Jerod Mayo Spreads Pete Davidson Thin in Hellmann’s Super Bowl Commercial

Courtesy of Unilever

As Americans chow down on buffalo wings, beer, quesadillas, and chips, during the Super Bowl Unilever thinks it’s found a flavor that will help them swallow a serious message.

The company is sending its venerable Hellmann’s  mayonnaise back into the Super Bowl ad fray in a second effort to use the Big Game to get people at home to cut back on wasting food. In the ad, linebacker Jerod Mayo tackles people getting ready to toss out old food, telling them instead they can use Hellman’s to turn potatoes into potato salad. “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson (and his mother) turns up at the end to drive the lesson home.

“There is a bigger ambition here, a bigger mission, says Benjamin Crook, senior marketing director for Hellmann’s North America, in an interview. The company’s research shows that approximately 40% of all food in the U.S. is wasted each year and approximately 40% of that food waste happens at home. “We’d love to stand out and be noticed,” says Crook. “But the important thing for us is can we make a difference, can we change behavior?”

Many consumer-products giants like Unilever are trying to answer that question. Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive are among the manufacturers with close ties to American households that are trying to prod U.S. consumers to think more seriously about issues around sustainability. Last year, for example, Procter kicked off a long-term campaign for its Tide detergent that used Ice-T and Stone Cold Steve Austin along with other celebrities to prod customers to consider washing their clothes in cold water with a new Tide line extension, saving energy.

Just as Hellmann’s adds flavor to everything from eggs to sandwiches, Unilever has structured its Super Bowl commercial with other elements around its ambitious goal. Last year, comedian Amy Schumer appeared in a Super Bowl ad with a similar goal. This year, viewers at home will see Mayo – the football player, not the condiment – tackle people who are about to waste leftovers.

“This is not an easy thing for us to move as a behavior with consumers at home,” says Crook, but the humor of the commercial should boost the effort.  The spot, crafted by WPP’s Wunderman Thompson agency, is expected to air in the fourth quarter during NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, February 13.