Whilst traditional TV advertising has long been superseded by digital as the most relevant and important medium for marketers and agencies alike, adland always resets itself for one night in February. One night where ad spend is at an annual high and brands manage to rope in some of the biggest names in the world to start in their ambitious, humorous and often bewildering spots. Super Bowl LII takes place this Sunday (4 February) and many of the big ads (or at least teasers) have already dropped online. Here, we'll be collecting all of the most exciting spots for you to peruse at your leisure, whether or not you even know (or care) who is playing.
Goodby Silverstein and Partners – Doritos/Mountain Dew
Goodby Silverstein and Partners have called house in the pop culture bingo competition this Super Bowl. Their dual add for Doritos Blaze and Mountain Dew Ice sees Morgan Freeman take on Peter Dinklage in a lip-sync battle featuring Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott hits – and the whole thing is also something of a song of fire and ice. Very clever. Dinklage shows his fiery side for Doritos, giving an attitude-laden rendition of Busta Rhymes’ “Look at Me Now” – and looks suitably demonic as he does so surrounded by a blazing building. Meanwhile, the ice-cool Morgan Freeman gives Jack Frost a run for his money as he performs “Get Ur Freak On.” On Super Bowl Sunday, fans will be able to record their own performance on a specially-created Snapchat lens and they’ll be encouraged to pick a side. Dinklage or Freeman. And if that’s not enough action for you, there are also teaser spots that see the legendary rappers mentor their proteges as they warm up for match day.
Lucky Generals – Amazon
Amazon's star-studded Super Bowl ad shows what happens when its smart-home device Alexa loses her voice. The sole focus on Alexa is a change from Amazon’s previous advertising. It is also the first time Amazon’s UK ad agency Lucky Generals has created a Super Bowl spot. The 90-second ad opens in a woman’s home where Alexa goes silent in response to a question. Back at Amazon headquarters, CEO Jeff Bezos is reassured by an aide that the situation is under control. The rest of the commercial shows celebrities including Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Cardi B and Sir Anthony Hopkins trying and failing to fill Alexa’s job. The campaign will run during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LII and continue with 30-second spots featuring Leslie Jones, JB Smoove and Rebel Wilson. Lucky Generals has worked with Amazon since 2014. Last year the London agency created the company’s first global holiday campaign featuring animated versions of Amazon’s delivery boxes. The Super Bowl ad was directed by Wayne McClammy through Hungry Man. Media planning and buying were handled by Initiative.
BBDO New York – M&M's
Having thoroughly disturbed us last week with a teaser depicting Danny DeVito bathing in a pool of molten chocolate, M&M’s has released its final Super Bowl ad, which will air on the night of the big game. The campaign was created by BBDO New York and directed by Wayne McClammy at Hungry Man. The film features the “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star in another bizarre scenario. The confectionery brand’s mascot Red wishes to become human so that people would stop wanting to eat him. His wish is granted - he transforms into a human and, more specifically, takes on Danny’s world-famous form.
Universal Parks & Resorts (in-house)
Peyton Manning becomes vacation quarterback to America in a new Universal Parks & Resorts commercial set to air during the Super Bowl – coaching families to take their vacation to the next level at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. An extended version of the spot will air in the NBC pre-game show and a thirty-second version of the commercial will air during the Super Bowl. Manning joins the family during both spots to make sure they really do take fun to the next level. He screams on a roller coaster, scrambles away from a Raptor showing its “game face,” and has a churro intercepted right out of his hands – and more.
McCann – Mucinex
On Monday, February 5, nearly 14 million employed Americans who plan to watch this year’s Big Game intend to call out of work in what historically has been the biggest “sick day” of the year. This phenomenon is not caused by a cold or a cough, but perhaps a collective feeling of wanting to recover the day after the Big Game. Mucinex, America’s largest over-the-counter brand, gives a nod to this “sick day” trend, #SuperSickMonday. The tongue-in-cheek campaign kicked off this week with a teaser television creative and builds up to a post-game television commercial airing Sunday evening on NBC. The ad highlights #SuperSickMonday by depicting the letdown people experience after the Big Game. The Mucinex anti-hero, Mr Mucus, represents the annoyance and misery that sickness brings, so he is naturally offended by people taking a “sick day” when they’re not actually sick. Mucinex’s #SuperSickMonday is an integrated marketing campaign, developed by McCann.
Innocean – Hyundai
Hyundai, in partnership with INNOCEAN Worldwide, is introducing the all-new Kona, Hyundai's first-ever smart compact SUV to a national audience in its national TV spot, titled “Ref to the Rescue.” The spot, which will air during the Super Bowl pre-game show, will resonate with parents who want to be in two places at once. Our hero, a referee at a kids' soccer game, arrives in his Kona and calls hilariously groundless penalties until no children are left on the field, ensures that every parent gets home in time to watch the Super Bowl.
Squarespace, the leading all-in-one web publishing platform company, today revealed the final creative for its fifth consecutive Super Bowl campaign. The in-game commercial features Keanu Reeves, a Squarespace customer and the co-founder of Arch Motorcycle, surfing atop one of his own bikes. While riding the motorcycle, Reeves encourages audiences to take the same metaphorical leap to pursue their passions and follow their dreams. The 30-second spot will run during the big game as part of a larger brand campaign with Reeves, which includes two additional films intended to inspire viewers to take the first step in pursuing their passions by making a website on Squarespace.
Grey New York – Febreze
Febreze returns for Super Bowl LII to introduce the world to Dave, the only man whose #BleepDontStink. Created by Grey New York, and directed by Bryan Buckley, the new campaign shines a humorous light on this ordinary man with an extraordinary characteristic and highlights a unique cast of characters - his mom, dad and coach - who are awed by this faecal anomaly. While Dave doesn’t need it, partygoers everywhere will appreciate Febreze. The commercial will appear in Q2 in the big game.
Grey New York – Pringles
This Super Bowl, Pringles is debuting its first-ever television advertisement during the big game. Pringles, known for its bold flavours, playful nature and endless stacking possibilities, will be showcasing “Flavour Stacking.” Bill Hader stars in the ad, bringing the laughs and showing fans that eye-opening moment when you discover the phenomenon that is “Flavour Stacking.”
Wendy’s isn’t pulling any punches in its Super Bowl ad this year, which calls out rival McDonald’s use of frozen beef in its burgers. Wendy’s has long touted its use of “fresh, never frozen” beef in its own fare, a selling point that was the subject of its Super Bowl ad last year. Now, the chain is upping the ante with a snarky spot that points out a “not-so-hidden gem” on McDonald’s website. In the commercial, Wendy’s uses its signature sense of humour to call out the fact that McDonald’s admits it uses flash frozen beef, or beef that is “ground fresh and then quickly frozen to seal in fresh flavour.”
GSD&M – Avocados from Mexico
To tease its fourth Super Bowl campaign, Avocados from Mexico utilised the talents of Hollywood (sort-of star) Chris Elliott for a comically bizarre infomercial. The actor makes an appearance in the brand’s Super Bowl in-game spot, but the real stars are the actors who cause mayhem when they find out there are no chips for the guacamole. Airing during the second quarter of the Super Bowl, Avocados from Mexico’s ‘GuacWorld’ unites a chosen few in a perfect world. In the spot, a group of people are in the desert under a clear, utopian dome. The leader states that all the bad has been sealed out and they have everything they’ve always wanted in an idyllic paradise, including massages, peaceful music, plentiful avocados, and Elliott signing autographs, for some reason. But it doesn’t take much for this ideal society to start unravelling once its celebrated leader is met with a world-defining question from one of the followers: “where are the chips?” When they see that the chips are outside the dome, chaos ensues until the leader shows them that they can put avocados and guac on other things, like toast and salads. The order is restored. Until the wifi goes down. The campaign was created by GSD&M, and only the 30-second spot will be shown during the game.
Mother – Stella Artois
This year, Stella Artois was the first brand to release its Super Bowl LII commercial in full ahead of the game. While it’s become common practice in recent years for advertisers to reveal their spots - or at least tease them - before the game kicks off, Stella’s reasoning for doing so is straightforward: the beer brand wants its message to reach as many people as humanly possible. The good cause in question is Stella’s ongoing “Buy a Lady a Drink” campaign, the result of an ongoing partnership between the brand and Water.org, a nonprofit dedicated to providing people around the world with access to safe water and sanitation. According to Stella, more than 663 million people are impacted by the global water crisis today. In the brand’s Super Bowl ad, which was created by Mother, co-founder of Water.org and actor Matt Damon explains that millions of people in the developing world walk up to six hours every day just to get water. He then encourages people to consider purchasing one of the brand’s signature chalices, the proceeds of which will go to Water.org. For every $13 limited-edition chalice sold, $3.13 will be donated to the nonprofit.
Diet Coke (in-house)
Diet Coke is returning to the Super Bowl fray in colourful fashion after Coca-Cola unleashed Gillian Jacobs on the sporting event of the year to promote its all-new flavours. A series of films depict the “Love” actress popping into her nearest corner shop to sample one of the colourful cans, which contain a variety of exotic flavours such as mango and twisted cherry. Each can and flavour is showcased across a series of ads, culminating in a 30-second spot shot exclusively for the February 4 face-off, as part of Diet Coke’s “Because I Can” campaign - which aims to draw millennials to the fizzy concoctions. In tandem with the video work, Diet Coke will embark on an outdoor advertising campaign to reinforce its simple message. Diet Coke was spurred into its recent rainbow rebrand by sliding sales, prompting it to put some zing back into its step with a new line-up of fruity flavours.
David&Goliath – Jack in the Box
Martha Stewart is never one to back down for what she believes in, and her tenacity is on full (comic) display in a Super Bowl spot for fast food chain Jack in the Box. In the 60-second spot, “Showdown,” created by agency of record David&Goliath, Jack in the Box spokes-founder, Jack Box, barges onto the set of Stewart’s show after hearing the culinary icon boldly state, “You’d never find a quality Banh Mi-inspired chicken sandwich like this at a fast-food restaurant.” Jack, in full gloves-off mode, states that having a sandwich like hers is exactly what the restaurant is doing with its new Food Truck Series. The face-off grows into an all-out celebrity feud, with Jack demanding that Martha try his Asian Fried Chicken Sandwich and take back what she said. Stewart then plays a literal game of ‘got your nose’ with Jack and has him physically removed from the set. In another teaser, Jack is seen defacing a Stewart promotional poster before being chased away. Both spots end with the hashtag #JackvsMartha to extend the feud into the social realm. There will also be partnerships with Buzzfeed and Funny or Die. Additionally, media partner Carat will be introducing a test of six-second ad units on a regional level for Jack in the Box, bringing this first-to-market opportunity to life.
Tourism Australia (in-house)
Tourism Australia has launched a series of trailers for a fake movie, which is called Dundee: The Son Of A Legend Returns Home. The trailers promote the film which features Danny McBride as Brian Dundee, the loudmouthed American son of Crocodile Dundee, who travels down under to help find his dad, who is apparently lost in the outback. McBride is joined by a cast of Australian stars including Tourism Australia ambassador Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, Isla Fisher, Liam Hemsworth and Ruby Rose. The trailers, which are reported to be part of Tourism Australia’s Super Bowl campaign, are supported by a dedicated website which features promotional content for the film, including a release date of: “Coming soon, Mate.” According to the analysis by ad tech company Amobee, since the first teaser trailers launched earlier this month, digital content engagement around Tourism Australia has increased by 1,256%. Amobee's data claims this is leagues ahead of all other Super Bowl campaigns and is double the engagement that Super Bowl sponsor Pepsi has secured.
FCB – Michelob Ultra
Michelob ULTRA (the fastest growing beer brand in the US) has unveiled a new Super Bowl commercial starring actor Chris Pratt. Titled “The Perfect Fit,” the spot chronicles Pratt’s journey to prepare for his first ever TV commercial – and it just so happens to be for the Super Bowl. Together with Michelob ULTRA, Pratt shows America that you don’t have to choose between being fit and having fun, you can do both.
As a sequel to "The Perfect Fit," Michelob ULTRA will air a second spot ("I Like Beer") in this year’s Super Bowl. This will be the first time that Michelob ULTRA has had two spots in the big game. Featured in this commercial, in addition to Chris Pratt, are: US Open Golf Champion Brooks Koepka, 11-time World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater and 2017 NYC Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan, all known for their commitment to living an active, balanced lifestyle. The ad brings these personalities together to sing along to “I Like Beer” – re-recorded by country music artist, Jon Pardi – a new anthem for Michelob ULTRA that demonstrates how it’s possible to be fit and still enjoy a beer. “I Like Beer” will be released later this week. FCB Chicago is the lead creative agency for both TV spots.
David&Goliath – KIA
Created by AOR David&Goliath, Kia’s 60-second Super Bowl spot, titled "Feel Something Again," stars legendary rocker Steven Tyler at an old abandoned racetrack. With the familiar notes of “Dream On” playing backwards, Tyler looks as though he’s about to race the Stinger against another legend, two-time Formula One and Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. After a moment of reflection, rather than driving the car forward, Tyler takes the car back around the track, in reverse. When he comes to a stop, he finds himself in the early 1970s – a young rock star in his prime, at a moment when he felt most alive. The spot ends with the on-screen text “Feel Something Again.”
Pepsi has unveiled its TV advertisement that will air during Super Bowl LII. Titled "This Is the Pepsi," the 30-second in-game spot takes fans through decades of the brand's rich history in pop culture. The spot is narrated by Jimmy Fallon, and as previously announced, includes a new take on the famous 1992 Pepsi Super Bowl ad starring Cindy Crawford - and this time, also her son Presley Gerber. The spot also features iconic celebrities of Pepsi's past and present, including Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Jeff Gordon, "Uncle Drew," and a cameo from the famous DeLorean Time Machine from "Back to the Future."
Wieden+Kennedy/The OTTO Empire – Bud Light
Late last year, The OTTO Empire teamed up with OPositive, Jim Jenkins and Wieden + Kennedy New York to help bring to life the two of the three spots in what has become the "SuperBowl Trilogy" for Bud Light. Live online today before the big game in the US on Sunday, "Bud Knight" is the final instalment of the Jim Jenkins directed Superbowl series and was produced locally with The OTTO Empire. Also produced locally with OTTO was the second ad in the trilogy, "Ye Olde Pep Talk" which was released 2 weeks ago, and the US filmed "Wizard" forming the first in the series.
The Martin Agency – GolfNow
The Martin Agency is bringing its unique sense of humour to the golf world, partnering with GolfNow on a new campaign that breaks with a spot in the Super Bowl pregame show. GolfNow has partnered with the Martin Agency on a new consumer and B2B project that will include strategic planning plus broadcast, digital, and social creative. The agency’s inaugural GolfNow work centres around the finding that every golfer wishes they could play more, but work and excuses get in the way. As part of the launch, Martin created four videos depicting cautionary tales of golfers who aren’t golfing. One features a golfer who’s been raking leaves for eight years straight while another depicts a frustrated office worker who’s stuck in a gif-like loop at his desk. The line “Why golf later when you can GolfNow?” punctuates each spot. The first spot set to premiere during NBC’s Super Bowl pre-game programming is a comic take on kids not being ready to leave the house. In it, a man says he thought he’d get to play more golf when the kids grew up. Pan back and we see that the ‘kid’ is a millennial sitting in a high chair. “This little guy doesn’t want to grow up,” says the dad as the kid complains about the food and the wifi. The dad then shows how easy the GolfNow app makes it to book tee times and find the right course.
David Miami - Budweiser
Like Stella, Budweiser and its agency DAVID are focusing on its water relief efforts in a spot it hopes won't be as divisive the pro-immigrant story it told about its founder last year.
Wieden+Kennedy - Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola’s warm and fuzzy message of diversity from W+K will celebrate more than "seven billion unique yous who are all special in their own ways." The 60-second spot is going to air in the fourth quarter. Coca-Cola is going back to its roots with this one, shining a light on optimism and inclusion.
O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul - Groupon
A Groupon segment on the Jimmy Kimmel show last year landed comedian Tiffany Haddish a gig as spokeswoman for the brand, and now she’ll star in a 30-second Super Bowl spot in the 4th quarter from O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul.
Walton Isaacson - Lexus
Lexus offers up a tie-in with the inevitable blockbuster from Marvel Studios, "Black Panther." The 30-second spot from multicultural agency Walton Isaacson will be shortened from the 60-second version here and run in the 3rd quarter.
DDB - Skittles
No matter how many people tune into this year’s Super Bowl, only one person will see Skittles’ ad for the big game, though everyone else will be able to see his reaction. Skittles has a Super Bowl commercial prepped and ready to go on game day. But unlike the others, Skittles isn’t banking on it resonating with the more than 100 million viewers expected to tune in—in fact, the vast majority of fans will never see it at all. That’s because the 60-second spot from DDB will be seen only by one person not directly involved with its production: Marcos Menendez, a teenager from Canoga Park, California, who was specially selected for the honour based on his real-life devotion to the product.
Droga5 - Sprint
Sprint’s campaign of jibes at Verizon takes us to new, futuristic levels with this 60-second ad. The spot from Droga5, set to air in the fourth quarter, sees Evelyn the robot heap dollops of sass over her creator for being a Verizon customer. The "can you hear me now?" guy makes an appearance, obviously, and the ad is tied up with a bow in the form of a snarky hashtag: #EvelynIsLearning.