Super Bowl LVI half-time: Who will hold top position?
For a $7million 30-sec ad slot, it better be a touchdown.
Jade Delaney

Field’s trimmed, players poised and entertainers have answered The Call for this years’ Super Bowl LVI. But let’s face it, American football is a bit dull. The real action begins at half-time when brand giants and newbies alike go head-to-head to capture the attention of pumped-up USA. To kick things off, here’s one that stood out in 2020, by Droga5, it’s Amazon – #BeforeAlexa.

As you know, the Super Bowl is consumerism at its finest. WFP reported last year that an estimated 1.3 billion chicken wings and almost 900 million pints of beer1 were inhaled by Americans in one day. Yikes! But it’s not the only thing about game day that’s excessive.

Media spend madness

Half-time commercials have become a bit of a cultural phenomenon. With some brands paying more than $5.6million for a 30-second slot in 2021. You can imagine this year was no different.

Last Thursday NBC confirmed they had sold out of their coveted half-time slots, no shockers there. Indicating the highest spend came to $7 million, up 27% from last year. Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? So, why has this become one of the most sought-after media spots and are brands able to deliver on the day?

Under pressure a workflow website, shrewdly explained in their behind-the-scenes tweet just how much goes into making a Game Day ad. Created by content agency Mustache, the preview gives an indicator of the tight timescale #WorkWithoutLimits.


With the potential to reach more than 100million viewers in such a short space of time, competition is high. This year sees 30 first-time advertisers entering the arena, 40% of which are new brands. Apart from the regular A-listers, animals, and footie alumni there’s an additional theme this year.

It seems upstart finance firms are bringing all things Crypto to the mainstream. TurboTax makes light of the fluctuating market and trader inexperience in their recent ad where the main character swings between “I’m a millionaire”, “I’m not a millionaire?”. ‘Crypto Bowl’ as it’s being dubbed by many is certainly a sign of the times. Like the Dot-Com frenzy of 2000, it might not last alongside beer and snack advertising giants.


Ab InBev are back this year after taking a break in 2021 for the first time in 37-years. Deciding instead to spend their money on Covid vaccine awareness and access which saw positive traction online. This year Bud returns with a 30-second ad and the thoughtful end line ‘In the home of the brave. Down never means out.’ I can hear those tipsy OoRah’s already!

Speaking of great end lines, Audi’s Super Bowl LV ad by 72andSunny ‘Electric has gone Audi’ is a touchdown of an ad in my opinion. Partly because they turned the common ‘x car has gone electric’ on its head with a clever use of (nerd alert) anastrophe, a type of syntax inversion commonly used by Yoda.

Another vet to hit centre stage are Pringles, returning for a 5th year in a row having recently released their teaser ‘Not Alone’. Posing the age-old question, ‘what happens when you get your hand stuck in the Pringles can’? Some of the best ads bring to light a brand or product truth with a twist, classic storytelling really. Last year we saw them inject humour in their 2021 flavour-stacking campaign with animated icons Rick and Morty.

Outbid, not out of imagination

Super Bowl advertising requires that every company wanting to broadcast must outbid their competitor. But with the hefty price tag, many miss out. You’ll notice in the days leading up, ‘Big Game Commercials’ will start to emerge. For legal reasons, reinforced by the very real fear every American has of being sued, they can’t be called Super Bowl ads unless they’ve paid for their half-time feature. To grab attention, some will instead offer free products to draw engagement. Last year Miller Lite gave away 5,000 six-packs, the catch? Beer-lovers had to laboriously type in an 836-character URL instead of watching their competitor’s ad. DDB Chicago’s Ridiculously long calorie-burning Big Game URL.

Brands continue to work hard to draw attention on the big stage. The rise in streaming begs the question, are people even watching? Well, I will be! Regardless, media spend continues to climb and so does the in-game ad earnings. Kantar reported that last year the game achieved a record $485 million in revenue2. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be even more this year. I don’t think Super Bowl’s popularity will ever waiver and neither will the demand for ad space lessen anytime soon. Everything in ‘Merica is big, so why would the ads be any different.

Let the show begin!