super bowl, devour foods
The hilarious frozen food porn ad Melusi Mhlungu wrote for Devour amassed over 8 million YouTube views in 5 days. (Devour Foods/YouTube)
  • One of America's biggest sporting events, the Super Bowl, takes place this Sunday.
  • Super Bowl advertising is big business, with one prominent TV network selling a 30-second slot for a staggering $5 million (about R68 million).
  • This year, a funny 'food porn' commercial written by a young South African is among the heavy contenders.

The Super Bowl final is one of the biggest on the American sporting calendar -  over 100 million viewers tuned in last year.

The legendary halftime show is both a huge honour and stamp of having 'made it' for artists. Whitney Houston (1991), Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's 'very' memorable wardrobe malfunction (2001), Beyoncé (2013) and Katy Perry (2018) have all graced the Superbowl stage. Lady Gaga flew from the sky multiple times in 2017.

Chris Martin and Beyonce at the Superbowl Halftime Show. (Photo: Greatstock/Splash)

Another annual Super Bowl razzle-dazzle is the war for the best TV commercials that air during the event.

Advertising slots for the Super Bowl are big money.  One TV network charges close to R68.3 million ($5 million) for just 30-seconds. For that insane amount of money companies go on a hunt for the brightest and most creative minds to put together ads.

Among this year's ad is a viral commercial written by South African Melusi Mhlungu. He joined the Miami-based David agency in 2017, and tells Business Insider SA that writing Kraft-Heinz's Super Bowl commercial for their Devour frozen food range was "a dream brief." 

Mhlungu worked with art director Sofie Russe at the agency, under the guidance of a creative leadership who played a huge role in his move to the States. "I was a fan of David's work, so from the outside looking in, I was inspired by them before I even started working there," he says.

"At first I never thought it was possible (because of self-doubt), but when it was actually close to becoming a reality I got nervous."

The ad features a woman who's frustrated with her male partner's obsession with Devour's frozen food instant-meals, which she deems 'food porn.' She tries to spice things up with a fancy candle-lit home-cooked dinner, but he remains addicted to the 3-minute frozen microwave meals. Click here to view the ad

Mhlungu tells Business Insider SA that "it [the ad] was one of those solutions  that was so simple and obvious that we could not ignore it. We kept circling back and coming to it, thinking 'there is no way the client would approve it'. But we were wrong, we are so fortunate to have such a great client and brand." 

The ad has proved a viral hit, with more than 8.6 million views and counting on YouTube. One YouTube user, Gaf Rudal commented "I'd prefer this type of advertising," with 800 others agreeing, and another, ANDUY15 said "this is how you do an ad". 

According to the entertainment platform Thrillist, the ad may be the "dirtiest" Superbowl commercial this year.

The Devour frozen foods advert will air alongside other Super Bowl commercials from Procter & Gamble's beauty brand Olay, Burger King (also by Mhlungu's ad agency), dating app Bumble, Dorito's, Audi, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Mercedes-Benz.

Joburg-born Mhlungu became interested in advertising while he still in primary school, according to the advertising industry site MarkLives. His aunt worked at the agency Leo Burnett, and he started pitching his ideas to her. After studying at the Vega School, he worked for FCB on ads for Old Mutual, KFC, Coke, Toyota and Vodacom. He won the Adams & Adams Young Creatives Award at the Loeries in 2015.

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