Every year, the Super Bowl is not only football’s biggest stage, it’s also the height of advertising.
And the 2018 Super Bowl will be no different. Just as the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots battled for the championship at the Super Bowl LII, major companies and ad agencies fought for your attention.
With more than 100 million Americans were expected to tune in for football’s biggest game, commercials for companies grow more expensive and extensive with each year. According to Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports charged more than $5 million for a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl LII.
While that’s a lot of cash, that doesn’t include the costs to create a commercial that will grab attention and make headlines. Indeed, per tradition, the Super Bowl ads this year feature a slew of celebrities, cameos and special effects.
The Eagles won the 2018 Super Bowl, but these ads won the commercial breaks.
The Best Cameos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took a break from taking over the world to appear in his company’s Super Bowl commercial. But he wasn’t the only high-profile individual to make an appearance. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, rapper Cardi B, actress Rebel Wilson and actor Anthony Hopkins took a shot at replacing Amazon’s Alexa in this 90-second ad. And, yes, we all now want Cardi B’s voice to replace Alexa’s for good. (We can assume that decision will be up to Bezos.)
While Amazon delivered with the cameos, Lionel Richie’s appearance in TD Ameritrade’s Super Bowl commercial is hard to beat. The ad shows representatives from the online brokerage trying to persuade Richie to reference his 1983 hit “All Night Long” to promote the company’s 24-hour, five-day-a-week trading. “Well, it means I can trade after the market closes,” Richie says. “It’s true,” one representative says. “So, All…” “Evening long,” Richie responds. Other ideas from Richie: “All Night through its entirety” and “the time from sunset to sunrise,” or “from darkness to light.”
The Best Running Joke
Tide’s use of Stranger Things’s David Harbour and hilarious running jokes almost made viewers forget about the whole Tide Pods thing. Harbour stars in Tide’s Super Bowl commercial, where he appears in a series of spots that appear more fit for cars, beers, diamonds, soda, mattresses and deodorant. Each mini-ad within the commercial is, in fact, a Tide ad, Harbour tells viewers.
The most memorable part of the campaign was a bit of Proctor & Gamble cross-brand genius. Isaiah Mustafa, who’s best known in the advertising world as face of Old Spice. Instead of an Old Spice bottle, a Tide detergent bottle appears out of thin air in Mustafa’s hand as he sits shirtless on top of a white horse. Harbour sits behind him to remind the viewers that it was, indeed, a Tide ad.
Procter & Gamble owns both Tide and Old Spice, lest we forget.
The Best Break in Tradition
The Budweiser Clydesdales took a break once again this year in the company’s new and emotional Super Bowl commercial. Instead of promoting its beer, Budweiser used its ad to show the work that went into bottling water this year in response to numerous natural disasters all over the world, including in Puerto Rico and California. Budweiser has donated 79 million cans of drinking water in response crises around the world during the last 30 years, the company said. The ad, which follows one factory worker who helps bottle the water, is set to the song “Stand By Me.” Last year, Budweiser’s ad focused on the story of its co-founder, who immigrated from Germany to the U.S.
The Best Dumb Joke
Febreze went all in on the story of “The Only Man Whose Bleep Don’t Stink.” That is, the only guy who doesn’t leave behind a gross smell when he exits the bathroom. This documentary-style commercial focuses on the story of this man — Dave — with interviews with his parents, his former wrestling coach and his ex-girlfriend. The stand-outs, certainly, are Dave’s parents: “My friend — her son’s a lawyer. But, my son — his bleep don’t stink,” says the mom. “That’s better than being a lawyer,” the dad responds proudly.
The Best Appeal to Football-Watching Bros
Chances are you’ve heard the phrase “Dilly Dilly.” Bud Light’s popular catchphrase — perhaps most commonly used amongst college-aged boys — returns in the company’s two-part Super Bowl commercial. Set in a fantastical world a la Game of Thrones, the ad builds upon others from the company that results in a battle between the underdogs and an eager army — all over a few cases of Bud Light. The battle concludes when the Bud Knight gallops into the battle on horseback, grabs some beer for himself then uses his sword to conjure some kind of magical power that wins the battle for the underdogs.
The Best Thing That Could’ve Happened to Lexus
In perhaps the most conveniently timed Super Bowl commercial of all, Lexus and Marvel partnered to create a commercial that somehow leads you to believe the Black Panther drives a 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport. The cool-factor of the luxury car, which is available this month, is greatly aided by the star of the highly anticipated Marvel film Black Panther, which comes out Friday, Feb. 16. King T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, stars in the ad, where he runs through the streets and leaps in the air, diving through the car’s sunroof.
The Best Reminder That We Do Not Deserve Tiffany Haddish
Groupon has kindly reminded us all that we do not deserve comedian Tiffany Haddish. The break-out star of Girls Trip graces Groupon with her presence and asks, “What kind of person wouldn’t want to support local business?” The ad then flashes to a wealthy man, saying he does not support local businesses, and opens the door only to get punted in the stomach with a football. That must’ve not felt too good, responds Haddish with her iconic laugh.
The Best Song of Ice and Fire
A Doritos-Mountain Dew battle is afoot, and apparently actors Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman are the representatives for each. The commercial features a rap battle between the two actors, with Dinklage sinisterly lip-synching Busta Rhymes’s verse on “Look At Me Now”and Freeman retorting with Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On.” More can be expected to the ad, as Doritos says “only one can win.”(And, yes, Games of Thrones fans have already pointed out that Tyrion Lannister himself is in a Super Bowl commercial that could, in fact, convey The Song of Ice and Fire.)
The Best Message
Following the path set by its commercials of the past, Coca-Cola used its Super Bowl commercial this year to celebrate diversity. Called “The Wonder of Us,” minute-long commercial shows people around the world drinking different Coca-Cola products. A poem accompanying the ad notes that there’s a Coke out there “for he, and she, and her, and me, and them,” which elicited positive responses from some consumer who lauded the company for recognizing gender neutral people.
The Best Ad for Sad Minnesota Vikings Fans
Ram Trucks promoted its new Ram 1500 with the help of a group of vikings, excitedly heading to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. The Vikings were in for a surprise, though, when they appear to find out the Minnesota Vikings indeed did not make it to football’s biggest game. The best part of the ad? The warning at the end: “Never ride in the bed of a truck unless you are an authentic Viking.”
The Best Touchdown Celebration
Sure, the Eagles and the Patriots were the ones actually scoring at the Super Bowl this year, but the New York Giants may have the best touchdown celebrations. In a commercial for the NFL, Odel Beckham, Jr., and Eli Manning of the New York Giants channeled their best moves during a touchdown celebration in practice — with the duo even completing the iconic lift from Dirty Dancing.
The Most Non-Political Political Ad
In a Super Bowl all but devoid of politics, Illinois-based car floor liner company WeatherTech came closet to political commentary. The commercial showed the construction of a new 125,000-square-foot facility in Bolingbrook. The spot ended with the simple message, “At WeatherTech, we built our new factory in America. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?” WeatherTech has long advertised that its products are made in the United States.
The Best of Famous Actors Doing Weird Things
Danny DeVito being the human version of an M&M is probably one of those things that you’ve never thought about. But once you do, it all makes so much sense.
Meanwhile, Friends star David Schwimmer keeps up with Skittle’s odd sense of humor in the teasers for its 2018 Super Bowl commercial.
And Bill Hader shows off his comedic range in Pringles’s Super Bowl ad, where he says “wow” in the most obscure ways possible.
Other Honorable Mentions
Perhaps still recovering from its controversial 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner, Pepsi stuck to its roots in its 2018 Super Bowl commercial. The ad looks back at the company’s past, with an appearance from Cindy Crawford and a shout-out to Britney Spears.
Chris Pratt trains to star in Michelob Ultra’s Super Bowl commercial by running, lifting and practicing his poses — but ends up being directed to the line of extras for it instead.
Australia’s biggest movie stars — and Danny McBride — came to support tourism to the Land Down Under in a Super Bowl commercial that appeared more like a trailer for a film called “Dundee.” Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, Isla Fisher, Ruby Rose, Liam Hemsworth, Jessica Mauboy and Luke Bracey star alongside McBride in the commercial.