Lighthearted Super Bowl spots shy from politics

NEW YORK — This year’s Super Bowl advertisers are minding their manners. They’re trying hard to steer clear of everything from politics to the #MeToo movement with lightly humorous ads that don’t offend.

 

The goal is to capture the attention of the 111 million-plus viewers expected to tune in Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots. Thirty-second slots are going for more than $5 million for airtime alone.

Last year, ads that tackled political issues fell flat, like an 84 Lumber ad about immigration. And some thought the recent Grammy Awards’ low ratings were because the show contained too many political moments, such as Hillary Clinton reading from the Trump biography “ Fire and Fury.”

People are in the mood for “political-free entertainment,” said Kim Whitler, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia.

Several ads will be taking a light-humor approach with mostly male celebrities.

In a Pringles ad, Bill Hader has a snack on set and introduces a made-up practice dubbed “flavor stacking,” in which he mixes and matches different Pringles varieties. M&Ms enlisted Danny DeVito to embody what happens when a red M&M becomes a person after wishing on a lucky penny.

Chris Elliott lives in a bio dome to tout avocados from Mexico, while Stranger Things star David Harbour shows up in Tide’s commercial.

“They’re light hearted and good natured,” said Kim Whitler, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia. “That’s on target with the mood of the country.”

“We’re exposed to so much constant negativity,” said Andy Goeler, a marketing executive at Bud Light. “Delivering something just light hearted and fun is the root at what beer is all about.” The brand’s two spots showcase a mythical kingdom a la Game of Thrones centered on Bud Light and the catchphrase “Dilly Dilly.”

 

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