Super Bowl 2023: Electric cars, avocados and rebranding religion dominate ads

Super Bowl Sunday is advertising’s biggest night

Melissa McCarthy in's 2023 Super Bowl NFL spot. AP
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Cars, avocados and religion are featured in some of the 30-second ads that will try to grab America’s attention this year during one of the most watched television sports event in the world, when commercials between the action are just as important, and for some even more important, than the game itself.

Advertisers pay approximately $7 million for the coveted time slot and they want to make it count.

Dan O'Dowd, a US tech mogul and prominent critic of Tesla's full self-driving software, is taking out a targeted ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday calling on regulators to ban the technology from public roads.

The commercial, which has been kept under wraps until Sunday, highlighted the dangers of full self-driving technology and the need for stricter regulation.

It depicts a Tesla Model 3 on full self driving hitting a child dummy, crossing the median line into oncoming traffic, running a stop light and hitting a baby in a pushchair on the road.

Mr O'Dowd has been a vocal opponent of the technology, arguing that it is not yet ready for widespread use and that it poses a significant threat to public safety.

He posted the Super Bowl ad on Twitter.

He said six months ago he reported that full self driving would run down a child.

“Tesla hasn't even fixed that!,” he wrote.

He urged the National Highway Traffic Administration to turn off full self driving until the carmaker “fixes all safety defects”.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has been a strong advocate of the technology, arguing that it will eventually lead to a future of fully autonomous vehicles that are safer than those driven by humans.

The streaming giant Netflix is teaming up on an ad starring comedian Will Ferrell that promotes Netflix's commitment to putting more electric vehicles in its programming.

Carmakers which are expected to also advertise during Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are General Motors, Kia and Stellantis' Ram and Jeep brands.

Avocados from Mexico (AFM) will run a Super Bowl ad for the eighth time in the last decade.

The commercial features actor and avocado lover Anna Faris celebrating how avocados make everything better.

AFM estimated that 113 million kilograms of avocados are consumed leading up to football’s biggest weekend, enough to cover a football field with more than 22 metres of guacamole.

The Super Bowl will also air two “He Gets Us” ads that are gaining traction and place Jesus Christ and churches in news situations.

The $20 million ads are part of a campaign to “reintroduce people to Jesus and the Bible” at a time when the nation’s Christian population — and religious affiliation of any kind — are in decline.

They reportedly highlight the idea that Jesus was a refugee, immigrant or an activist for women's rights and was unfairly stereotyped in a way akin to other marginalised minority groups in the modern world. The ads all end with the line, “he gets us, all of us”.

“It fits with our target audience really well,” campaign spokesman Jason Vanderground told the Associated Press about the ads.

“We’re trying to get the message across to people who are spiritually open, but sceptical.”

The Super Bowl is the most-viewed television programme annually in the US, often drawing more than 100 million viewers.

Updated: February 13, 2023, 6:25 AM