- CBS has sold about 75%-80% of its Super Bowl LV ad inventory, according to ad buyers and people familiar with negotiations cited by Ad Age. The network has about eight to 10 spots left to sell.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev, Mars Wrigley and WeatherTech confirmed to Marketing Dive that they will run Super Bowl ads. All slots in the first quarter and all A positions (the first in an ad break) and Z positions (the last in an ad break) in the first half have sold, per multiple buyers cited by Ad Age.
- The relatively well-selling Super Bowl ad inventory suggests marketers are not especially concerned with the chance of the big game not occurring due to upticks in COVID-19 that have caused postponements and relocations of other professional sporting events. However, the Feb. 7 big game also has a Feb. 28 makeup date, media buyers told Ad Age.
While news about which brands are running Super Bowl ads — and what they have planned — has mostly been under wraps, it doesn't appear that marketers have decided to forgo the big game altogether. CBS hasn't sold out its Super Bowl ad inventory at the same pace Fox did last year, but Ad Age notes the network is currently ahead of its pace from 2019, when CBS last aired the game.
However, there is some uncertainty around the championship's timing because of the pandemic, which is likely behind a lack of details so far around what Super Bowl ads next year will look like. Marketers could be holding off on making creative commitments until a clearer picture arrives of when the game will be played.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the NFL season, postponing a Thanksgiving night game, forcing the San Francisco 49ers to find a new place to play and causing the Denver Broncos to play without any quarterbacks. With COVID-19 cases again on the rise, the rest of the season could face similar disruptions, possibly delaying the big game until its makeup date. This could impact marketers' plans to roll out major campaigns during the game, but doesn't appear to be keeping them away en masse.
AB InBev, Mars Wrigley and WeatherTech will be returning as Super Bowl advertisers, but other brands have backed out or expressed hesitation about the state of the game. Avocados From Mexico in October announced it would end its six-year Super Bowl ad streak, but plans to return in 2022. Hyundai CMO Angela Zepeda told Ad Age the situation was "fluid" but noted that a postponement could give the carmaker more time to decide. Likewise, Kia Motors America's Director of Marketing Operations Russell Wager told the publication the brand will be in or around the game, "one way or another."
The NFL has had to shift plans as the pandemic affects not only players on the field, but fans in the stands and at home. The league has reimagined the Pro Bowl as a virtual experience in the Madden NFL 21 video game, while moving games from national TV to Amazon Prime Video. These shifts to digital channels affect how brands can advertise during games and which audiences they can reach by doing so.