The evolution of the Super Bowl commercial has been one of the most interesting things to watch in pop culture since the mid-1980s.
Movie stars and cultural references have always been around. But ever since Apple debuted its 1984 Super Bowl commercial, ads have trended in the direction of Hollywood storytelling.
One explanation for this new trend is that people are growing tired of the ‘hard-sell.’
Marketers have moved away from continuously blasting the product name, and its attributes. Instead, they’ve turned to cinematic ads that focus on the viewing experience, and the cultural connection movies generate between seller and buyer.
The following cinematic ads feature vivid imagery, interesting story-lines and encourage viewers to turn up the volume rather than intuitively hitting mute.
Dundee – Tourism Australia
In the weeks leading up to the 2018 Super Bowl, fans of Crocodile Dundee were surprised to find IMDb pages popping up online. Unexpected trailers dropped for what appeared to be a reboot of the film with a stellar cast comprised of Danny McBride, Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Margot Robbie, and Isla Fisher. In reality, there was no movie. Viewers were actually watching a campaign from Droga5 for Tourism Australia.
Nacho Fries Movie Themed Series – Taco Bell
Taco Bell released a series of movie-themed spots as part of their Nacho Fries Campaign. Their most recent one is a horror-style ad called “The Craving.” Stranger Things actor Joe Kerry’s fry-obsessed character leaves his love interest, Sarah Hyland, behind as he goes on a quest.
The first movie-themed spot called “Web of Fries” came out in 2018 and was a two-part campaign that starred Josh Duhamel. The first spot came out in January and the second one later that year in June. In January 2019, James Marsden took over in a space odyssey, “Nacho Fries: Retrieval.” The following June, Darren Criss was featured in a riff on music biopics called “Chasing Gold.” Then in February 2020, the Nacho Fries campaign did a spoof on a buddy action flick called “Supply & Demand”.
Connecting Flights – Sears Appliances
In this 2013 movie-trailer commercial, Connecting Flights shows how sometimes you fall in love. Sometimes you run into it. What looks to be a fun and quirky romantic comedy about two bloggers, Eddie and Shannon, turns out to be a Christmas campaign for Sears Appliances.
Opening Title Sequences – NFL
To celebrate the NFL being one of the biggest and longest-running pieces of entertainment in American history, NFL Films partnered with Cam Miller in 2017 for their “Let The Show Begin” Campaign. During the campaign, they released two movie-trailer title sequences that would elevate NFL football from sport to prestige entertainment. This first title sequence was themed around the hope that surrounds each NFL team at the beginning of the season and features NFL stars such as Von Miller, Dak Prescott, Earl Thomas, and more. The second spot in the campaign was about the unpredictable nature of the early part of the NFL season. It features Demarco Murray, Jay Ajayi, Michael Thomas, and Myles Garrett. As the season progressed, additional title sequences were released and accompanied by social teasers and posters.
Three Little Pigs – The Guardian
In this 2012 award winning ad, The Guardian reimagines the classic fable of The Three Little Pigs by vividly illustrating the harsh realities of today’s media environment.
As a part of their “The Whole Picture” campaign, the ad provides a framework for exploring the nature of news today and spotlights how their open journalism approach enables coverage from every angle and every platform. They also demonstrate the rapid speed at which stories can change with 24/7 coverage and the increasingly interactive nature of news today. Readers can reflect their opinions right back through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Legend of Cambria – Cambria
While the previous cinematic-style ads mentioned above were simply spoofs of real movie trailers, the American-made natural quartz countertops brand, Cambria, went even further. They made a real, feature length movie!
Inspired by the breathtaking, legendary landscapes of Wales and the Celtic region, Legend of Cambria, tells the story of their beautiful countertop designs in a seven-part, one-of-a-kind epic fantasy film. The campaign brings the brand to life through a memorable and distinctive story.
As we head into this Super Bowl weekend, we’ll be watching for innovative ways brands use movie tactics and storytelling commercials to reach their targets. We’ll update you post game with our favorites!