The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the only ones facing off in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday (Feb. 4). More than 100 million viewers are expected to tune into NBC’s live TV broadcast of the NFL championship game—a colossal audience, especially in the age of cord-cutting—and millions more will stream online. Advertisers, who have paid good money to capture a sliver of your attention, will be jockeying for eyeballs.
This artistic/consumerist showdown is why many tune into the Super Bowl at all. As of publication, roughly 45 advertising spots have been confirmed for the national broadcast of the game, which starts with kickoff at 6:30pm eastern time. Quartz will update this post as details develop, up to and during the game.
This post was last updated at 11pm on Feb. 4.
The early favorites for best Super Bowl commercial in 2018
These five ads, released or teased online ahead of the game, have grabbed the most attention so far on social media, according to iSpot.tv, which tracks shares and mentions of ads on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- PepsiCo brands Doritos and Mountain Dew throw down in a lip-sync battle airing in the first half of the game. Peter Dinklage reps Doritos with Busta Rhymes in his corner, and Morgan Freeman pairs with Missy Elliot on team Mountain Dew.
- NBC will air a new episode of its biggest show, the tearjerker drama This Is Us, after the Super Bowl ends. Fans are already sobbing over the promo for the episode, which promises to answer “all of your questions.” For real, this time. Maybe.
- Musical artist Cardi B, chef Gordon Ramsay, actress Rebel Wilson, and actor Anthony Hopkins try to replace Amazon’s Alexa in the commercial for the virtual assistant.
- Super Bowl veteran Budweiser trades clydesdales for water in a moving ad showing the beer company providing clean water to victims of last year’s natural disasters.
- No one has yet claimed responsibility for a star-studded series of teasers promoting a fictional reboot of Crocodile Dundee. The latest is over four minutes long and features Danny McBride, Chris Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, and other Australian stars. The Brisbane Times reports Tourism Australia may be behind these fake trailers, and are using them to tease an ad that will run in the Super Bowl. The national tourism body has not returned Quartz’s request to confirm. (Update: A commercial in the game confirms the phony reboot is an advertisement for Tourism Australia.)
Every year, intense competitive battles unfold between brands in the Super Bowl. 2018 is no different.
- Doritos faces competition from freshman advertiser Pringles. The Kellogg-owned brand has funny man Bill Hader and flavor-stacking chips in its corner.
- Hulu and Amazon Studios tout upcoming series on their rival streaming-video services. Hulu is promoting a dark thriller, Castle Rock, set in the fictional world of Stephen King’s novels. Amazon Studios is making its Super Bowl deput with ads for a spy series also based on best-selling novels, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.
- Telecoms Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all in the game, as well. Sprint is the first to release its creative, a Westworld-inspired ad that taunts Verizon. T-Mobile hasn’t yet released its ad. (Update: Verizon thanks first responders. T-Mobile’s ad features adorable babies and narration by Scandal actress Kerry Washington. Verizon thanks first responders.)
- Beverage behemoths PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Company will hawk their flagship soda brands. Coke’s heartfelt commercial, which kicks off a campaign it’s calling “A Coke for Everyone,” celebrates unique soda-drinkers around the world. Meanwhile, Pepsi, which sponsors the Super Bowl halftime show, is competing with itself: its ad revives some of its most iconic Super Bowl campaigns with celebrities like Cindy Crawford and a voiceover from late-night host Jimmy Fallon.
- Detergent brands Tide and Persil ProClean go head-to-head. Neither has released their commercials yet. (Update: Tide airs four ads starring actor David Harbour, who played the police chief in Stranger Things. They subvert well-known Super Bowl campaigns like those from fellow P&G brands Old Spice, Mr. Clean, and others. Persil continues with its pitchman, Law & Order:SVU actor Peter Hermann, who shows fans how to remove game-day stains like guacamole.)
- Wendy’s airs its beef with McDonald’s “flash-frozen” meat in a commercial that argues fresh is always better. The Golden Arches has not said whether it will run an ad in the game.
It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without star power. Look out for these big names this year:
- Girl’s Trip actress Tiffany Haddish hawks Groupon as the company’s new spokeswoman. She was tapped by the brand after revealing on Jimmy Kimmel Live that she used Groupon in real life to take celebrity couple Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith on a swamp tour in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Danny DeVito is a walking, talking, human M&M’s.
- Musician Iggy Azalea is the face of Monster Products in its first Super Bowl spot, which also features 10 other celebrities, including YouTube star RiceGum.
- Actor and Water.org co-founder Matt Damon stars in a commercial for Stella Artois, promoting a partnership between the beer brand and the charity.
- Chris Pratt reps Michelob Ultra in two game-day spots. The first shows the Jurassic World actor getting in shape without sacrificing beer. (He previously said on Instagram that he ditched beer to train for the 2015 role.) He’s joined in the second spot by athletes Brooks Koepka, Kelly Slater, and Shalane Flanagan.
- Action star Keanu Reeves performs a stunt for Squarespace, where he hosts the website for his motorcycle company.
- Rock and roll legend Steven Tyler gets behind the wheel of a Kia Stinger.
- Former football quarterback Peyton Manning coaches a family visiting Universal Parks & Resorts. (The version published to YouTube is an extended cut of the game-day spot.)
- Actor Chris Elliott cameos in an ad from Avocados from Mexico, which shows the tragedy of having avocados and no chips.
- Actors Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright reprise their Black Panther roles for Lexus, ahead of the movie out due in US theaters on Feb. 16.
- Web comedy stars Rhett and Link show how easy it is to build a website with Wix.
- Turkish Airlines taps TV personality Dr. Oz. (The version published to YouTube is an extended cut of the ad in the game.)
The entertainment sneak-peaks
NBC is broadcasting the Super Bowl this year, so expect a slew of ads for shows on the network. The host network typically takes 15% of the total ad time during a Super Bowl game for itself, according to Kantar Media. But other entertainment companies will also be vying for the attention of Super Bowl viewers.
- There is, of course, the aforementioned teaser for NBC’s blockbuster This Is Us
- HBO premieres the trailer for the second season of Westworld. (Updated with YouTube link, which is an extended cut of the ad that aired during the game.)
- NBC’s sister studio Universal showcases its Dwayne Johnson-starring action flick, Skyscraper. (Updated with YouTube link.)
- Viacom’s Paramount releases a new trailer for Mission: Impossible—Fallout. (Updated with YouTube link.)
- Disney is expected to push one or two films during the broadcast. (Update: Disney premieres the first teaser for Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War. Both movies are due out in May.)
The rest of the freshman class
Pringles, Amazon Studios, and Monster Products aren’t the only newcomers this year.
- Big-food brand Kraft is in the game for the first time. Its ad has a unique concept, which Kraft is currently teasing online: the commercial will be shot in real-time using footage from families crowdsourced during the game. (Update: Here’s the final game-day spot.)
- Intuit, which had advertised for TurboTax in the Super Bowl before, puts its corporate brand center stage for the first time. (Updated with YouTube link.)
- Blacture promotes its new digital platform for black culture.
The rest of the returning advertisers
- Super Bowl staple Bud Light returns in 2018 with its ongoing “Dilly, Dilly” campaign. The second and third installments of its “trilogy” of medieval fantasy ads, in the style of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, show an army preparing for battle, while the Bud Knight wants to party.
- Diet Coke returns after a 21-year hiatus with an ad that showcases its new look. (Updated with YouTube link.)
- Intuit’s TurboTax returns with two ads that will be revealed on game day. (Update: The first plays on the childhood fear of monsters under the bed to show doing one’s own taxes isn’t so scary. The second takes a similar approach with noises in the attic.)
- P&G’s Febreze makes it so your “bleep don’t stink.”
- Auto-accessories manufacturer WeatherTech returns to the big game with an ad Donald Trump would love, promoting its new US factory.
- The belle of the ball, the NFL, will have at least one ad featuring quarterback Eli Manning and the New York Giants offensive line, Ad Age reports. (Update: there was one 60-second spot, as well as a series of vignettes earlier in the game.)
- E*Trade, which has put babies and monkeys in past Super Bowl commercials, pushes saving for retirement with some sassy seniors. (Updated with YouTube link.)
- Toyota returns with three pitches, the first two of which highlight the carmaker’s sponsorship of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. One stars Paralympic gold medalist Lauren Woolstencroft, and the other explores mobility throughout life, from crawling to running to driving. The third ad shows how fans unite around football.
- Hyundai is teasing a follow up to last year’s Super Bowl spot, which used 360-video to unite US troops overseas with their families during the game. This year’s ad, introduces Hyundai owners who attended the Super Bowl to pediatric cancer patients who benefited from the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program.
- Quicken Loans is back with an ad for its online mortgage brand Rocket Mortgage. (Update: It features actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key.)
- Fiat Chrysler returns with five commercials that highlight its Jeep and Ram brands. (Update: The first uses Icelandic Vikings to show off its Ram trucks. The second goes off the beaten path with Jeep. A third ad quotes civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on the spirit of serving others. A fourth taps Jeff Goldblum and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to showcase the new Jeep Wrangler. The final ad also highlights the new Wrangler.)
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the commercials running in the game. Hopefully, that means there will be a few good surprises. Netflix, for one, has been tight-lipped about any Super Bowl presence, but Deadline speculates the company may air a trailer for a sequel to Cloverfield during the big game.
- Sketchers taps former football player Howie Long to showcase its wide-fit shoes.
- Netflix drops the trailer for its Cloverfield sequel, The Cloverfield Paradox, which hits the streaming service directly after the game. In doing so, it bypasses the streaming showdown between rivals Hulu and Amazon Studios and goes straight for NBC’s This Is Us, which also airs its newest episode after the game.