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Volume 26 No. 43
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Pizza Hut Ramps Up Football-Themed Activations, Ads Around SB

Photo: PIZZA HUT

NFL official pizza sponsor Pizza Hut is "temporarily calling itself" Pizza Hut Hut on its website ahead of Super Bowl LIII, and a store location in Atlanta will be "rebranded temporarily -- new signage and all," according to Zlati Meyer of USA TODAY. In what Pizza Hut has dubbed "Hutlanta," fans will "get to watch two new Super Bowl TV ads featuring a modern-day Abraham Lincoln." The promotion is "hyping Pizza $5 Lineup value menu." In one spot, the "impersonator with a Midwestern-twanged stentorian voice is attending a football viewing party." In the other, he is "playing video games with his son, who informs him, 'You're dead'" (USATODAY.com, 1/22).

NO STARS IN SIGHT: AD AGE's E.J. Schultz noted Kia, which has a "history of putting celebrities in its Super Bowl ads, is going without a star this year." The Korean automaker will "use its ad to launch 'The Great Unknowns Scholarship,' which it says will 'help young people in need get a foothold in higher education.'" The scholarship program was "teased with an ad that ran during Sunday's NFC Championship game." The Super Bowl campaign is by Kia U.S. agency-of-record David&Goliath, El Segundo. Using a "pricey Super Bowl ad to plug a charity is not new." Last year, Hyundai "ran an ad promoting nonprofit group, Hyundai Hope on Wheels" (ADAGE.com, 1/20).

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: USA TODAY's Erik Brady in a front-page piece notes CBS "rejected a Super Bowl ad that states a case for medical marijuana." N.Y.-based Acreage Holdings "produced a 60-second ad that shows three people with varying ailments who say their lives were made better by use of medical marijuana." CBS "does not currently accept cannabis-related advertising." Acreage Holdings President George Allen said that the company had "not decided whether to run its 60-second ad or a 30-second version when it learned that CBS would not accept any ads for medical marijuana" (USA TODAY, 1/22). VARIETY's Brian Steinberg notes the move is "one of the latest in a series of promotional stunts various entrepreneurs have tried to enact around the Super Bowl each year." CBC, NBCUniversal, Fox and Viacom are "among the media companies that do not accept national ads for marijuana products" (VARIETY.com, 1/22).