Why one agency is drawing inspiration from Jesus and avocados for Super Bowl marketing
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February 3, 2023 • 5 min read | By Denny Alfonso
This article is also available in Spanish. Please use the toggle above the headline to switch languages. Visit digiday.com/es to read more content in Spanish.
For any ad agency, it’s a big win to produce a Super Bowl commercial. (This year’s 30-second spots cost $7 million each.) For the team at Lerma, a multicultural agency in Dallas, being chosen to produce three Super Bowl spots is a privilege, especially because it’s the first time the shop has created ads for the big game.
The agency is producing a 30-second commercial for Avocados from Mexico, and 30- and 60-second spots for He Gets Us, a Christian nonprofit organization. Both campaigns are national ad buys.
According to Variety’s prediction, Super Bowl LVII will verge on 100 million viewers in the United States, a figure not recorded since 2018. It’s one of the reasons He Gets Us has chosen the event for its multi-million-dollar ad campaign, which is supported by several anonymous donors.
For its part, Avocados from Mexico unveiled the teaser of what viewers will see during the big game. And the ad starring actress and comedy star Anna Faris aims to surprise audiences in a way never seen before, the agency says.
Digiday spoke with Pedro Lerma, founder and CEO of Lerma, who talked about the relevance of a multicultural approach that can fit with any campaign, the growing influence of Hispanic culture and why it is imperative that brands work with agencies that bring experience to the table.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
This is the first time Lerma has produced TV spots for the Super Bowl. What has the experience been like?
The stakes are as high as they get. Seven million dollars for 30 seconds. But honestly, we treat every client assignment with this level of care. The experience has been exciting, as you might imagine, particularly considering we have been an independent agency for less than two years.
Some agencies have overcome challenges by producing a single ad for the Big Game. How did the planning and execution go when producing three for the same year?
Fortunately, we were well-prepared for this moment. We’ve grown by more than 100% over the last 18 months. We’ve brought on amazing talent. We have had two distinct creative groups working on the Avocados From Mexico and He Gets Us spots. The leads on these assignments have previous Super Bowl experience, so we knew we had the firepower. That experience allowed us to focus on breakthrough creativity and to not be overwhelmed by the logistics.
We understand that one of the objectives of Avocados from Mexico is to reach the tables of millions of consumers who watch the Super Bowl. Would you share with us something that viewers should expect to see in that TV spot?
For Avocados From Mexico, Super Bowl Sunday is the single biggest avocado consumption day of the year. In fact, 105 million pounds of avocados are consumed on that one day. So, every year, we try to engage the audience with something fun. This year, it’s 30 seconds of naked people, including Hollywood star Anna Faris. I don’t want to share too much, but hopefully that is enough to get people to look forward to watching our spot.
Talking about multicultural products, such as avocados, how did the understanding of the mix between Latino and American culture play a key role in this marketing strategy?
Avocados From Mexico understands and values the fact that Hispanic influence on culture is at an all-time high. Everything from music to film to cuisine is becoming more and more Hispanic. We believe Avocados From Mexico are part of driving that cultural appreciation and, as an agency built on a foundation of multiculturalism, it is work we are proud to do.
What was the main message conveyed when Lerma gave the final cut to the He Gets Us spots? How is promoting religion during a Super Bowl a different task for an agency?
What we hope viewers take away from our He Gets Us work in the Super Bowl is that Jesus was a pretty incredible model for how to deal with conflict and divisiveness, the kind of model we could all use right now. He didn’t shy away from conflict, but he also didn’t approach it with dehumanizing aggression either. He chose a third, better way. He was vocal about what he believed. He spoke truth to power, defended the poor and the marginalized, and represented his identity to others consistently. But he also blew people’s minds with how loving and generous he was in the process.
And how is this different from any other product in the Super Bowl? On the one hand, it might be one of the most difficult Super Bowl assignments there is. It’s no secret that a growing number of people in America are skeptical of religion, Christianity and Christians. On the other hand, our approach is to just tell the truth about Jesus’ life, show how it’s relevant to life today and let people decide for themselves if they want to learn more or not.
How have you seen the evolution of brands choosing Hispanic agencies to include the Latino demographic, especially in big events like a Super Bowl?
We see ourselves as an agency for the changing face of America, recognizing that the time for a new agency blueprint is now. As the rising multicultural population (particularly Hispanic) causes brands to reimagine terms like “general market,” it is imperative that brands work with agencies who not only have multicultural expertise but can translate that expertise into creative work that resonates across cultures. We expect to see more of that during this year’s Super Bowl, and we believe this is just the beginning.