Super Bowl Alert: Meta goes meta, EVs get big plugs and fists come out in new Big Game ads

I’m Ad Age Editor Jeanine Poggi, counting down to Super Bowl LVI. With just a few days left until the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Los Angeles Rams, airing on NBC on Feb. 13, Ad Age is bringing you breaking news, analysis and first looks at the high-stakes Big Game commercials—all in our Super Bowl newsletter. Sign up right here to get them in your email.


Meta, aka Facebook, released an extended cut of its Super Bowl ad today, which leaves us with more questions than answers. The commercial tells the story of discarded memorabilia from a bygone restaurant that seems to find a new life in the metaverse. With vibes of a “Toy Story” alternate reality, it’s hard not to view the metaverse with a bit of skepticism after watching the commercial, which appears to paint it as a home for discarded IP. Or perhaps, as Ad Age’s Garett Sloane writes, it is a metaphor for Facebook itself.

Catch up on lots of other Super Bowl ads released so far here

Social bowl

The living room screen isn’t the only place to catch the brand bowl. While Twitter has long been a platform to find Super Bowl advertisers (and brands eager to be a part of the action without spending close to $7 million) providing commentary on the commercials and poking fun at each other, this year TikTok is poised to breathe new life into marketers’ Big Game social strategies. Kia, TurboTax and Nissan are among the brands expected to be active on the platform heading into Super Bowl Sunday. ​​Ad Age rounds up the hashtags, dance challenges and filters to keep an eye on ahead of the game.

EV showdown

We might as well call this year’s Super Bowl the Electric Bowl. Nearly all of the auto brands (and auto adjacent brands) airing commercials in the game this year will plug their electric-vehicle ambitions. Startup EV brand Polestar confirmed today it will run its first ad in the game, joining the likes of Kia, BMW, Nissan and General Motors, which are all pitching their EVs, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz writes. The category also includes Wallbox, an electric vehicle charger maker, which will air its first Big Game commercial

General Motors released its spot today, which is its version of an “Austin Powers” movie. Mike Myers plays Dr. EV-il—as in electric vehicles—and the character realizes he needs to solve climate change before taking over the world.

To keep track of all the advertisers running national spots in the game, bookmark Ad Age’s regularly updated Super Bowl ad chart

Fists up

Taco Bell takes thinly-veiled jabs at McDonald’s in its Super Bowl ad starring Doja Cat, which debuted today. The spot opens in the dining hall at “Clownus Conformus,” where a clown on stilts turgidly inspects a table of bored clowns idly spinning plates, juggling and napping on balloon animals before trays of untouched food, Ad Age’s Jon Springer writes. Of course, it’s a direct shot to McDonald’s famous spokescharacter Ronald McDonald. In another slap at the fast-food giant, a public address announcer relays that the ice cream machine is broken. Doja Cat lifts a clown hat off the table and finds a little something from Taco Bell that turns her frown upside down.


Moment of zen 

Before the sacks, tackles and shouts of unruly fans get underway on Super Bowl Sunday, Headspace is looking to carve out a moment of zen. The meditation app will run a commercial during the pre-game show with a Valentine’s Day theme. The ad stars John Legend in heart pajamas touting his new sleep audio story, Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes. Headspace is the latest health and wellness brand to market in and around the game, with Planet Fitness and Hologic, a medtech firm, airing commercials during the game. 


Hear more about Super Bowl ad plans on the latest episode of the Marketer’s Brief podcast.