Football fans everywhere will crowd around their TV sets and tablets come Sunday (Feb. 5), when the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. But the game-play is only half the fun. A plethora of brands have ponied up good money to run commercials in the game, for your viewing pleasure.
So far, roughly 50 spots from paid sponsors are confirmed for the national broadcast.
The early favorites
These five ads, which were released or teased online ahead of the game, have snagged the most attention so far on social media, according to iSpot.tv, which tracked shares and mentions of the ads on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Super Bowl staple Budweiser is making a statement with a 60-second commercial that tells the story of the beer brand’s German co-founder who immigrated to the US in 1857. The ad, which kicks off Budweiser’s 2017 brand campaign, is all the more interesting as it comes against the backdrop of US president Donald Trump’s new anti-immigration policies.
- The Coen brothers directed a 60-second homage to Easy Rider, featuring Peter Fonda and Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild,” for Mercedes-Benz’s Mercedes-AMG GT.
- T-Mobile made Justin Bieber’s wish come true in a 60-second Super Bowl commercial that features the Canadian pop star alongside athletes Rob Gronkowski and Terrell Owens. The “un-carrier” said it plans to run four ads in the game, including one starring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, and two with comedian Kristen Schaal, of Bob’s Burgers and Flight of the Conchords.
- Procter & Gamble’s Mr. Clean practically charms the pants off one woman in this surprisingly sexy game-day spot for cleaning products.
- Wix is promoting its web-development services with an action-packed 30-second spot that stars Jason Statham and Gal Gadot. Here’s the long-form teaser.
As Super Bowl ads get bigger, better, and more expensive, advertisers are looking for new ways to stand out in the game. Two brands are trying something new this year.
- In a Super Bowl first, Snickers will shoot and broadcast its ad during the game live. It will star Adam Driver, of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and HBO’s Girls, and is currently being teased online.
- Hyundai will also shoot its 2o17 Super Bowl commercial during the game, but it won’t run until afterward. It will reportedly air immediately after the game ends.
The big names
Celebrities are a staple in the Super Bowl and this year is no exception.
- Tom Brady will be both in the game and in the commercials. The Patriots quarterback will appear in a 30-second ad touting Intel’s 360-degree replay technology.
- Justin Timberlake is in an ad for the beverage startup Bai, in which he is an investor.
- Funny woman Melissa McCarthy opts to drive the fuel-efficient 2017 Niro in this 60-second Super Bowl spot for Kia.
- Actor John Malkovich fights for the rights to the domain name johnmalkovich.com in this Squarespace commercial.
- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton laces up against a pee-wee football team in an ad for General Motors’ Buick that also features model Miranda Kerr.
- Steve Carrell is featured in a teaser for Honda’s Super Bowl ad for the new CR-V. Here’s the auto makers game-day spot.
- Rob Gronkowski is also appearing in a second Super Bowl spot. This one is for Tide, and also features Terry Bradsaw and Jeffrey Tambor, of Amazon’s Transparent. Tide aired a short, second ad in the game as well.
- Bill Nye the Science Guy is making his Super Bowl debut in a spot for Persil laundry detergent that’s currently being teased online.
- The New Celebrity Apprentice’s Arnold Schwarzenegger will make another appearance in an ad for Mobile Zone’s Mobile Strike game.
- Mad Men actor Jon Hamm will be featured in an ad for H&R Block that will push the tax-prep firm’s new partnership with IBM Watson.
- Wrestler John Cena is the voice of Ernie the Elephant in an ad promoting Wonderful Pistachios.
- Rob Riggle and Billy Zane battle it out as the colonels in KFC’s first national Super Bowl ad.
- Avocados From Mexico tapped comedian Jon Levitz for a quirky, health-conscious Super Bowl ad.
- Comic Kathryn Hahn is the voice of freshman game-day advertiser Febreze’s homage to the halftime bathroom break.
- And Minnie Driver is voicing the narration for Lexus’s Super Bowl ad featuring Sia’s “Move Your Body.”
The rest of the freshman class
Among this year’s other Super Bowl newcomers:
- Nintendo is running its first Super Bowl ad for the Nintendo Switch game console. The 30-second commercial features the game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the song “Believer” by Imagine Dragons.
- Google is returning to the Super Bowl, reportedly, with the first ad for its Home (paywall) virtual assistant.
- Pepsi, which is sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show again this year, is putting its premium water brand LifeWTR in the game for the first time. The 30-second ad features a new track by John Legend. Here’s the extended cut.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev is also advertising its Busch brand in the game for the first time this year.
- Fast-food brand Wendy’s is airing its first in-game ad, which takes a shot at those “Othr Guyz LLC.” The 30-second ad features Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice.”
- The Wonderful Company, which owns Wonderful Pistachios, is running a Super Bowl ad for another one of its brands, Fiji Water, for the first time. The ad is a 15-second cut of an earlier spot.
- It’s a 10 Haircare will advertise during the big game on Sunday to push its new men’s haircare line.
- Another mobile-game company, Top Games USA, is getting into the Super Bowl with an ad for its mobile-game Evony.
- Bakery King’s Hawaiian will also make its Super Bowl debut.
- Tire manufacturer Michelin is joining the game this year with a heartfelt 30-second ad.
What you won’t see (on TV)
- Nutrition retailer GNC bought 30 seconds of airtime in Fox’s Super Bowl broadcast, for what was supposed to be its first national in-game ad. But the commercial was reportedly rejected because the retailer sells substances that are banned by the NFL.
- Another newcomer, privately held building-materials seller 84 Lumber, also had its ad turned away by Fox. It was reportedly deemed too political because it featured a wall. (The advertiser is still expected to air a 90-second ad in the game.) Here’s what the retailer aired instead.
The other returning advertisers
- Bud Light is bringing back its controversial spokes-dog (paywall) Spuds MacKenzie for the character’s 30th anniversary. The 60-second ad tells viewers drinking isn’t about partying, it’s about friendships.
- Meanwhile, another Anheuser-Busch InBev brand, Michelob Ultra, is showing how people unwind while staying fit in its 30-second spot.
- Audi has an empowering new ad that challenges the gender-pay gap.
- Ford is returning to the Super Bowl with a 90-second spot highlighting its self-driving vehicles, ride and bike sharing programs, and other innovations that will air right after the coin toss and before kickoff.
- Candy brand Skittles has a sweet new spot about young love.
- GoDaddy is back after a brief hiatus with a 30-second commercial that’s full of memes and Easter Eggs about the Internet, which is personified by a character in the ad.
- TurboTax is teasing a commercial for its tax-prep software featuring Humpty Dumpty, who apparently takes the freedom he gets from doing his taxes online a little too far. Here’s the in-game spot.
- WeatherTech is putting its employees in the game again this year.
- Sprint is slamming Verizon with its own pitchman again. The “Can you hear me now?” guy defected to the mobile carrier last year.
- And the NFL’s Super Bowl ad features adorable toddlers dressed as NFL legends.
The entertainment sneak peaks
Major US movie studios including Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures, and Universal Studios are planning to release trailers for their upcoming flicks during the game. So far, Paramount has confirmed that it will offer a sneak peak at its forthcoming Scarlett Johansson-starring movie Ghost in the Shell, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Baywatch.
- Disney also ran a commercial for the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Universal showed a preview of The Fate of the Furious.
- And 20th Century Fox promoted Logan and horror film A Cure for Wellness during the game.
Netflix and Hulu will also air trailers for their streaming originals for the first time. Hulu is promoting The Handmaid’s Tale and Netflix will offer an early look at the new season of Stranger Things. National Geographic ran a commercial for its first scripted series, Genius, during halftime, too.
It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without at least a few surprises.
A handful of brands, like Google and Honda, are playing their commercial creative close to the vest. There may also be a few latecomers that haven’t announced their ad buys yet.
- Airbnb premiered a spot promoting acceptance.
- Coca-Cola ran one commercial for its Coca-Cola brand in the game, another for Sprite, and an existing Coca-Cola ad about diversity and inclusion than aired before kickoff.
- Italian auto maker Alfa Romero, which is owned by Fiat Chrysler, also ran three ads in the game.
- Amazon aired three 15-second vignettes for the Amazon Echo.
- Morgan Freeman starred in an ad for Turkish Airlines, which also sponsored the Super Bowl pre-game show on Fox.
Quartz will keep this post updated as details continue to develop.
Update (Feb. 4 at 1:20pm ET): Updated to include Michelin’s spot, which premiered online Feb. 4.
Update (Feb. 5): Updated with ads that premiered ahead of or during the game.