5 Ad Themes for Super Bowl XLIX

The big game is this Sunday, and that means the most expensive ads on TV are also being released. Like always, we’re seeing a lot of ads slated for the Super Bowl being revealed already.

Let’s take a look at this year’s commercial trends through the ads we are already seeing.

The Celebrity

It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without celebrity appearances–many of them. So far, we know of numerous advertisements featuring the famous, including a hilarious take by Mindy Kaling for Nationwide, a very on-brand ad by Snickers featuring Danny Trejo, and a shameless, self-promoting Kim Kardashian for T-mobile’s PSA-style spot. Brands, and their ad agencies, will keep celebrities in their playbook year after year, Super Bowl or otherwise. The reason? It works.

The Over-the-Top

Super Bowl commercials have a long history of offending women with sexist themes and subliminal—or not so subliminal—messages. Unfortunately, the trend continues into 2015, with controversy surrounding Charlotte McKinney, featured model in Carl’s Jr, “Au Natural” Super Bowl spot. One person tweeted, “setting feminism back 4 decades,” but for Carl’s Jr., the more controversy the better. The fast-food brand is reaping the benefits as the most talked about ad thus far.

The Sentimental

Look out for the sentimental, because this year brands are really hoping to make that emotional connection. Perhaps the Super Bowl isn’t the appropriate context for such appeals, but some brands would disagree: Toyota will include Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy in an inspiring spot, Budweiser will tell an emotional story of a puppy who learns the true meaning of friendship, and Dove Men+Care will run an ad intended to defy male stereotypes.

The Daddy Bowl

In addition to the Dove Men+Care example just noted, other brands are looking to connect with men this Super Bowl–and in ways that don’t include naked ladies! No, fatherhood is the trend this Super Bowl. Toyota’s “To Be A Dad” spot warms hearts with NFL players DeMarcus Ware, LaWar Arrington, Fred Jackson and Kurt Warner talking about their fathers and what it’s like to be a dad. Nissan’s #withdad advertisement takes a similar approach, featuring narratives of “life’s best moments #withdad.”

The #Hashtag

As in recent years, Advertisers are using hashtags to bring the conversation (and hype) online. According to Marketing Land, hashtags were used in 57 percent of nationally-run Super Bowl ads last year, up from 50% in 2013.

Super Bowl Ad Victoria Secret

Here are just a few:

What other themes are you seeing?