Celebrities Star In More Than 50% Of 2024 Super Bowl Commercials. Here's Why – Forbes

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Agent State Farm is part of a Super Bowl-powered promotional campaign for … [+] State Farm Insurance.
This year’s Super Bowl will again see a plethora of celebrities in the ads, ranging from Tom Brady to Cardi B to Scarlett Johansson. While there are some rules of thumb for effective celebrity endorsements, finding the right celebrity endorser for a brand is nuanced.
Practitioners and scholars have long studied factors associated with the success of a celebrity endorsement. As noted by and article in International Journal of Advertising, source credibility based on expertise, endorser attractiveness, match-up between the celebrity and the brand and the number of products endorsed by the celebrity have generally been factors (with too many endorsements being a negative) found to be associated with a successful endorsement.
However, results are sometimes nuanced and can involve several moderating factors.
In the context of the Super Bowl, it is especially challenging to find the right talent due to the large number of celebrities who appear in a group of ads where the advertisers are going all out to succeed. Indeed, celebrities will appear in well over half the ads, a trend that has been going on for the past five years.
So, in addition to adhering to accepted advertising principles, how can advertisers choose the right celebrity to include in a Super Bowl ad?
With this in mind, I consulted experts at United Talent Agency, a global talent, entertainment, sports and advisory company experienced in linking brands with talent, to learn how they help brands navigate the process to stand out.
Clearly, with 30-second spots costing $7 million this year and companies paying large production costs that include premium fees for celebrities and rights to music, Super Bowl advertisers must put their best foot forward.
Lauren Nogy, Endorsements & Voiceover Agent, UTA, emphasizes the unique atmosphere of advertising in the big game, stating, “The Super Bowl is one of the rare advertising moments where commercials take a front row seat to the hype around the Big Game. Viewers are incredibly excited and actively tuning in to see how brands are making a splash during the broadcast.”
Lauren Nogy, Endorsements & Voiceover Agent, UTA
Nogy further notes the pressure on the advertisers. “Because of the significant investment and the work that goes into a single spot, there is a lot of pressure for the commercial to break through,” she says, “celebrities offer the ability for viewers to instantly recognize and connect with the commercial which is imperative when they only have 60 or 30 seconds to grab viewers’ attention. Audiences value the classic components of the Big Game commercials and having a recognizable talent is one of those key pieces.”
While it is well known that celebrities are an important device for a Super Bowl ad noticed, to the point where they have appeared in a majority of Super Bowl ads, it is important to choose the right celebrity and then make effective use of that celebrity.
Below, a four step process is outlined based on interviews with UTA personnel.
Garrett Smith, Endorsements & Voiceover Agent, UTA
A recent survey conducted by UTA IQ, the agency’s data and research division found that 8 in 10 consumers believe that Super bowl ads that allude to pop culture are the most relevant.
Additionally, commercials that revive specific entertainment intellectual property are considered unique and more likely to improve purchase consideration. Garrett Smith, Endorsements & Voiceover Agent, UTA observes that, “Leaning into talent who is part of the cultural zeitgeist is usually a win.”
While considering pop culture is important, clearly choosing a celebrity who “matches” the brand and can be effectively tied in to the message conveyed in the ad is crucial. Smith asserts, “The main factor that marketers should consider is brand compatibility – does the celebrity make sense for either the brand or the creative/message they are trying to get across? While most tend to favor global stars and comedy, marketers should think deeply into their target demographic. One celebrity may work for one brand, but not the other. Business leaders should consider the type of talent that will resonate with their consumers and what makes sense in terms of selling their product.”
A great example this year is the Arnold Schwarzenegger spot for State Farm. He’s a global star who has had a lot of success during the Super Bowl, and the creative for the commercial was humorous but also leaned into his persona and who he is on a personal level.
A good example of effective linking of a celebrity to a brand from this year’s Super Bowl ads is Nerds’ use of Addison Rae, a Gen Z influencer who is on record saying that she enjoys eating Nerds.
Rae matches the core target demographic (Gen Z) and the energy shown in teasers depicting her as a dance instructor in a pleasant upbeat atmosphere matches the product. Thus, when she introduces Nerds new trade character “Gummy” in the ad it work, and simultaneously appeals to both a core and larger audience.
In recent years, the vast majority of advertisers have teased ads before the game in an effort to maximize campaign exposure and build anticipation of the main spot. So, the teaser generally needs to be part of creative strategy. In some cases, using additional talent (like actors, musicians, digital talent and influencers) is warranted.
As Nogy observes, “Brands create buzz in several ways. They utilize digital talent and creators to tease original content on their platforms, leverage in-game ad talent for social posts and coordinate traditional public relations and media interviews with the participating celeb. Sometimes, you’ll see brands like Anheuser-Busch, Uber and others activating in-market with musical performances and consumer experiences in addition to an in-game commercial.”
Sometimes, the use of multiple celebrities and/or music needs to be coordinated. Nogy says:
“This year for example, Uber has an in-game spot, but our agency’s music brand partnerships team booked client Post Malone for the brand’s party at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas. And our endorsements team helped Michelob ULTRA enlist Jason Sudeikis for the in-game commercial, but the brand also booked Lil Wayne to perform for their party in Vegas. It is all about creating anticipation for the Big Game on Sunday.”
Once a celebrity is hired and paid for the ad, the question of how to best leverage the appeal of the celebrity is important. UTA’s Smith observes that it is about much more than just filming the ad itself. “The best ways to leverage a celebrity in a Super Bowl ad is to include them in the creative process,” he says, “Brands should take advantage of talents’ creative voice and expertise, so the spot really comes across as organic and authentic to the talent. They are hiring this person for a reason. Including writers, directors and elements that make the spot feel like an extension of the talent also creates an amazing spot. PopCorners was a great example in 2023. The brand booked Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan to direct the spot and revived the key characters with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.”
Nostalgia can also often be used to broaden the audience and capitalize on the essence of the celebrity’s appeal. Moreover, a broader, longer-term relationship between the brand and celebrity may be appropriate in some cases. Smith says, “Leaning into nostalgic entertainment IP such as Rakuten did with Clueless and Alicia Silverstone is different from a simple celebrity cameo. Want even more leverage? Consider a larger talent-brand partnership that kicks off a priority brand campaign at Super Bowl but extends throughout the year.”
Shelby Bier, Director of Insights in the agency’s entertainment marketing division shared, “IQ’s research showed that 76% of consumers stated celebrity-driven Super Bowl ads were the ones that are the most likely to be talked about. This is critical for the brand who is leveraging the Big Game to increase brand awareness or launching that longer and more extensive campaign.”
Research shows that celebrities can overextend themselves by endorsing too many product in a way that dilutes effectiveness for an individual brand. For this and other reasons, celebrities are often selective about which brands they endorse.
So what can a brand do if it does not immediately procure the right celebrity? Nogy answers:
“If a brand cannot find the right talent, there are still ways to make an ad impactful. Licensing a classic song or leveraging IP can create a memorable spot for the viewer for years to come. Brands can also lean into creative that draws an emotional reaction for the viewer. UTA IQ found that 82% of viewers feel that the emotional commercials of Super Bowl created a memorable feeling. It’s what the Clydesdales have done year after year or what The Farmers Dog did in Super Bowl 23. Above all it is important the brand stick to their ethos to elicit a reaction for the viewers to create an attachment.”
There is a point to be made that with so many ads using celebrities that other approaches may have an enhanced chance of standing out. That said, viewers do like to see their favorite celebrities in ads and when there is an effective link to the brand, such ads can build brands.



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