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Advertising Super Bowl

Super Bowl adjacent ads: How McDonald's, Tums and more are getting in on the action


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

January 31, 2020 | 12 min read

Super Bowl ads now run up to $5.6m for a 30-second spot. While some brands would love to be a part of the big game, they don’t want to spend the money, that's where adjacent placement comes in.

MoonPie's bizarre gas station TV ad

Brands can glom on to the Big Game without the huge spend by doing stunts tied to game action, advertising before kickoff, or having an activation tied to the game without mentioning the words Super Bowl (owned by the NFL). Or, they may just do something outrageous during the same time frame.

Here are just a few examples of brands who are not quite in the Super Bowl.


The sparkling water brand brought back Michael Buble for another humorous spot, but it delayed its debut until a day after the hype of the big game was over.

Bubly: Bublé is at it again

By Bubly

Overall Rating 5/5

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The snack treat ran its ads during the game but on GSTV - which runs videos at gas pumps.

MoonPie: Born Free by Tombras

By MoonPie

Overall Rating 5/5

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Secret Deodorant revealed its conversation-starting almost-Super Bowl ad on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. 'The Secret Kicker' spot will air during the official Super Bowl Pregame Show and aims to spark a dialogue about the possibility of women playing at football’s highest level – the NFL. Starring US soccer players Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn, this ad is the latest from Secret to prominently highlight women’s social issues.

Secret: The Secret Kicker

By Secret

Overall Rating 3/5

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Honda is dedicating game day to “Superb Owls”. Yes, Honda is celebrating these majestic birds, who are not unlike the Honda Pilot SUV, with their keen eyesight enabling them to see much more of their surroundings. Throughout Sunday, Honda will be tweeting a series of spotlight videos showing off different owl species in action and ‘hooting’ all day about these superb owls.

As part of the campaign, anytime someone uses the hashtag #SuperbOwls on Twitter on Sunday, a custom owl emoji will automatically appear adjacent to the hashtag. Promoted tweets will take place on Sunday and continue throughout the day and game. Honda will roll out content on Twitter with a mix of video, gifs, and on-the-fly owl reaction memes to engage fans all day.

Progressive The insurance company's Flo and Jaime pretended to be servers at Portabella's restaurant in a 30-second pregame spot.

Teremana Tequila During the Super Bowl LIV Pregame, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson premiered a spot for his new Teremana Tequila featuring Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Johnson and Jay Glazer. The spot features the friends as they play a game of Never Have I Ever, ribbing each other as Dwayne never got a chance to fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL. They share drinks, laughs and toast to hard work and creating amazing opportunities. Johnson took to Instagram to cheers an epic Super Bowl and share the spot noting “I created Teremana to be enjoyed with friends and family and to bring people together, just as this incredible game does.”

Stella Artois The beer brand featured Carrie Bradshaw and The Dude last year, but this year Stella has so far only committed to Port de Stella, which it calls “the ultimate destination for world-class food, music, style.” Popping up around the US throughout 2020, Port de Stella will make its debut in Miami during Super Bowl weekend, inviting locals and Super Bowl goers the chance to taste, touch and experience the best of Europe and the Life Artois ahead of America’s most iconic sporting holiday. Tickets are free at Freshii The Freshii #SoupOrBowl is a social activation centred around giving back to local communities. Freshii is hijacking the game by asking folks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to replace their #superbowl hashtag with #SoupOrBowl in the days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.

Freshii: Soup or Bowl

By Freshii

Overall Rating 4/5

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Buffalo Wild Wings Buffalo Wild Wings has promised free wings for America if the game goes to overtime. Overtime is far from a longshot, with two postseason games having already gone to OT this year. If that trend continues 2 February, everyone in the US will win free wings on February 17 from 4-7pm local time.

BWW tweet

Tums The antacid brand invited Twitter users to share what they find #TUMSworthy by using the blue dot emoji. Tums will be partnering with fans and a cast of influencers to give Twitter users the chance to win $54,000, or one of six trips. It will run two ads just before kickoff.

Tums: TumsWorthy by Grey NY

By Tums

Overall Rating 4/5

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McDonald's is foregoing the game but will be present during the pregame show with an ad that highlights the actual go-to orders of: Kim and Kanye, Millie Bobby Brown, Whoopi Goldberg, reporter Erin Andrews, and other not-so-real personalities, Dracula, the Hamburglar and the Big Bad Wolf.

McDonald's: Famous Orders by Wieden+Kennedy New York

By McDonald's

Overall Rating 4/5

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Superb Owl Created by Partners + Napier, this internet meme turned activist will support his fellow animals across the sea by donating his time to review Sunday’s best spots – and help raise money for World Wildlife Fund’s Bushfire Emergency. Follow along @SuperbOwl_Saves.

Superb Owl by Partners + Napier

Overall Rating 5/5

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Mint Mobile The Ryan Reynolds-owned wireless service made a public notice that it was not spending more than $5m for an ad. In a tweet, Reynolds holds up the ad with the text: 'Everyone’s buying ads so I bought one too. Not on TV. In the @nytimes. #classy' The service will give away three months of free service if people sign up during the game.

Ryan Reynolds Mint Mobile

Frank's Red Hot Frank’s RedHot just turned 100, and the company is celebrating with the ultimate party game of our youth: Spin the Bottle. Fans can participate in the Frank’s RedHot Twitter livestream game show, during the big game. There will be truths, there will be dares, and there will be a lot of chances to win limited-edition saucy prizes. One lucky fan will win the ultimate prize, $1 for every day Frank’s has been alive – that’s $36,500. To help celebrate, Frank’s reached out to one of their most well-known, well-loved fans, Donnie Wahlberg. Donnie has been “putting that S#!t on everything” for years – just check his Twitter feed.


The fast-food restaurant is eschewing traditional advertising in favor of a high stakes partnership with some of TikTok’s best-known creators to reach sports fans.

The pairing will see the likes of David Dobrik, Brittany Broski and Zach King speak to fans directly throughout the game to inform them of free delivery Sundays for all orders greater than $10 with TikTok Timeout.

Content will air during each commercial break proceeding a timeout with each star bringing their style to the tune of Justin Bieber’s ‘Yummy’.


The NFL's problem with Colin Kaepernick's protests has extended to Peta's new Super Bowl LIV commercial, which pays homage to the quarterback by showing a variety of animals — from a bee to a bear to a bald eagle — "taking a knee" while the national anthem plays.

When Peta tried to get Fox to run the 60-second spot during the Super Bowl pregame show, the organization said it was rejected by the network because of efforts by the NFL to block it.

Peta: Don't Stand For Injustice

By Peta

Overall Rating 4/5

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Volvo Safety Sunday is a pledge to give away $1 million in cars if a safety occurs during football’s biggest game.


The insurance provider added commentator Joe Buck to its 'Sequels' ads during the pregame.

Follow The Drum's Super Bowl coverage here.

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