- Mars candy brand M&M's is making a return to the Super Bowl in 2018 following a three-year hiatus, Ad Age reported. Its recognizable "spokescandies" will appear in a 30-second TV spot, created by BBDO New York, that will air during the first quarter of the game.
- Mars has shuffled the Super Bowl strategy among its brands in recent years, opting to promote Snickers and Skittles in M&M's absence. The Snickers ad last year was a memorable live spot featuring the actor Adam Driver.
- M&M's isn't alone in coming back to the big game following a break: Frito-Lay's Doritos will run a commercial created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners after a notable absence last year, according to Adweek. The chip brand previously built a lot of Super Bowl buzz with its Crash the Super Bowl competition, which ran for a decade and drew submissions from independent filmmakers, who had a chance to run their ad.
Tracking which brands are and aren't going to the Super Bowl has been interesting, as some in the industry have raised speculation that lower ratings around NFL broadcasts and other controversies dogging the league might ward some advertisers off. The TV landscape's overall embattled status in facing down trends like cord cutting is another factor to consider, and a few notables will be absent from the big game in 2018. The website builder company Wix.com already said it's not buying a Super Bowl spot, breaking a hot streak started in 2015. The brand is spurning TV altogether next year in favor of digital campaigns and influencer marketing.
Regardless, the Super Bowl remains a premier TV ad buy, and M&M's and Doritos returning now speaks to how they might have felt a pinch of regret in their time away. Not only do the event's commercials retain a cultural aura that transcends the game itself, but advertisers can also more easily integrate their efforts with digital and social channels and other newer marketing tactics to tailor more hype and brand awareness beforehand.
Snickers, with its commercial last year, ran a 36-hour live stream leading up to the ad itself, for example. It will be interesting to see if M&M's adopts a similar strategy to herald the return of its spokescandies after a long break. Doritos appears to be opting for a more traditional approach with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, though few details about its plans are currently available, per Adweek.
NBCUniversal, which is broadcasting the Super Bowl, has reported it's seeing strong ad sales, expecting $350 million total.