T-Mobile Made Its Biggest Super Bowl Push This Year With 4 In-Game Spots

That's three full minutes of ads

One of T-Mobile's 30-second spots starred Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart.
Headshot of Katie Richards

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, T-Mobile launched a 60-second spot starring Justin Bieber and hinted at bigger plans for the game. All told, the brand ran four different ads, a total of three minutes of airtime.

As the brand’s svp of advertising Peter DeLuca said, “The brand is in a position where when we dive in, we really want to go big.”

The strategy to run more than one ad during the game isn’t new for T-Mobile, but DeLuca noted that Super Bowl LI is definitely the brand’s biggest presence to date. “We are getting to the Budweiser levels of the game this year,” DeLuca said.

The three other spots all featured celebrities, a move T-Mobile has relied on for past Super Bowl ads including last year’s, “Unrestricted Bling,” starring Drake.

“Typically, the way that we like to do it is we look out for what’s going on across America, what’s happening in real time across culture, and find things that fit,” DeLuca said.

And this year, the brand did just that, especially with its second ad, which starred two of America’s unlikeliest of heroes, Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart. (For those who aren’t aware, the duo hosts an incredible TV series, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, on VH1.)

In the ad, “Bag of Unlimited,” the dynamic duo have a very serious conversation about how great T-Mobile is without hidden taxes or fees.

The pot jokes are pretty next level. Can o’ bisque, anyone? Don’t ask why the joyous blending of Stewart and Snoop works so well—it just does, and T-Mobile’s decision to feature them in one of its Super Bowl ads was pure marketing genius.

The final two ads star Kristen Schaal, and both tap into a semiuncomfortable 50 Shades of Grey theme. In the 30-second version of the ad, which rolled out earlier today, Schaal finds herself in a strange situation after going over her data limit.

She loves the pain she faces from her tricky contract with Verizon, but for those who don’t, the ad suggests switching to T-Mobile.

The brand also aired a 60-second version of the Schaal spot in the fourth quarter, playing on the same 50 Shades of Grey theme.

Originally, T-Mobile planned to only run three ads during the game, but while filming some additional footage with Schaal, originally intended for social channels, the brand thought the content was too good not to run during the game.

“We sat back and said, ‘My god, it’s just so great that it deserves to be more than just something leveraged in digital channels,” DeLuca added.

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.