Hellmann’s Super Bowl debut enlists Amy Schumer to address food waste

Dive Brief:

  • Hellmann’s will make its first Super Bowl appearance with a commercial providing tips on how to avoid wasting food at home. The Unilever mayonnaise brand plans to air a 30-second spot starring comedian Amy Schumer, who urges people to “make taste, not waste,” during the third commercial break in the second quarter of the game, per an announcement.
  • The campaign is one element in Hellman’s efforts to support the UN’s sustainable development goal of cutting food waste by 50% by 2030. Hellmann’s said it is also partnering with Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic to push for clearer food labeling standards. Consumers waste an estimated $29 billion a year because of confusion over the meaning of date labels, according to a 2019 report cited by Unilever. Hellmman’s also pledged $100,000 to help the nonprofit ReFED in its efforts.
  • Hellman’s Super Bowl push seeks to maintain momentum after seeing higher sales as consumers loaded their pantries and spent more time cooking at home. The message about avoiding food waste is consistent with Unilever’s sustainability goals and themes of other Super Bowl ads that this year will highlight social or environmental causes.

Dive Insight:

Hellmann’s is the latest among a growing group of newcomers to the Super Bowl that not only have seen higher sales growth during the pandemic, but also want to showcase a commitment to social responsibility. 

Parent company Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers with brands including Dove soap and Lipton tea, is banking on the Super Bowl’s large audience and the popularity of Schumer to support Hellman’s recent sales momentum resulting from how the pandemic has driven changes in shopping habits. Hellmann’s sales have been particularly strong as people prepare more home-cooked meals instead of going out to eat. The mayonnaise brand’s sales grew by a “mid-teens” percentage in its September quarter from a year earlier, helping to drive a 12% gain for Unilever’s in-home food category. This is a change from a few years ago when there were multiple reports that mayonnaise sales were plummeting as some millennials shunned the condiment

A 15-second teaser ad titled “Amy Schumer’s Magical Mayo Transformation” shows the comedian stepping into a refrigerator filled with jars of Hellman’s, followed by a shot of her shadow spreading angel’s wings. Hellmann’s will release another teaser on Feb. 1, six days before the Super Bowl airs on CBS. Peter Farrelly, whose movies include “Green Book” and “There’s Something About Mary,” directed the spots. Schumer and husband Chris Fischer, a professional chef, last year starred in a quarantine cooking show “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” on Food Network.

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Hellmann’s commercial emphasizes a message of avoiding food waste, a theme seen in its other recent campaigns as Unilever seeks to fulfill its longer-term sustainability goals. Forty percent of all food in the U.S. goes to waste, and 43% of that happens in households, according to a 2016 study cited in the release that was done by ReFED, a national nonprofit that works to reduce U.S. food waste. 

This year’s Super Bowl newcomers are emphasizing themes of sustainability and supporting local businesses. DoorDash, whose first commercial is part of a larger campaign to showcase its other services beside food delivery. The 60-second spot reimagines the “People in Your Neighborhood” song from educational show “Sesame Street” to highlight all the things that DoorDash delivers from local stores.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, the fast-casual chain whose digital business tripled last year, will run an ad highlighting its sustainability efforts and support for independent farmers. Freelancer marketplace Fiverr, which boosted its spending on advertising and marketing by 42% last year as people sought gig work to replace lost jobs, will run an ad that extends its message of helping small businesses. Scotts Miracle-Gro, which has seen higher sales as consumers devote more time to lawn and garden care, will jumpstart a spring campaign with its ad.

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