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Superbowl ads swap politics for Taylor Swift and AI

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Fans can expect celebrities and more lighthearted commercials, along with glimpses of Taylor Swift, during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

It’s a sign that corporate advertisers are avoiding the recent practice of using the big game to promote social causes.

While high-priced Super Bowl commercials often play for laughs in trying to make an impression, the flashy productions can also reflect the national mood.

Brands that previously took stands on issues such as diversity and climate change, are acknowledging that anything seen as political while attempting to market products to all consumers can be “treacherous to navigate,” said Kim Whitler, a professor at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and a former marketing executive at Procter & Gamble (PG.N).
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“The pendulum swings. First, it was ‘we don’t do enough,’ and now it’s swinging back,” she said.

Encountering xenophobia

Budweiser in 2017 used the Super Bowl to depict Anheuser-Busch’s (ABI.BR)founder making the journey from Germany to America in 1857, encountering xenophobia and discrimination along the way.

This year, it will bring back the iconic Clydesdale horses to its Super Bowl commercial, while related brands like Michelob Ultra will have a lighthearted ad featuring soccer superstar Lionel Messi.

For brands that want to appeal to a younger demographic during the NFL championship clash between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, the romance between Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, which has dominated social media, could provide inspiration, said Charles R. Taylor, professor of marketing at Villanova University School of Business.

Despite some griping over attention paid to Swift during games she has attended this season, the pop megastar’s appeal has benefited the league and could do the same for brands shelling out millions for a Super Bowl commercial, Taylor said.

The price of a 30-second spot on CBS sold for around $7 million, according to a source familiar with the ad sales, about the same as last year.

Increased viewership

“It’s definitely been good for the NFL. (Swift has) flat out increased viewership,” Taylor said.

One trend emerging in commercials and teaser videos released before the game is ensemble celebrity casts.

Bud Light will introduce the Bud Light Genie, who grants a group of friends wishes that turn a night watching football into a jam-packed adventure.

With the genie’s help, the friends magically appear at rapper Post Malone’s concert, then at an Ultimate Fighting Championship match with UFC President Dana White, and become best friends with Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

The beer brand’s return to raucous humor comes after it endured a damaging conservative boycott for featuring a transgender social media influencer in one of its ads.

“We’re leaning a little bit harder into the humor this year,” said Todd Allen, senior vice president of marketing for Bud Light.

Google (GOOGL.O) will strike a heartwarming tone while promoting its prowess in artificial intelligence (AI), a hot topic in the tech industry.

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BREAKING: Shots ring out at Trump rally

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Donald Trump was whisked off the stage at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania after loud noises rang through the crowd.

Trump was showing off a chart of border crossing numbers when bangs started ringing through the crowd. Trump could be seen reaching with his right hand toward his neck. There appeared to be blood on his face.

He quickly ducked behind the riser as agents from his protective detail rushed the stage and screams rang out from the crowd. The bangs continued as agents tended to him on stage.

His motorcade has left the venue.

In a statement, Trump says he is “fine” and says he is being checked at a medical facility.

Donald Trump was safe, the U.S. Secret Service and his campaign said on Saturday after multiple shots rang out at a rally by the Republican presidential candidate in Pennsylvania as video showed Trump grimacing and raising a hand to his right ear.
The former president had just started his speech when gunshots erupted and Trump and other rally attendees hit the deck. Secret Service agents swarmed around him and live video showed blood on the right side of Trump’s face and ear.
 
Trump repeatedly raised his fist in the air, with an American flag visible behind him, as security ushered him away.
“The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former president is safe,” a spokesperson for the agency said on X after what it called an incident.
“This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available.”

A map of the site, showing where the alleged gunman was situated compared to Donald Trump.

CNN reported that Trump was injured, but gave no other details. It was not clear how or what injuries he may have sustained.

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NASA astronauts phone home, confident Boeing’s Starliner will return to Earth safely

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Stranded NASA astronauts express confidence in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, assuring its capability to safely transport them back to Earth from the International Space Station.

The astronauts, over a video call to NASA, highlighted Starliner’s enhanced safety features and testing protocols as reassuring factors for their safe return.

“I have a real good feeling in my heart that this spacecraft will bring us home, no problem…”, said Sunita “Suni” Williams, one of the stranded NASA astronauts.

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Franchising vs. Independent: key differences to choosing the right SMB model

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With latest Australian Federal budget, many SMB’s are weighing their options when selecting a suitable business model.

Franchising provides brand recognition, operational support, and economies of scale but involves ongoing fees.

Independent businesses offer full control and profit retention but face higher costs and regulatory challenges.

For risk and reward, the franchising model reduces risk through established practices and support but involves ongoing fees and profit-sharing with the franchisor.

On the alternative, independent businesses retain full control of profits but face higher risks and responsibilities in managing the business.

Sonia Shwabsky, CEO at Kwik Kopy Australia, joins to share her key insights on SMB’s. #featured

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