Same Same, But Different – by The MediaVantage’s Manoj Khimji

By Manoj Khimji, managing director, The MediaVantage.

I’m not a big NFL fan I must say, but I do make it a point to enjoy the spectacle of the Super Bowl each February. Not only because I’m ready and willing to be smothered in the sheer indulgence that the pinnacle of sports entertainment offers the armchair fan, but also as an advertising professional with a keen interest to pulse-check the state of the industry.

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Although much of the discourse is often dominated by halftime shows and performers, the undisputed headline of Super Bowl LV (aka Super Bowl 55) was Tom Brady winning his 7th championship ring, at the age of 43, 20 years after winning his first one. Putting this into context, most pro-NFL players will never win a championship, let alone 7, and not to mention most of those same players would have retired well before getting into their forties.

With all this nostalgia in the air, it’s only right to take a trip down memory lane to Brady’s first Super Bowl win in 2001 and compare a few of the advertisers from then to those in the 2021 edition:

2001 Advertisers 2021 Advertisers
Blockbuster Video Amazon Prime Video
Ford Ford
‘Swordfish’ Official Trailer ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Official Trailer
Doritos Doritos
Monster.com job site Indeed.com job site
E*Trade E*Trade
Budweiser Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade
Verizon Verizon

I could go on, but I think we’re starting to see the picture here. Clearly not much has changed, with the exception of those industries where technology has not only improved but entirely replaced the status quo.

It’s not only the brands that have sparked the nostalgia, it’s the talent too. Check out some of the stars of the 2021 commercial set (yes the 2021 set, not the 2001 set although you could be forgiven for confusing the two)…

John Travolta making TikToks with his daughter for Scotts and Miracle-Gro; Shaggy bombastically helping a Cheetos to cover her cheese-finger tracks around the house by claiming “it wasn’t me”; George from Seinfeld stepping right back into character by getting irate at a teenager wearing a hoodie with his face on it without washing it with Tide; SpongeBob SquarePants promoting the benefits of Oikos Pro Yoghurt for gym sharks; Bruce Springsteen appealing to Americans to get behind each other and reconnect in Jeeps; Big Bird and the Cookie Monster pushing app downloads for food delivery service DoorDash; and even a return to the Wayne’s World basement where Wayne and Garth are encouraging Americans to order locally – through Uber Eats of course.

John Travolta and his daughter Ella making TikToks in a Super Bowl commercial.

Advertising chips (crisps) during the Super Bowl, beverages, cars, upcoming movies, high-speed internet, even job sites, and doing so using family-friendly, tried-and-tested mainstream celebrities.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.