commercials stuffed with celebrities and nostalgic characters.
They aimed to connect to the estimated 100 million viewers who tune in to the Super Bowl broadcast each year.
Cadillac updated the classic 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands,” M&M’s enlisted Dan Levy to show how a bag of M&M’s given as an apology can help people come together. And Will Ferrell teamed with GM — and Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson — on a madcap cross-country dash to promote electric vehicles.
Perhaps the most striking effect: Virtually none of the ads featured people in masks, a public-health priority but also a grim reminder of the ongoing pandemic.
With so many light spots, advertisers that took a different approach were more likely to be remembered. Jeep aired a two-minute ad in the second half of the game starring Bruce Springsteen urging people to find common ground. Oat milk maker Oatly opted for going weird.
“The relentless stream of cheery ads made it tough for any of them to really stand out," said Northwestern University marketing professor Tim Calkins.
AIMING TO ENTERTAIN
In an effort to be light, advertisers stuffed -- and sometimes overstuffed — their ads with celebrities.