Super Bowl, Robinhood Podcast: Super Bowl LV ads play to a resilient American consumer
5 million dollars for a 30 second commercial spot. The economics of the super bowl and by extension, corporate america, seemed to be fairly resilient. Could this perhaps be a harbinger for a more positive 2021 you’re listening to the business extra coming from the national in abu dhabi, i’m mustafa al rawi assistant, editor in chief with me, is kelsey warner. The nationals feature editor and co host hi kelsey, hey mr pam, so as i was saying, uh the super bowl is tonight for those that may not be familiar with it. It is a giant american and perhaps global uh sporting extravaganza. The teams facing off tonight are the kansas city chiefs and the tampa bay buccaneers, 100 million people expected to be the televised audience. Also. You have very anticipated or highly anticipated commercials by a number of brands. This is sort of a tradition. A lot of the ads have been leaked, and you also have a half time show this year with the weekend, usually it’s a big sort of singing star superstar, whatever you call them and uh it’s all a very big moment, not just for sports, but sort of Where the american, cultural and business landscape is at the moment, am i over selling it? No, i don’t think you’re selling it enough. In fact mustafa. The super bowl is, you know, a real like just a marquee event: it’s it’s, our fourth of july it’s, our thanksgiving it’s it’s right up there, but it’s, really the best of consumer america and to your point, five and a half million dollars for a 30.
Second, spot it’s, actually uh ad sales. Viacom cbs is the team that does the ad sales and they’re a bit flat this year, so they eke up a hundred thousand dollars, or so each year and it’s it’s a bit down this year and they actually had a bit of trouble drumming up interest from The usual classics like coca cola, budweiser hyundai this year, who have all said we’re, going to sit out and actually donate what we would typically spend on ad spots to charities, but that’s actually opened up space for advertisers, who wouldn’t typically jump into the fray. So they’ve. Actually got 20 new joiners in the roster of commercials. You know it’s a lot of the usual suspects, so it’s kind of fun to have some fresh voices in the mix, but yeah they’re they’re still ponying up a fair amount of money. So we ha not the exponential growth that we’ve seen in recent years, understandable, given covert 19 and and the effect on the economy, um and also you know, i think you know we’ll talk a little bit about the the the commercials that are expected to be aired. Uh during the super bowl, but there seems to be a shift in in in values and in the kind of uh messages that brands want to get across it, isn’t sort of um, undiluted capitalism, but more sort of a more caring softer attitude. From from some of these companies and almost by coca cola and those other brands saying we’re not going to spend that money this year, it sort of weighs into that message of it’s a new look.
America. We have a new president in the white house. A lot has changed in the last year and perhaps it’s sort of setting the agenda, for you know a different conversation, america’s the home of madison avenue and sex sells, but it is taking a different kind of tact this year i do think we’ve all been sitting At home online this year, just listening to each other and i think it’s made brands potentially more pc cancel culture is a huge. You know constant thread throughout our culture. So this idea of you know airing on the side of caution so as not to wade into hot water. I do think it’s, probably on the minds of a lot of creative teams who are uh. You know building these ads. So if we get into some of the the expected uh commercials that have been leaked in i’m doing my air quotes leaked um. I think they want. They want them out there every year as early as possible, to generate the discussion streaming on youtube. Yes, i don’t know if they’re even very, very hard to find um some of these league dads so did any any jump out at you in particular. So one that’s interesting the leaked uh culture now is. We can also criticize ads before they’ve even aired so dolly parton, uh reprised, her nine to five song for squarespace and it’s, already being um. You know pulled through the mud for really being a gross celebration of the side, hustle culture uh when she said nine to five.
Originally, it was to you know, empower the working man to stick it to the boss and, with this rendition, she’s really celebrating the gig economy, which everyone’s feeling like they’ve, worked way too hard in the last year to be reminded to work even harder. So for squarespace kind of a tough uh, i think debut for them on the super bowl they make websites. Is that right they make websites and really do cater to to the side hustler to the person who you know, has a business idea and wants to easily. You know pop up online, but i think that they probably missed the mark and, i think, it’s, an interesting uh commentary on where our heads are at this year. Dolly parton. You know she was an investor in one of the us vaccines she’s been one of like the most celebrated celebrities of the last year, she’s having a bit of a renaissance so for her to catch black for her squarespace turn is, is kind of a fall from Grace for her, what about you so let’s stick with e commerce, so the two commercials that i watched one was for the robin hood app, the trading app that has been in the news lately because of the gamestop short squeeze uh drama that played out we’ll play A little bit of it now don’t think you’re, an investor. Do you make short term investments, long term investments and try to keep the big picture in mind? You don’t need to become an investor.
You were born one robin hood, so that robin hood commercial is seems to be um. We don’t know when they they actually created the the ad, but it seems to be kind of almost a reset uh of relations with with its customer base. Given that there was a certain sense of betrayal on the part of its users when they stopped them being able to buy game, stop shares and other shares uh when they were flying uh the other day in in the whole ferrari, so so it’s interesting they’ve chosen. The super bowl as the medium to kind of, say, hey we’re, all in this together and we are, you know, everyone’s, an investor and we’re the ones helping you be an investor. I will be curious to see what the reaction is. They seem to be in some hot water at the moment, but that seems to change with each news cycle. So we’ll have to see so uh another commercial that i kind of thought was interesting was there was one for a outdoor equipment company and it was very much focused on our desire for uh the wild for nature, given that we’ve all been cooped up at home. For various points of the last 12 months – and that was a real kind of emotive message of sort of family and and and i guess what america is all about and getting out into the into the rocks and the and the in the woods and and to Me that almost you know pulled on the heartstrings of of kind of what a what a tough year it’s been to everyone in our great outdoor family.
You may be feeling a little cooped up, but don’t forget. We need nature to help us heal and reconnect with the ones we love the most, so when you can get back to nature, get back to each other we’re here for you. I wondered too. If outdoors companies patagonia has been one of the most vocal kind of activist companies, they famously alongside rei, another outdoors company have shut their doors on black friday to sort of stick it to consumerism and say you know head outside the cynic in you wants to say You know they only seek to gain from moves like that, so i do think kind of the return to nature. Those brands are really just hot they’re beloved people do want to feel like they are, you know putting their money towards companies that will make a difference. These days, i think, increasingly, procter gamble, even in their commercial. This year is urging viewers to ensure that household chores are split evenly and equitably. Amongst the mess makers of your household so like it feels like every company has has a has a message, and i wonder too how much, how much of it is getting watered down this year. So that’s the cynic in me. So so the last uh uh commercial i’ll bring up because because for sheer ambition, um chipotle the uh they sell, burritos um, they they had their commercial sort of hypothesis. Is that um, ethically sourced burritos and ingredients can help um.
You know with climate change and all kinds of issues uh that are plaguing us at the moment, and it was a very kind of almost, i would say, reminds me of those sort of coca cola aspirational messages. When, when i was a kid at least of you know you drink a coke, you can change the world um we’ll, all love each other, but this is eating. A burrito is, is the difference eating a burrito can help a farmer and don’t. We all want to believe that yeah and then to thinking about the back to nature messaging. It is um amazon fires, which is the amazon streaming service. Their general manager has predicted that this will be the most streamed event ever because of the rise of smart tvs and just the various platforms that we can watch from these days. So it’s going to be potentially the most streamed event ever so as much as we’re. Getting these back to nature messages, we’re all going to be on our butts on the couch watching the super bowl absolutely, and that – and some of the brands are taking advantage of that second screen phenomenon: you’re watching tv you’re on your phone, so mountain dew’s got a Social media competition. You can win a million dollars um by doing something some task to do with their commercial uh during the super bowl, so i mean seeing some innovation uh. Perhaps that will be the the future of of our consumption, of not just sports but all kinds of uh entertainment and the super bowl promises to kind of be as interesting off the field as it may or may not be uh on the field.
As always, and even so innovative that the weekend has had to pony up for his own halftime show he’s bragged, actually that he’s put forward seven million dollars to help defray the costs of whatever is going on at halftime uh during this show so i’m really curious To see what they’ve come up with there, but it sounds like the cost of the halftime show has really ballooned, because artists are seeing what an opportunity it is to drive. You know new listeners, get new fans and so he’s making an investment in it himself. It sounds like we’ll leave it there kelsey. Thank you so much good to be here. Thank you all for listening. All that remains is to thank our production team, arthur edison and alisha khan.