By Mark Bradbury, Senior Director, Insights and Integrated Marketing, AARP Media Solutions
NBC’s Super Bowl broadcast was a striking testament to the cultural and economic relevance of older Americans. While it was billed as Super Bowl 56, it may as well have been called Super Bowl 50+.
For nearly four hours, audiences were treated to a steady parade of people age 50+ on their screens, leaving no doubt that the network and its advertisers had older consumers firmly within their sights.
It kicked off with Halle Berry (age 55) welcoming the audience. It continued with Al Michaels (77) and Cris Collinsworth (63) announcing the game, Michele Tafoya (57) reporting from the sidelines, Billie Jean King (78) participating in the coin toss, Ron Torbert (58) refereeing, and halftime performances from veteran musical giants (Dr. Dre, 56; Mary J. Blige, 51; Snoop Dogg, 50).
Eminem also performed and Dwayne Johnson introduced the teams before kickoff – both of whom will hit the big 5-0 later this year. The camera panned the crowd as Michaels noted 50+ celeb spectators, including Matt Damon (51), Jay-Z (52), Jennifer Lopez (52), and Emmitt Smith (52).
NBC also took the opportunity to hype shows targeted squarely to older Americans, including the relaunch of Law & Order, which stars Sam Waterston (81), Camryn Manheim (60) and Anthony Anderson (51).
And, then there were the advertisers, who, as a group, honored older consumers in the most welcomed and refreshing manner. Absent were insulting ageist characterizations, as brands, instead, opted to seamlessly work into their commercials a plethora of older stars in highly entertaining fashion.
Among the brands spending millions to appeal to older consumers featuring well-established stars were: Expedia (Ewan McGregor, 50), Hologic (Mary J. Blige), Planters Mixed Nuts (Ken Jeong, 52), Caesars Sportsbook (Halle Berry, J.B. Smoove, 56), Hyundai USA (Jason Bateman, 53), Toyota® (Leslie Jones, 54, Tommy Lee Jones, 75), Uber Eats (Jennifer Coolidge, 60), Verizon (Jim Carrey, 60), T-Mobile® (Dolly Parton, 76), DraftKings® (Joe Namath, 78), Turkish Airlines® (Morgan Freeman, 84), and Skechers® (Willie Nelson, 88).
It’s also worth noting that several advertisers backed their spots with music from 50+ artists, including Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr (62), Lionel Richie (72), Billy Ocean (72), Barbra Streisand (79), and Tom Jones (81).
The breadth of products and services represented by these ads reflects the growing and versatile influence of 50+ consumers. Even cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, got in on the action with a hilarious spot starring Larry David (74). There were other brands who joined this 50+ Super Bowl party – too many to mention here.
One can’t help but walk away from the day’s festivities with the sense that the Rams weren’t the only winners. When big bucks were on the line, mainstream advertisers made it clear that older consumers mattered. For 50+ Americans, it truly was a Super Sunday.