Staying in bounds; the risk of innuendo in Super Bowl ads
Workers use a lift to install a Super Bowl 53 wrap on the outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Jan. 17, 2019. (Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Mae Anderson, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2019 9:11AM EST
NEW YORK -- Sex sells ... frozen food dishes?
Kraft Heinz' frozen-food brand Devour is trying to make waves during its Super Bowl debut with an ad taking a humorous jab at one man's "frozen food porn addiction."
The ad shows a woman talking about her boyfriend's problem with "frozen food porn," and says he watches it several times a day and has a hidden stash of photos of food. Among the suggestive lines is the girlfriend saying that the addiction has made him a "three-minute man," i.e. the amount of time it takes to heat up a frozen meal.
Super Bowl ads have long used raunchiness and sex to stand out during the Super Bowl, advertising's biggest stage. Think Cindy Crawford downing a Pepsi wearing skimpy shorts in 1992 or the 2013 GoDaddy ad that showed a squeamishly close-up shot of a kiss.
But advertisers have largely toned it down in recent years, focusing instead on crowd-pleasing approaches using animals, humour or celebrities. Raunchy ads can easily cross the line, offending or polarizing a company's intended target audience.
The stakes are high since a 30-second ad can cost more than a reported $5 million.
Devour says the 60-second version that debuted online Wednesday is "uncensored" and a toned-down 30-second version will air during the Super Bowl 53 broadcast Feb. 3.
Other advertisers include Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Kia, Verizon and many others. Colgate Total was the first advertiser to unveil its Super Bowl ad, on Friday, which stars Luke Wilson as a close talker.