Society & Culture

Super Bowl 50 is going to be filled with celebrity endorsements, edgy content

Athens, Ga. – This year’s Super Bowl 50 ads will be packed with celebrities, say the faculty members at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Several advertising and journalism faculty members are prepared to provide commentary on the advertisements aired during the Super Bowl Feb. 7. Video is available at

Amy Schumer, Seth Rogan, Christopher Walken, Serena Williams, Alec Baldwin and Liam Neeson are just a few of the celebrities who will pitch products this year.

“Having a celebrity in the ad is a big theme this year,” said Tom Reichert, head of Grady College’s department of advertising and public relations. “Not only are you paying the $5 million for just the placement, but you are also paying the celebrity endorsement fee. I think people determine it’s worth it because celebrities gain instant awareness and recognition. We are obviously in a celebrity-obsessed culture, so certainly that is an effective strategy and one that has borne out over time.”

Reichert also points to ads like one for Shock Top that will have some edgy content.

“What’s really interesting about it is that I didn’t know a lot about Shock Top, but now it has an instant brand image for me, which is that it has a little bit of an attitude. I think that is exactly what they were going for, so I think they will be very successful.”

Other ads that some say are edgy include the Doritos “Ultrasound” ad, Mini’s “Defy Labels” ads and one from Bai caffeine-free drink’s “None of this Makes Sense” campaign.

Advertising and journalism faculty members ready to comment include:

Tom Reichert
UGA Athletic Association Professor in Advertising Information, head of the department of advertising and public relations at the Grady College.
Expertise: How controversial appeals, including sex appeal, influence audiences, especially during the Super Bowl.

“I think one of the ads that is going to draw a lot of attention this year is one for Shock Top. It’s such a repartee between insults between these two that each one builds on one another and you just can’t help be drawn in by what each one says next.”

Karen King
Professor of advertising
Expertise: pricing, media planning (why companies advertise during the Super Bowl), strategy, and use of social media in advertisements.

“I’m quite interested in the Percil laundry detergent commercial. You usually think of laundry detergent as being directed toward a female audience. The Super Bowl has a big female audience, but it only has 46 percent of the audience. For a long time, people have argued that there should be more female-oriented products, but this isn’t even a dual audience. Whether it gets a lot of attention, I will be very interested in seeing.”

Elaine Lin
Assistant professor of advertising
Expertise: advertising message strategies, digital and social strategies, social TV, fandom and brand love.

“I am excited to see Amazon make its Super Bowl ad debut this year, which will feature Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino, Missy Elliott and Alexa of the Amazon Echo. Like other advertisers, Amazon seeks to leverage the influence of celebrities and takes advantage of digital platforms to increase the reach of the campaign. Although Super Bowl advertising has shown limited effect on increasing sales, I believe this campaign will be able to impact the bottom line directly.”

Jooyoung Kim

Associate professor of advertising
Expertise: advertising engagement and consumer emotion, advertising campaigns, global advertising and quantitative research methods.

“Advertising is relevant information that is delivered in an interesting way and that makes connections to consumers. The Pokemon ad is not about the game but about the Pokemon brand. It’s about what it does and what it can inspire. It says ‘we inspire you to think you can do anything that you want and train yourself to be good.’ It’s really a good message, positive and well-made enough to trigger the nostalgia for many different generations that can really pull out the conversations. If the ad really generates good, positive, inspiring talks, the ad will really get attention.”

Peggy Kreshel
Associate professor of advertising
Expertise: ethics, advertising history, gender issues in mass communication and consumer culture, women’s studies and cultural studies. Kreshel can speak on a number of social justice issues in advertising, including gender issues and portrayals of men, women and children in advertising.

“The most memorable ad that really struck me as the one I am going to watch for is the one from Kia, which is a car company, that is going to have Christopher Walken in it and it is a very, very unusual type of teaser for a car company.

“A lot more is going to be happening on social media than is going to be happening in the bowl game itself. They are going to be doing video ads on sites where people go to hear commentary about the game … especially on mobile.”

UGA Grady College
Established in 1915, the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations and entertainment and media studies. The college offers several graduate degrees and is home to the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.