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Super Bowl ads: GM, Netflix, Michelob roll out star-studded campaigns ahead of big game

Super Bowl LVII is right around the corner, but it's not only football fans gearing up for the big game. A multitude of corporations are targeting the football field, aiming to reap substantial rewards from their high-profile, multi-million dollar advertisements featuring famous stars.

A typical 00:30 second spot runs about $7 million this year. That's up from $2.5 million in 2010, according to Timothy Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who tracks the numbers each year. He says the cost only goes up from there.

"If you're going to do the 00:60 second spot, let's call that $14 [million], let's put $2 million in production...$2 million on social media... and $2 million on other promotions," he said, with a grand total "easily at $20 [million]."

Companies aren't waiting for kick-off for their ROI. Calkins said that advertisers "should already have recouped [their] investment before the game actually starts" by building up excitement.

"It's not just releasing a teaser spot. For many advertisers, they will announce that they have a Super Bowl spot, and then they will announce that they're using a particular celebrity, and then they will announce that they are going to feature this creative idea," Calkins said.

Bud Light (BUD) turned to Miles and Keleigh Teller to engage the next-gen audience. The two shared the ad they're featured in on TikTok and got 1.5 million views in a day.

�Bud Light Teams Up with Miles & Keleigh Teller to Show How Its Iconic Beer Is 'Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy' As Brand Launches into New Era (Courtesy: Bud Light)
Bud Light Teams Up with Miles & Keleigh Teller to Show How Its Iconic Beer Is 'Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy' As Brand Launches into New Era (Courtesy: Bud Light)

In addition, General Motors (GM) and Michelob ULTRA, opted to collaborate with Netflix (NFLX).

Will Ferrell stars in a General Motors ad that will air during the game. In the co-branded campaign, Ferrell drives GM EVs through various Netflix shows, including "Stranger Things," "Love is Blind," and a "Squid Game."

Meanwhile, Michelob ULTRA showcased a beer tap emerging out of a golf bag with a TV on it. On the screen is Netflix's new "Full Swing" the documentary, showing a brief clip of the show that is set to debut on February 15.

Allen Adamson, co-founder of the marketing and brand consultant company Metaforce, said both companies were likely trying to differentiate themselves from other companies.

"By trying to be closer to the Netflix's hipness and current buzz among consumers, whatever programming it is...advertisers are hoping to break out of the sea of sameness where everyone is doing the same."

Another partnership this year is Molson Coors (TAP) joining forces with sports betting platform Draft Kings (DKNG). Consumers are encouraged to bet on details of the spot ahead of the game for the chance to win a $500,000 grand prize.

Calkins calls such partnerships, when done right, the "holy grail" of marketing.

And of course, M&M's is already driving buzz with its splash campaign ahead of its commercial. In the teaser, Maya Rudolph, its new spokesperson, says that M&M's are getting a new name, Ma&Ya's, and she is replacing the brand's famed "spokescandies."

Many speculate this is huge publicity stunt, but it's working, per TV measurement and analytics company EDO, TV viewers who saw the ad are 88% more likely to engage with the M&M brand compared to the average M&M ad over the last year.

Taken by Yahoo Finance (Screenshot of 'Ma&Ya's YouTube)
Taken by Yahoo Finance (Screenshot of 'Ma&Ya's YouTube)

Other consumer giants, including Kraft Heinz (KHC) and Hormel Foods (HRL), are skipping game-time commercials and instead launching game-themed products.

Kraft Heinz introduced the LVII MEANZ 57 limited-edition Ketchup bottle, giving fans a chance to drop the the Super Bowl's traditional roman numerals.

Hormel Foods created a limited-edition HORMEL Chili Cheese Brew with a small Brewing company, Modist Brewing Co., that sold out almost immediately.

Adamson said traditional packaged foods don't seem to stand out on the big screen like they used to.

"Those traditional packaged foods, staples, are really struggling in here with social media where people only share extraordinary...No one shares a bottle of ketchup on social media or a can of chili. They're really struggling in a world of social media. They did better when people were, you know, glued to their couch and had to watch commercials because there was no alternative."

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.

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