Super Bowl Ads: Watch The Biggest Spots Before The Big Game
This year’s Super Bowl will be — let us all hope — a one-of-a-kind experience. And that also goes for the ads.
The title game will cap an NFL season that wasn’t fully disrupted by the pandemic, but one whose sense of spectacle undoubtedly shrank. Sunday night’s broadcast on CBS delivers an intriguing matchup for fans, with Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs, who won last year’s Super Bowl.
Many viewers, of course, will mostly tune into Super Bowl LV mostly for the ads. That’s usually true for a large number of the broadcast’s 100 million-plus annual viewers. Despite some glum initial forecasts about Madison Avenue’s stance on the game, viewers this year will see ample razzle-dazzle. There is also an array of A-list talent, with many stars made more available than usual in 2020 when film and TV shoots were interrupted by the Covid-19 surge.
A high degree of uncertainty faces marketers, with large viewing parties out the window and a host of viewer sensitivities coming off a nerve-shredding year. Mainstays such as Budweiser and Coca-Cola have headed to the sidelines and, as Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro has noted, movie studios are also taking a step back — a logical pause given ongoing theater closures.
Nevertheless, inventory is virtually sold out at $5.5 million per 30 seconds, and many spots circulating online — a pre-game custom as advertisers seek extra bang for the buck — show customary sparkle. The roster of stars set to appear includes Michael B. Jordan, Will Ferrell, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, John Travolta, Matthew McConaughey, Martha Stewart, Serena Williams, Cedric the Entertainer, Don Cheadle and Dolly Parton, to name just a few. David Fincher and Peter Berg are among the notable directors who got behind the camera.
What follows is a running list of ads that will air during the telecast – be sure to check back before game time for updates.
Matthew McConaughey / Doritos
The pandemic gets a gentle nod in this imagining of the star moping through life as a not-alright, two-dimensional figure. Why is he 2-D? Because he hasn’t yet tasted Doritos 3D, silly! Jimmy Kimmel, guesting as his late-night self, delivers the best line, asking the paper-thin star on air if he drove to the studio, “or did you get here by fax?”
Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson, Awkwafina / General Motors
After stunning the business world with its announcement that it would make no more combustion engines by 2025, General Motors follows up with this loopy trip emphasizing its commitment to electric vehicles. Ferrell, in faux-rage and beard, ridicules Norway’s lead over the U.S. in EV sales per capita and then recruits Thompson and Awkwafina for a trip to Scandinavia and settle the score.
John and Emma Travolta, Martha Stewart, Leslie David Baker / Miracle-Gro
The location of this spot doesn’t recall tropical Corona beaches. Instead, it’s the corona setting where many Americans have spent the past year: their back yard. In the breezy contest promo, John Travolta gets schooled by daughter Emma, Stewart brags on her green thumb, and The Office‘s Baker mans the grill.
Serena Williams, Anthony Davis, Peyton Manning, Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Butler, Alex Morgan / Michelob Ultra
Athletes, we’re reminded in this earnest and abundantly toothsome piece, often win because they’re happy, not the other way around. And, in the fine tradition of the Super Bowl, they apparently feel happy with a light beer at their side.
Don Cheadle / Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer
If you didn’t buy the idea of athletes drinking Michelob Ultra, then an easier sell might be that celebrity impersonators enjoy kicking back with Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer. Cheadle is the only, er, organic star in this spot, joined by faux Serena Williams, phony Sylvester Stallone and several ersatz others.
Dolly Parton / SquareSpace
The country legend turns her day-shift classic on its head in a tribute to SquareSpace and the role the digital services company can play in side hustles:
David Fincher (director) / Anheuser-Busch
Much has been made of Budweiser skipping the game for the first time since 1983, but Anheuser-Busch still has four minutes of total commercial time during the game. In a first, the company is billing its entire portfolio of beer brands in this Fincher-directed spot, titled “Let’s Grab a Beer.” No masks or social distancing here — the point is the universal value of bonding over beers, now and forever (or whenever “forever” is allowed to resume).
Cedric the Entertainer, Post Malone / Bud Light
A gallery of past pitchmen for the brand travel through a time-warp portal to respond to an emergency and keep the supply chain moving:
Wayne’s World / UberEats
Carvey and Myers reunite in a callback to the original films’ pokes at product placement, complete with a cameo by Cardi B. At least this time a cause is involved: UberEats is launching a $20 million “eat local” relief effort, with $4.5 million in micro grants to local restaurants in major U.S. cities.
Michael B. Jordan / Amazon
Jordan’s cred as a swoon-worthy lead in films like Creed, Black Panther and Just Mercy gets a wry nod in Amazon spot “Alexa’s body.” Instead of a table-top device, one Alexa user imagines the voice-recognition system taking human form as Jordan. The actor is shown teaching her phrases in French, joining her in a candlelit bath and patiently standing still while she asks Alexa to aim lawn sprinklers at his chiseled torso.
Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Archie Manning, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Jerome Bettis, Deion Sanders and Marshawn Lynch / Frito-Lay
Created by Frito-Lay’s creative agency and directed by Peter Berg, the spot crams 10 football greats into a riff on “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” narrated by Lynch, aka “Beast Mode.” (Thankfully, no one tries to crack wise about the immortal Super Bowl when Lynch was denied a chance to win the game as Seattle inexplicably tried to pass into the end zone from the 1-yard line against the New England Patriots and got intercepted.)
Lenny Kravitz / Stella Artois
The rock singer sincerely shouts out “heartbeat billionaires,” meaning all of us with that number of ticks left in our tickers. But who’s counting? (Don’t answer that.)
Jason Alexander / Tide
The Seinfeld star gets the ultimate sign of teen-age respect — his face on a hoodie — only to see said garment put through a gauntlet of stains and spills that apparently only Tide can fix.
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