Quartz rounds up the scoop on Super Bowl ads on the eve of the game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles:
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.
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. Scandal actress Kerry Washington will appear in T-Mobile’s commercial, CEO John Legere said on Twitter. Verizon hasn’t yet released an ad, but has confirmed they will air one during the Super Bowl.
- 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. Tide is slated to feature actor David Harbour, who played the police chief in Stranger Things, and Persil will carry on with its pitchman, actor Peter Hermann, from Law & Order:SVU.
- 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, as-of-yet unreleased, 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 stars Rhett and Link show how easy it is to build a website with Wix.
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 will premiere the trailer for the second season of Westworld, Entertainment Weekly reports.
- NBC’s sister studio Universal is expected to showcase two films: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Skyscraper.
- Viacom’s Paramount releases a new trailer for Mission: Impossible—Fallout, which is being hyped online.
- 20th Century Fox shines the spotlight on its Jennifer Lawrence action flick Red Sparrow, which it’s teasing online.
- Disney is expected to push one or two films during the broadcast.
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.
- Intuit, which had advertised for TurboTax in the Super Bowl before, puts its corporate brand center stage for the first time. The creative is still under wraps.
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. It has not yet been released.
- Intuit’s TurboTax returns with two ads that will be revealed on game day.
- 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, has at least one 60-second spot in the game, Ad Age reports. Expect to see quarterback Eli Manning and the New York Giants offensive line, per a tweet from the league.
- E*Trade, which has put babies and monkeys in past Super Bowl commercials, plans to push retirement this year—so expect some sassy seniors. Its ad has yet to be released.
- 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 will be released Feb. 3.
- 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.
- Quicken Loans returns with an ad for its online mortgage brand Rocket Mortgage. The commercial has not yet been made public.
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.