Still, Stella Artois’s effort has spurred some skepticism, with news outlets fact-checking the ad’s claims and some viewers asking why Stella Artois didn’t simply donate the cost of the commercial to Water.org. The company, through a public relations firm, declined to say whether it had paid Mr. Damon for the appearance.
Pringles tries to encourage ‘stacking.’
Pringles is running its first Super Bowl ad, starring the comedian Bill Hader, as it tries to popularize the notion of “stacking” chips with different flavors to arrive at a new, artificially flavored snack. (And, presumably, to encourage people to buy more than one pack of the chips at a time.)
Yuvraj Arora, a senior vice president of marketing at Kellogg, explained how to use the process to approximate the taste of chicken wings. “You take barbecue Pringles, buffalo ranch Pringles and ranch Pringles and you get a chicken-wing-like experience without the mess,” he said.
Mr. Arora noted that the way the millennial generation interacts with food, especially on social media, was an inspiration for the idea
“Food is so central to millennials’ lifestyle,” he said. “All around, you see there’s mashups, new flavor experiences and a number of unique flavors.”
A huge audience with a big price tag.
In an era of cord-cutting and ad-skipping, the Super Bowl is a sweet salve for the nation’s marketers. There’s no bigger stage for advertisers — last year’s game drew more than 111 million viewers — and that’s why they’re willing to shell out millions of dollars to be on it for 30 seconds.
Last year, commercials with social and political messages stole the show, but this year’s crop of advertisers seems to be steering clear of such commentary and aiming for laughs and nostalgia.
Of course, they’re paying the same high-ticket prices: The average cost of a 30-second ad in the Super Bowl is more than $5 million this year, according to ad buyers, roughly in line with last year. And that doesn’t count all the expenses tied to making and promoting an ad, like the star power. Cindy Crawford, Peter Dinklage and Danny DeVito are among the famous faces who will make commercial appearances this year.
While some ads will focus on philanthropy, the tone seems to have shifted from last year, when Airbnb and 84 Lumber ran spots that were viewed as responses to President Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and Audi broadcast a commercial advocating equal pay for women. Some industry experts were expecting at least one major ad focused on women this year, perhaps tied to the #MeToo movement.
“I’m a little bit surprised,” Charles R. Taylor, a professor of marketing at the Villanova University School of Business, said. “Some of the best ads over the last 10 years have focused on female empowerment, like the Audi daughter ad.”
Women are generally much less visible in Super Bowl ads than men, even as Nielsen data shows that women were 47 percent of the audience for last year’s game. Mr. Taylor, who recently studied Super Bowl ads from 2008 to 2017, found that 76 percent of the commercials showed a man as a principal character, while 43 percent featured a woman as a principal character.
Susan Credle, the global chief creative officer at the agency FCB, said Super Bowl advertisers may be “concerned about looking opportunistic versus supportive.” And humor, she noted, was particularly appealing given the social and political climate.
“Sometimes when the world is troubled or America is feeling a little — well, I wouldn’t say it was an up 2017 for everybody — I think there is a tendency to want to balance out the energy,” Ms. Credle said. “Lightheartedness and a little fun and joy is probably a good antidote to the reality that we’re sitting in.”
A ‘Game of Thrones’ reference and a Jeff Bezos cameo.
Fans of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” have been buzzing about a commercial for Doritos and Mountain Dew that stars the actors Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, as well as the musicians Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes. The PepsiCo brands cast Mr. Dinklage to represent fire, for a new spicy Doritos flavor, while Mr. Morgan plays ice for a new kind of Mountain Dew.
Greg Lyons, the chief marketing officer of PepsiCo’s North American beverage unit, said the casting was not a reference to Mr. Dinklage’s “Game of Thrones” character, who advises a queen who owns dragons. The actor, he said, is “fiery on his own.”
Mr. Lyons said, “He was in ‘Elf’ — he was pretty fiery in that as well.”
In another kind of pop-culture moment, Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, who has…