Columbus, Honda, Nationwide, Victoria’s Secret Company Announcements

Who doesn’t love a good Super Bowl ad?

Companies that are headquartered or have a presence in central Ohio have produced a number of them over the years.

Honda, Nationwide and Scotts Miracle-Gro are among those who have spent millions getting their message across at the most-watched event on TV.

This year, reports USA TODAY, all eyes will be on fledgling industries such as cryptocurrency (the Tom Brady-endorsed FTX) and legalized sports betting (DraftKings). Nissan is back in the big game for the first time since 2015. And transcendent celebrities like Megan Thee Stallion – replacing Frito-Lay – will also be represented.

Although the Columbus area will not be as heavily represented as in the past, it will make a few appearances.

Columbus marketing and branding agency, The Shipyard, will launch an ad it created for the California tourism campaign called Visit California. In the ad, a visitor, powered by the music of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” flies over state attractions including the beaches, Hollywood, Yosemite and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Budweiser, which operates a North Side brewery, will once again feature its Clydesdale horses in a Super Bowl ad.

But many of the highlights of Greater Columbus’ Super Bowl commercials are a thing of the past. For a little local flavor before the big game kicks off, here’s a look at some local-connected ads from past Super Bowls.

Scotts Miracle-Gro

John Travolta and his daughter Ella do a dance video in the Scotts Miracle-Gro commercial that aired during last year's Super Bowl.

After a solid few years in sales and profits for the Marysville-based lawn and garden company, Scotts Miracle-Gro launched its first-ever Super Bowl commercial last year, featuring big names such as John Travolta and Martha Stewart.

The 45-second ad featured all the fun things people do in their backyards, whether it’s gardening, lawn care, barbecuing, working out, relaxing or, in the case of Travolta and his daughter, Ella, making a TikTok dance video.

Along with Travolta and Stewart, the spot had cameos from actors Carl Weathers and Leslie David Baker, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and fitness instructor Emma Lovewell, all enjoying the same backyard.

At national scale

Mindy Kaling starred in Nationwide's Invisible commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.

In 2015, Columbus-based Nationwide Insurance ran an ad that begins with actress and author Mindy Kaling trying to hail a cab. The driver ignores him and stops in front of a man who gets into the car without even looking at Kaling, who remains standing in the street, arms outstretched.

“After years of being treated like she was invisible, Mindy realized that she might actually be invisible,” said narrator, Julia Roberts.

If you can’t remember, it might be because the ad aired during the same Super Bowl as Nationwide’s “Dead Kid” ad, which drew a lot of criticism.

The spot featured a little boy talking about all the things he missed because he died in an accident. The ad showed an overflowing bathtub and other hazards, and noted that accidents are the leading cause of preventable death among children.

Following its broadcast, Nationwide was criticized and its marketing director resigned from his position.

Kaling, who is Native American, was in the other Nationwide ad that year which took on a very different tone. In it, she walks through life as if she were truly invisible. She takes a pastry from someone’s plate, eats a gallon bucket of ice cream at the grocery store, and sunbathes naked in what appears to be Central Park.

It’s not until Kaling sniffs actor Matt Damon — yes, a real sniffle — that the fun ends. Damon, startled, pulls away from Kaling, who realizes she isn’t actually invisible.

“She had always been treated that way,” Roberts says. “Join the nation that makes you… a priority. Nationwide is on your side.”

The ad prompted an op-ed by National Public Radio’s Rhitu Chatterjee in which she explained how she, as an Indian woman who has lived in America, and her minority friends have experienced their fair share of invisibility.


In a clear homage to the John Hughes classic ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, actor Matthew Broderick – who starred in the film – plays the job addict and spends the day driving around in his CR-V in a 2012 Honda commercial.

“Hi, can I get my CR-V up please?” Broderick said into a phone after tricking his agent into thinking he was sick.

While Broderick didn’t exactly reprise his role as Bueller, he does similar things in commercials that Bueller did when the character and his cohort skipped school, like going to a museum, going to a baseball game and take part in a parade.

Honda has a sprawling auto plant in Marysville, about 35 miles from Columbus.

Victoria’s Secret

Limited Brands provided this screenshot of a Victoria's Secret ad that aired during Super Bowl XLII on Sunday, February 3, 2008.

The Reynoldsburg-based lingerie and beauty retailer has run at least three Super Bowl ads, the most recent in 2015. In this one, Victoria’s Secret “Angel” models Adriana Lima, Doutzen Kroes, Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge and Behati Prinsloo dress up and play a game of football with no escape.

The ad ends with the message, “Don’t drop the ball. It’s not Valentine’s Day without Victoria’s Secret.”

Lima also starred in a 30-second spot from 2008 in which she twirls a soccer ball before dropping it to the ground. “Victoria’s Secret would like to remind you. This game will be over soon. Let the real games begin,” the captions read.

The retailer’s first ad in 1999 was one of the first to show the power of a TV-web connection, USA TODAY reported in 2015. It drew more than a million people (a large number in era) on the fashion show’s website – and crashed it.

Gabe Lacques and Jim Weiker of USA TODAY with The Dispatch contributed to this report.

Monroe Trombly covers the latest news and trends.

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