Super Bowl viewers may notice something missing during the commercial breaks this year: famous icons.
At least three familiar advertising icons from past Super Bowls — the E-Trade baby, the GoDaddy Girls and Subway’s Jared — will not show up this go-round. E-Trade announced Thursday that it’s out of the game and Subway also said weeks ago that it’s focusing on the Winter Olympics, instead. GoDaddy is back in, but it’s ads will go a totally different direction and nix the sexy gals.
“We may notice the changing of an era in Super Bowl advertising at some point, but this probably isn’t it,” says Robert Thompson, pop culture professor at Syracuse University. “They all will be replaced by a long, long line of people willing to get into the one tent that includes 110 million viewers.”
While some viewers may take note of the absence of the E-Trade baby, the GoDaddy Girls and even Jared, while watching the Feb. 2 game broadcast on Fox, they won’t necessarily be clamoring for their return, says Thompson. “They’re not the Clydesdales,” says Thompson, in reference to the high-stepping Budweiser horses that have showed in Super Bowl ads for years.
Even then, says Thompson, E-Trade should think very hard before it throws its baby out with the bathwater. The brand’s smarty-allecky, chubby-cheeked baby, has been its Super Bowl ticket to fame since 2007. “That baby is really, really associated with E-Trade,” says Thompson. “I can’t imagine them abandoning that entirely.”
E-Trade — which recently changed ad agencies — is mostly mum about the baby’s future. “Stay tuned,” was the e-mailed response from Rich Muhlstock, senior vice president of branding and acquisition at E-Trade.
The E-Trade baby has not appeared in E-Trade commercials for months.
In any case, Muhlstock says, E-Trade wants to focus less on TV. “We will leverage other media, especially digital, social and mobile channels,” he says, in a statement.
GoDaddy, meanwhile, is putting its hot babes on ice. “The women you’ll see in our Super Bowl commercials this year will be super smart, successful small business owners,” says Barb Rechterman, chief marketing officer at GoDaddy, which is returning to the Super Bowl for the 10th consecutive year.
The company has so far declined to say how it will replace the GoDaddy Girls, but Rechterman notes both ads will focus on humor. Also, long-time spokeswoman Danica Patrick will appear in one of the spots — but not in her sexy, GoDaddy leathers.
Nor will Subway’s svelte Jared Fogle be back in Super Bowl.
Last year, for his 15th anniversary with the brand, Jared showed up in two Subway Super Bowl spots. In the ads, he was congratulated by Subway athletes for keeping the weight off.
But in 2014, Subway wants to focus more on the Olympics than the Super Bowl, says Tony Pace, Subway’s chief marketing officer. “We like being around the Olympics,” he says. “Shared family appointment viewing doesn’t happen much.”
Meanwhile, Unilever’s AXE men’s grooming line, announced Thursday that it will return to the Super Bowl.