Super Bowl has gone from being a big day for ads to being a big period, a big fortnight—like your birthday, stretched out and milked for all it's worth. And, according to the brands and agencies that play, it's worth a lot (read our POV post on one agency's assessment on why the Super Bowl is still worth it here).
The era of the pre-game Super Bowl strategy kicked off in earnest in 2011, when Volkswagen pre-released its excellent spot "The Force" before Super Sunday (read about why agencies do this here). The monster success of that spot spurred others to follow suit and this year the trend continued unabated, with teasers and entire bespoke ads created to stoke buzz before game day.
Here, all the spots (and accompanying content) released so far. Check back for updates during and after the game for a rundown of all the spots in Super Bowl XLVIII.
When the online insurance company decided to buy some Super Bowl ad time, it saved 30% by waiting until after the final whistle. John Krasinski eats some guacamole on a pile of cash and tells us the brand is passing its savings on by giving consumers a chance to win the $1.5 million it didn't spend on the ad by tweeting #EsuranceSave30.
In a statement, agency Leo Burnett's chief creative officer Susan Credle said, "We're giving people 1.5 million reasons to consider Esurance. We think they are making what might be the biggest play of the game."
The company says its the largest single amount of money ever given away using the Twitter platform and Krasinski will announce the winner Feb. 5th on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
"Nut butt and Choco"? A German therapist? Mr. Butterfinger? A gold satin track suit? This one sparked a whole lot of WTF tweets when it aired. Adding some crunchy competition to the peanut butter cup game is a bold move. But not half as bold as alluding to a threesome in a candy ad.
This entire spot is Bruce Willis' head. And he orders you to hug everyone in the room in a clever pitch of the carmaker's safety record. The man behind John McClane is always worth listening to, but what really makes this one special is Fred Armisen's warm embrace.
The Super Bowl spot by The Richard Group continues the brand’s “Built Free” ad campaign that launched in October 2013. Here we are urged to “GO. RUN. ACT. FIND. DARE." In a statement, the brand says the ad is shot "through the lens of those who embrace a restless spirit, coveting what life has to offer in a continuous pursuit of adventure." By the look and feel, those same people might just be wearing Levi's.
The Windows factory takes a page from the auto and beer brand Super Bowl playbook and goes for capital-I Inspiration. The ad doesn't dwell on the ins, outs and what-have-yous of various technologies or company products but instead on the end results of these endeavors. The kicker comes at the end when retired NFLer Steve Gleason, who suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), is revealed as the narrator.
Is there anything more American than America? That's the odd question Bob Dylan is asking in Chrysler's two-minute ode to the US auto industry, "America's Import." The spot continues the tone set by past Super Bowl efforts from the brand that celebrate Detroit's auto heritage, but this time, instead of concluding with "Imported From Detroit," the ad introduces the tag line, "America's Import" (the new tagline is being used to promote the 2015 Chrysler 200. The “Imported from Detroit” tagline is still apparently being used within the Chrysler brand).
Dylan goes the whole way here, appearing in the spot, narrating and supplying his track, “Things Have Changed." He argues that you can't import America's car know-how and says: "So let Germany brew your beer. Let Switzerland make your watch. Let Asia assemble your phone. We…will build…your car."
The spot is from agency Global Hue (Wieden + Kennedy was the agency behind Chrysler's past Super Bowl hits "" and the Eminem spot "Imported from Detroit.").
After the requisite teaser that saw ol' Peanut M&M take a tranquilizer dart like a champ, we learn—sort of—just what the crunchy fella's fate is. Yep, you guessed it, scary Russian dessert aficionados. And as any Guy Ritchie fan will tell you, this isn't just any scary Russian.
Coca-Cola salutes America and Americans of all flavors with its stirring 60-second "It's Beautiful." The spot, from agency Wieden + Kennedy features "America The Beautiful" sung in seven languages, accompanied by images of Americans from various backgrounds.
“For 127 years, Coca-Cola has been proud to be a part of bringing friends and families together while memories are made,” said Katie Bayne, President, North America
Brands, Coca-Cola North America in a statement. "With ‘It’s Beautiful,’ we are simply showing that America is beautiful, and Coke is for everyone.” See behind the scenes footage here.
Stephen Colbert and his trusty bald eagle start off Wonderful's Super Bowl pitch with the soft sell, before deciding that perhaps their branding efforts need to be kicked up a notch.
One of the less expected Super Bowl players was Maserati. Fiat Chrysler and agency Wieden + Kennedy created the new spot, "Strike," for Maserati's Ghibli, the brand's new entry in the mainstream luxury sedan market.
The ad was directed by David Gordon Green, who also directed Chrysler's "Halftime in America" spot.
“Maserati is embarking on its 100th year of craftsmanship with an important entry into the North American market,” said Harald Wester, CEO of Maserati SpA, in a statement. “We’ve worked hard at designing and engineering the Ghibli and there is no better time to make an impactful introduction than while the entire country is watching.”
Chevy takes a minute during the big game to raise awareness for World Cancer Day on February 4th. The spot shows us a couple silently soaking in a picturesque sunrise drive to the tune of Ane Brun's "Don't Leave."
Radio Shack "The Phone Call"
Radio Shack makes fun of itself with the help of some 80s icons.
Bud Light used the Super Bowl to debut a big new campaign and tag line, "The Perfect Beer For Whatever Happens." In the Super Bowl effort, from BBDO, an average guy walks into a wild night out that features cameos from Minka Kelly, Arnold, Don Cheadle and a llama.
Ford recruited Rob Riggle and James Franco to be its Super Bowl double play, in a twist on the carmaker's boast that its Fusion model has nearly double to fuel economy of an average vehicle.
Teased earlier, Budweiser released the full "Hero's Welcome" spot a few days before the game. The doc-style ad chronicles Lt. Chuck Nadd's homecoming from Afghanistan. According to Budweiser, while Nadd expected a welcome from his girlfriend, he arrived to find the residents of his hometown of Winter Park, Florida, a full ticker tape parade, marching bands, and the Budweiser Clydesdales waiting for him. The spot was originally slated to be 30 seconds but was bumped up to 60 seconds and there's also a five-minute behind-the-scenes video. Budweiser now has four minutes of ad space in the game.
Budweiser doubles down on the adorable with another heartstrings-pulling spot featuring the Clydesdales. Last year's "Brotherhood" was a big hit and an emotional moment amid the usual broad humor of Super Bowl ads. So Budweiser and agency Anomaly, creator of last year's ad, brought back the Clydesdales, and the trainer, played by Don Jeanes, and added a puppy and another killer track “Let Her Go” by Passenger.
While Deutsch L.A. created VW's past hits like "The Force" and "The Dog Strikes Back," this year marked the first outing for Argonaut, an agency launched by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners alums Hunter Hindman and Rick Condos. The spot reimagines a classic bit of dialog from It's a Wonderful Life (only with more Germans). Read more about the spot here. See the teaser here.
Cheerios and agency Saatchi & Saatchi New York caused a sad, inexplicable commotion earlier this year by releasing a spot featuring a multi-racial family. The same family is back for Super Bowl, this time with Dad negotiating with the titular Gracie over the arrival of a new family member.
Agency David&Goliath taps Morpheus from The Matrix to present drivers with a red key / blue key dilemma. Read more about the spot here.
Chobani makes its Super Bowl debut with a spot from agency Droga5 starring a terrifying yet brand-loyal bear.
Jaguar goes "bad" and British in its Super Bowl outing, recruiting hot Brit villains Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong for its action oriented spot. The campaign, from agency Spark 44, also featured a brand content element on the bad theme created out of Gawker Studios. Read more about the campaign here.
Last year, Axe created a space program. This year, the brand is promoting world peace in a spot from BBH London that, while still supporting the cause of nookie, makes a more heartfelt appeal to the potential Axe men in the audience. The daring spot uses heavy war imagery that builds up to a touching twist.
The Muppets hijack Terry Crews in this spot from Saatchi & Saatchi LA.
In the first of two spots, Coke uses Lambeau Field as the backdrop for a tale of determination.
Hyundai uses dad humor and Johnny Galecki in its two Super Bowl spots. Read more about the campaign here.
In its inaugural Super Bowl spot, Squarespace promises a counterpoint to "the mess that exists on the Internet right now." Read more with Squarespace founder Anthony Casalena here. See the teaser here.
Audi delivers a no-compromise message via an ungainly canine hybrid in this campaign from Venables Bell & Partners. Read more about the spot and the brand's Snapchat and Twitter extensions here. See the teaser, starring Sarah McLachlan here.
Oikos revists the men of Full House in its game spot.
GoDaddy takes the emphasis off T&A and places it on business results in this spot featuring a herd of bodybuilders—and a muscly Danica Patrick—making a beeline for a local tanning salon.
The brand's second spot has actor John Turturro introducing us to Gwen Dean, who decided to use the occasion of the NFL's championship game to quit her job on live TV to follow her dream of being a business owner.
Carmax employs an enduring cinematic device in this Super Bowl spot created by agency Silver + Partners. And since the big game has a puppy version, Carmax made a puppy version of its spot, too.
Sodastream recruited Scarlett Johansson as its Super Bowl spot spokesperson only to (oh no!) have its spot "banned," for the second year, from the game. The ad was rejected, ostensibly, not because of anything jiggling, but for mention of Coke and Pepsi. As SodaStream head Daniel Birnbaum told USA Today, "They're afraid of Coke and Pepsi. This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I'm disappointed as an American." The ad was created by Tennessee agency Humanaut, with Alex Bogusky acting as creative consultant.
Doritos "Time Machine" and "Cowboy Kid"
"Time Machine," which reportedly cost $200 to make, and "Cowboy Kid" upset what appeared to be the crowd favorite, "Finger Cleaner" to make it to the Super Bowl.
Ellen Degeneres took a few minutes during her show to unveil a Super Bowl spot starring role. Created by R/GA, the ad is a play on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" with the daytime talk host looking for some decent tunes to dance to instead of some porridge and a comfy bed.
After sitting out 2013, Chevrolet is back in the big game ad line-up with this spot by Leo Burnett Detroit narrated by John Cusack. It's the first of two spots for General Motors and here we get a peak at what "The Bachelor: Livestock Edition" might look like.
For its first Super Bowl ad in 16 years, Heinz shows a happy assortment of people banging the bottom of their Heinz bottles (do people still use those glass bottles?) and concludes with a granny fart gag. The spot was created by agency Cramer-Krasselt.
Speaking of crashing the Super Bowl, non-Super Bowl advertiser Newcastle decided to show us what could have been, had it been a Super Bowl advertiser. We also learn the brewer would've had some help from Oscar-nominated actress Anna Kendrick, in this behind-the-scenes clip the actress debates whether she's "beer ad hot" or just that approachable girl in your improv class hot. There's also a Keyshawn Johnson version and some funny focus group vids at the brand's site IfWeMadeIt.com.
T-Mobile heads into the NFL's biggest day with perhaps the NFL's most famous free agent, Tim Tebow. The man who had everyone on one knee just a few years ago is without a playing contract and uses that fact to cheekily pitch for the wireless provider in two new spots.
The Little Camera That Could gets into the game with this spot reminding us there was more than one brand at work during Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking leap. The commercial will run in 10 select markets and is joined by an online-only eight-minute version.