The Latest: Less-known brands take swings at Super Bowl ads

Most brands that have money to spend on Super Bowl ads are already household names, but the big game is also a chance for upstarts to make a big splash

TAMPA — The latest news on Super Bowl commercials. (All times EST.)

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8:00 p.m.

Most brands that have money to spend on Super Bowl ads are already household names, but the big game is also a chance for upstarts to make a big splash.

That’s what the CEO of Swedish oat-milk manufacturer Oatly attempted in an ad starring himself. “Wow, wow, no cow,” sang CEO Toni Petersson, as he played a keyboard in a field of grain.

The bizarre song and non-professional singing got a mix of plaudits and brickbats on social media, which seemed to be the point. Moments after it aired, the company started promoting a T-shirt with the words: “I totally hated that Oatly commercial.”

“If you just watched our CEO sing in an oat field on the big game, we can’t give you back those 30 seconds but we can give you a free t-shirt that lets the world know where you stand on our attempt to promote Toni’s singing skills to a wider audience,” the company said in a tweet.

Another lesser-known brand, Dr. Squatch, also promoted itself with a bizarre ad, but hired comedian James Schrader to pitch the California soap-maker focused on men’s hygiene and natural ingredients. ———

7:15 p.m.

General Motors used humor in a Super Bowl ad to promote its ambitious push to get more Americans to buy electric vehicles.

GM has set a goal of making the vast majority of the vehicles it produces electric by 2035, and the entire company carbon neutral five years after that.

When actor Will Ferrell finds out Norway has more electric vehicles per capita than the U.S., he goes on a madcap journey spanning countries with singer and actress Awkwafina and comedian Kenan Thompson to show that GM’s new battery for electric cars will soon be available for everyone.

GM’s Cadillac brand also has an ad set to air later in the game that is inspired by the 1990 classic film “Edward Scissorhands” hawking a hands-free feature for its electric SUV, the Lyriq.

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7:00 p.m.

Super Bowl ad DoorDash went hard on nostalgia, enlisting Sesame Street’s Muppets to convey the message that DoorDash can deliver goods from local stores, not just restaurants. “Hamilton” actor Daveed Diggs gives the ad some pizazz, with a peppy version of the children’s song “People in Your Neighborhood,” that morphs into a rap.

DoorDash is one of more than 20 first-time Super Bowl advertisers this year, and takes the plunge after benefiting from a shift toward home delivery while people hunkered down at home during the pandemic. DoorDash’s first-quarter ad enlisted the help of characters including Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Grover to try to convey the message that DoorDash can be used to pick up local store items like paper towels.

The ad is directed by “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” director Michel Gondry.

“Over the past year we’ve expanded our business into new categories,” said DoorDash’s vice president of marketing, Kofi Amoo-Gottfried. “It made sense to use the Super Bowl as a moment to start communicating this message given the scale of the audience we have the ability to speak to.”

It’s not the first time Diggs has worked with Muppets — he appeared in Sesame Street sketches in 2017.