Is Mr. Peanut really dead? NFL tackles police violence; and Expedia feels Harry and Meghan’s pain

Doritos cowboys up with Sam Elliott

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” was one of THE music sensations of 2019, with the official video garnering more 400 million views on the rapper’s official YouTube channel and inspiring countless spoofs.

But if you thought it needed more gravitas (and a whole lot more gravel), Doritos has got you covered. The brand has released a teaser spot for its Super Bowl ad starring Sam Elliott—perhaps the very embodiment of a movie cowboy, and someone you can easily imagine travelling the titular road.

Entitled “The Monologue,” the :60 ad from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has Elliott reciting the song’s lyrics in an old western saloon, while patrons look on with a combination of fear and confusion.

When a throbbing bass-line starts glasses jumping, Elliott goes to investigate. The spot ends with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos sliding across the bar, and the Super Bowl date appearing on screen.

ANA, 4As urge Google to reconsider third party cookie decision

The Association of National Advertisers and the 4As are urging Google to reconsider its decision to drop support for third party cookies in its Chrome browser, saying it could “substantially disrupt” much of the infrastructure of today’s internet without providing a viable alternative.

The Jan. 17 letter said that Google’s decision could “choke off the economic oxygen from advertising” that startups and emerging companies need to survive.

“We are deeply disappointed that Google would unilaterally declare such a major change without prior careful consultation across the digital and advertising industries,” said the letter. “We intend to work with stakeholders and policymakers to ensure that there are effective and competitive alternatives available prior to Google’s planned change fully taking effect. We will also collaborate with Google in this effort, so we can all ensure the digital advertising marketplace continues to be competitive and efficient.”

Google controls an estimated 66% of the global browser market, and its decision to abandon third party cookies—which track customers as they move across the internet—is being reported as a major blow for some ad tech companies (a “cookie-pocalypse” is one description).

NFL tackles police violence against black men in new ads

Four years after Colin Kaepernick first began taking a knee to protest racial injustice—an action that resulted in the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback being essentially blacklisted by the National Football League—the league is playing up its social justice advertising efforts.

During Sunday’s conference championship games, the league ran a PSA created by 72andSunny that is part of its “Inspire Change” social program—first introduced last year with an eye towards creating positive change in communities through a three-pronged approach: education and economic advancement, police and community relations and criminal justice reform.

The :60 ad features former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin recounting the story of his cousin Corey Jones, who was shot and killed by a plain-clothes police officer after his car broke down. The ad, which will also run during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, features a dramatic re-enactment of the shooting.

NFL critics, however, contend that the ad is just some PR spin from a league trying to fix its image following its handling of the Kaepernick controversy.

Amazon reportedly working on palm payments

Amazon’s quest to expand into all corners of the retail economy (and gather more consumer data) includes new payment systems that use a shopper’s hand, rather than a card, to complete transactions.

According to a weekend story in the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is developing payment terminals that could be installed at brick-and-mortar retail locations. “If the Amazon terminals succeed, they could leapfrog mobile wallets such as Apple Pay while expanding Amazon’s already-extensive access to consumer data,” wrote AnnaMaria Andriotis, the WJS’s credit card reporter. Amazon declined to comment for the story.

Amazon is still working on the design of the terminals, but has filed a patent application for a “non contact biometric identification system” that includes a “hand scanner that generates images of a user’s palm.”

Expedia shows how context is everything

Expedia and Saatchi & Saatchi London generated a lot of buzz in the U.K. in the last week for some cleverly placed print ads.

Running alongside stories about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s plans to distance themselves from their royal duties and move to Canada, the ads simply showed a beauty shot of a picturesque mountain lake with “Canada” in the Expedia search window and the words “Escape the family” underneath.

Mr. Peanut gets roasted in Super Bowl teaser

Planter’s Peanuts has apparently killed off its beloved mascot, Mr. Peanut, after 104 years. The top-hatted and monocled legume died a heroic death however, sacrificing his life so that Wesley Snipes and that other-actor-you-recognize-from-Veep-but-can-never-quite-remember-his-name (Matt Walsh) could live.

Mr. Peanut’s official Twitter handle, The Estate of Mr. Peanut, confirmed the mascot’s death following a NUTmobile crash with a solemn tweet on Wednesday, inviting people to pay their respects using the hashtag #RIPeanut.

It’s all part of a Super Bowl campaign for the brand, which kicked off with a teaser ad from VaynerMedia showing Mr. Peanut’s heroic death. The teaser will run during the Super Bowl’s pre-game show, with the brand’s official Super Bowl spot airing during the third quarter. The tactic seems to have worked, as Mr. Peanut was trending in Canada on Wednesday, with more than 9,000 tweets about his death.

Chris Powell