The competitive, high-stakes Super Bowl ad landscape is looking a bit different this year as big names like Budweiser, Pepsi (the halftime show sponsor) and Coke sit out their usual commercial buys as they rethink how to best promote their brands during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Still, there’s no shortage of creative and entertaining ads to watch as the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on reigning champs Kansas City Chiefs on on.
Here are some of the best, funniest and most uplifting ads from the big game that have been released early. We’ll keep updating this post as new ads come out.
Anheuser-Busch may have chosen to skip its usual Budweiser brand presence among Super Bowl commercials this year, but it’s debuting its first ever company ad for the big game. David Fincher, director of Gone Girl and Fight Club, produced the cinematic video, which shows everyday people enjoying beers together in a poignant reminder of pre-pandemic life.
Shopping app Klarna is looking to get a boost with a Western-themed ad starring four miniature Maya Rudolphs. The Saturday Night Live star gets to show off her singing chops.
Some Super Bowl viewers will get to see Clydesdale horses after all. Beer maker Sam Adams took a dig at Budweiser with a commercial showing the horses set loose and wreaking havoc on city streets. The ad will only air regionally in New York and Boston.
Jobs site Indeed unveiled its very first Super Bowl ad, which draws on the emotional side of hunting for a job. The star of the show is a soaring new recording of Andra Day’s anthemic song Rise Up covered by singer and TikTok star Christian Shelton.
Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer
A host of celebrity doppelgangers (and one real celebrity) star in Michelob’s push for its organic seltzer brand. The challenge is to spot the real famous person (spoiler: it’s Don Cheadle).
The sandwich chain hasn’t revealed its actual Super Bowl ad yet, but it did release an extended teaser starring Brad Garrett as the “King of Cold Cuts” who doesn’t appreciate Jimmy John’s moving in on his territory. There’s a whole mob-inspired storyline going on as a one-sided sandwich war begins.
Scotts and Miracle-Gro
Scotts is leaning on the time-honored Super Bowl tradition of harnessing celebrity power in its promotion for Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer. You’ll see lots of familiar faces, but John Travolta dancing with his daughter is a standout.
The Bud Light Legends ad is a trip down marketing memory lane. It gathers together the stars of Bud Light commercials from the past, including the Bud Light Knight and Cedric the Entertainer, to help save an overturned truck full of beer.
In an ad scheduled to run right before the coin toss, snack maker Frito-Lay rounded up a who’s who of Super Bowl stars, including the Manning brothers, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Jerome Bettis and Deion Sanders. Former Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch narrates a tweaked version of A Visit From St. Nicholas, refashioning it as ‘Twas the Night Before Super Bowl.
This is the extended version of a shorter Squarespace ad that features national treasure Dolly Parton’s reworked version of her hit song 9 to 5. The website provider’s commercial is full of dancing entrepreneurs who work on their side gigs after their regular office hours. And there’s topiary shaped like a squirrel.
Amazon has put out quite a few different Alexa devices over the years, with some very different looks. The company’s Super Bowl ad asks the question, “What would be the ideal body for Alexa?” The answer is Michael B. Jordan, star of Black Panther and Creed.
Actor Matthew McConaughey appears as a flattened 2D version of himself who gets bowled over by a football and tangles with a robot vacuum until a bag of Doritos 3D chips restore him to his usual self.
Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Shaggy come together for a semi-musical mashup commercial involving Kutcher repeatedly accusing Kunis of eating his Cheetos Crunchy Pop Mix. She’s caught orange-fingered but manages to deny it.
Logitech described its big-game ad as an “ode to creators.” The commercial is powered by music star Lil Nas X of country-rap Old Town Road fame. It’s all about using technology to unleash creativity.
Pringles got a case of space fever with a story about returning astronauts left afloat at sea because mission control was too busy stacking chips to rescue them.
In a big nod to surreality, Tide laundry detergent lingered over all the ways a hoodie emblazoned with Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander’s face got dirty. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. This is an early contender for oddest ad of the game.
Anheuser-Busch, parent company of Budweiser, said in a statement it would forego the brand’s in-game air-time and instead put the funds toward public awareness and education for COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
Anheuser-Busch still allotted slots to Bud Light and Michelob and filmed its first ever corporate commercial, a serious look at its community work and economic recovery efforts.
Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade
Speaking of Bud Light, the low-cal beer brand went in for a humorous look at how terrible 2020 was with a lemon-filled ad for its hard seltzer lemonade. When life gives you lemons, make a commercial out of it.
Michelob Ultra delivered a thoughtful reflection on the nature of happiness set to the tune of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side. Sports superstars including Peyton Manning and Serena Williams put in appearances.
Musician Lenny Kravitz stepped up for Stella Artois for an ad with an introspective message based around the idea that humans get around 2.5 billion heartbeats in a lifetime.
Honorable mention: Coors Light won’t run a Super Bowl ad during the game, but will instead do a wild end run by launching its Big Game Commercial of Your Dreams campaign to encourage people to dream about its beer instead. It enlisted a psychologist to help develop a video that could possibly trigger nighttime visions of Coors Light. The dream-inducing video will be available to try out starting on Feb. 3.