Super Bowl

A Look at the Super Bowl Competitive Battle

20 Jan 2020  

Super Bowl LIV is coming up in less than two weeks. Football analysts are now studying the teams – the Chiefs and the 49ers. It should be an intense battle.

Marketing analysts are looking at the advertising matchups. There is a lot we don’t know at this point. We don’t know all the advertisers; many have announced plans but certainly not all. We also don’t know what the companies will focus on in terms of strategy. We know even less about the creative; none of the Super Bowl advertisers have released their spots so far.

Still, based on the initial information, there are a few interesting competitive battles shaping up.

Salty Snacks

The Super Bowl this year will see a lot of advertising from the snacks category, as three huge food companies will battle it out. Kellogg’s is spending aggressively in a bid to steal share. Over the past several years, Kellogg’s has acquired a portfolio of snack brands and is investing for growth. So Kellogg’s will run ads for Pringles and Pop-Tarts. PepsiCo, the industry giant, will respond with Super Bowl ads for Doritos and Cheetos. KraftHeinz, not to be left out, will run a spot for Planters.

The snacks battle is about brand building, momentum, and retail distribution.


The Super Bowl always gets a lot of advertising from the auto makers, and this year will continue that trend with many of the big brands showing up, including Kia, Hyundai, Audi and Toyota. One new and unexpected Super Bowl advertiser is Porsche, which will be running its first Super Bowl ad in more than twenty years. It isn’t clear what the U.S. firms will do: watch General Motors and Ford for possible spots.


This year’s Super Bowl will feature lots of beverage ads. Coke and Mountain Dew, two regular Super Bowl advertisers, are back. AB InBev will be running four ads, one for Bud and Bud Light, and two for Michelob Ultra. One change is that we won’t see a series of funny Bud Light ads with the Dilly Dilly theme. Bud Light will instead focus on its new seltzer product with new creative.

Soda Stream is back this year and will be fun to watch because the brand is now owned by PepsiCo. I suspect we won’t see Soda Stream bashing sodas this time around.


The highlight of this year’s Super Bowl, if you are a fan of advertising, politics, or both, will be ads from Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg. For the first time I can recall, two politicians have purchased national ads. We’ve seen regional ads before from politicians, but not national buys like this. Trump will lead off, with a first half spot. Bloomberg will respond during the half-time. It is an interesting creative challenge for both candidates.


For my analysis of the 2019 Super Bowl Ads, click here.

You can follow all my Super Bowl updates on Twitter: @timothycalkins and on my blog,


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