Downy Unstopables purchased a 30-second ad spot for the Super Bowl LVII, signifying the first time the Procter & Gamble-owned brand will advertise during the game in over a decade, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. To build momentum, the brand on Dec. 12 unveiled a two-month campaign that will tease its commercial, making it one of the first this season to soft-launch its game day plans.
The campaign, titled “Believe,” revolves around a masked celebrity whose identity will be revealed during Downy’s Unstopables Super Bowl commercial only if the in-wash scent booster’s 12-week freshness claims prove to be true. The first spot, “I’m Not Doing It Yet,” serves as the introduction to the concept, which will take shape in the weeks leading up to the game. The 30-second spot sees the masked celebrity hiding their identity under a sweatshirt, smelling the clothing item and stating the consequences for what will happen if the scent takes a turn for the worst between now and game day.
The initial ad spot rolls out over the air and online this week and is one of six to seven commercials to be released in the coming weeks, with each spot dropping additional hints and Easter eggs regarding the masked celeb, a spokesperson told Marketing Dive. The campaign, created with agency Saatchi & Saatchi and Woven Collaborative, will also see a series of social media activations. The final spot — the Super Bowl commercial — will air during the game’s second quarter.
While this marks the first time Downy Unstopables will advertise while the game is being played, the brand previously advertised during the Super Bowl pregame in 2012. The ad starred “mean” Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Stealers alongside actress Amy Sedaris and was meant to “freshen up” an iconic advertisement by Coca-Cola from 1980.
P&G’s choice to advertise during the upcoming game comes after the company in October continued to cut back on marketing spend in a shift credited to further investment in measuring reach. Though, the company seems to be willing to go all in on a big media buy — Fox, who will nationally broadcast the big game, is reportedly charging a steep fee of over $7 million for a 30-second spot.
By September, nearly all ad slots for the Super Bowl had been sold, according to Bloomberg. Others who have teased their marketing plans include DraftKings, FanDuel, Rakuten, Avocados from Mexico, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors.