In fact, Super Bowl commercials have long been a cultural event in their own right, with some viewers tuning in to the big game purely to see what hilarious, heartwarming or straight-up bizarre ads brands have deemed worthy of making the cut.
This year, the average cost for a 30-second Super Bowl spot was a record-high $5.6 million, Forbes reports. And with Fox having sold 82 ad units of 30 seconds each, Adweek estimates that approximately 50 commercials total will air throughout the course of Super Bowl 2020. That’s significantly less than the 91 that were shown during Super Bowl 2019, which could mean that many of this year’s ads are longer spots. But regardless of their length, appearances by beloved celebrities and campy movie parodies give 2020’s commercials the potential to be a real crop of winners.
The National Retail Federation reports that nearly 194 million people are expected to tune in for Super Bowl 54. Here, in our list of the best commercials of Super Bowl 2020, we’re recognizing some of our favorite ads that all those viewers saw on Sunday night.
The Hyundai Super Bowl Commercial With Boston Celebrities Chris Evans, Rachel Dratch, John Krasinski and David Ortiz
Hyundai: “Smaht Pahk”
The Patriots may have missed out on the Super Bowl this year, but at least New England fans have Hyundai’s commercial for the Sonata’s new smart parking tech to cheer them up. Featuring Beantown natives Chris Evans, Rachel Dratch (remember that hilarious “Boston Teens” bit on Saturday Night Live) and John Krasinski arguing in their thickest New England accents over whether Krasinski’s Sonata can fit in a wicked tight parking spot — don’t worry, he’s got “smaht park” — the 80-second ad is a dream come true for Bostonians. Red Sox legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz making a cameo is just the cherry on top.
The NFL Super Bowl Commercial That’s Bigger Than Football
NFL: “Inspire Change”
In this 60-second spot from the NFL itself, the league continues to promote its “Inspire Change” initiative with a PSA about the 2015 police shooting death of Corey Jones, the cousin of retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The emotional Super Bowl commercial, which first aired during the AFC championship game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, features Boldin recounting how his cousin’s story inspired him to start the Players Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to ending social injustices and racial inequality.
“Had it not been for the work that we do, Corey’s death would have been in vain,” he says. “The best way to inspire change is to be it.”
Boldin’s heartrending retelling of his personal family tragedy drives home why organizations that are working to effect positive social change in these areas are so vital.
The Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial That Smashes Stereotypes
Budweiser, “Typical American”
Budweiser endeavors to turn stereotypes that are commonly negatively associated with people living in the U.S. on their head in this minute-long spot showcasing “typical Americans.” A typical American “showing off his strength” is depicted as a firefighter battling a wildfire while typical Americans “yelling and being loud” are shown to be protestors. All in a good day’s work of promoting “typical American beer” for one of the best Super Bowl 2020 commercials that aims to challenge viewers to see things in a different light.
The Google Super Bowl Commercial That Tugs on Your Heartstrings
Tearjerker alert! From its 2010 “Parisian Love” ad to last year’s “100 Billion Words” translation app spot, Google is always finding ways to try make us feel all the feelings in the midst of the big game. And this year is no different.
“Loretta” earns a spot on our list of the best commercials of the 2020 Super Bowl by delivering a poignant demonstration of how people can use Google Assistant to help keep loved ones’ memories alive. In the ad, a grandfather utilizes the voice-powered tech to jot down heartwarming recollections about his late wife like “she always snorted when she laughed” and “[she] used to hum showtunes.”
The Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl Commercial With an Environmentally Conscious Message
Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold: “6 for 6-Pack”
With climate change becoming an increasingly pressing global issue, many people are looking for tangible ways to make a difference for the environment in their everyday lives. That’s exactly why commercials like Organic Valley’s “The Food Company Crazy Enough to Change Everything,” Only Organic’s “The World’s Most Skippable Ad” and now, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold’s “6 for 6-Pack,” in which the brand pledges to dedicate a portion of proceeds from every six-pack sold to transitioning 6 square feet of farmland to organic, hit home.
In the ad, a soothing voiceover lays out how people of all different walks of life can participate in the initiative: “If every football fan picks up a six-pack, we could change America’s organic farmland forever.”
Effective marketing indeed.
The Mountain Dew Super Bowl Commercial Starring Bryan Cranston and Tracee Ellis Ross in a Shining parody
Mountain Dew: “As Good As the Original”
Whether it’s “Puppy Monkey Baby” or Peter Dinklage facing off with Morgan Freeman in a rap battle, Mountain Dew almost always seems to bring something memorable to the Super Bowl table. This time around, it’s Bryan Cranston doing his best impression of Jack Nicholson in The Shining in order to get Tracee Ellis Ross to try Mountain Dew’s new zero-sugar variant. Cranston’s chaotic charisma immediately draws your attention to the screen while Ross’s over-the-top antics bring the spot home.
Sociopathic Cranston is back, Breaking Bad fans.
The Microsoft Super Bowl Commercial With Maximum Girl Power
Microsoft: “Be the One”
San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers will make history on Sunday night as the first woman and first openly gay person to coach in a Super Bowl. And Microsoft’s “Be the One” ad is here to tell her story. The 60-second spot highlights how Sowers, a pioneer in the sport, has paved the way for other women to carve out roles in the NFL.
“All it takes is one,” she says as photos of young girls sporting football uniforms flash across the screen. “And it opens the door for so many.” Who better to drive this point home for viewers than the person who’s actually done it?
The Porsche Super Bowl Commercial With a High-Speed Car Chase
Porsche: “The Heist”
Forget the new trailer for Fast & Furious 9. Featuring a high-speed car chase through the narrow streets of a European city, Porsche’s first Super Bowl commercial in 23 years is basically straight out of an action movie — with the high production value to match. It even has a twist at the end reminiscent of many a beloved heist flick.
Super Bowl viewers will see a minute-long version of the epic ad on Sunday, but you can watch the full two-and-a-half minute spot promoting the Taycan, Porsche’s first all-electric car, above.
The Doritos Super Bowl Commercial With Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott
Doritos: “The Cool Ranch”
Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott face off in a Wild West-style dance-off duel over a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. That’s really all that needs to be said.
The New York Life Super Bowl Commercial That Proves All You Need Is Love
New York Life: “Love Takes Action”
New York Life throws it back to Ancient Greece in an ad that demonstrates just how much of a driving force love is in our lives. The 60-second spot, the insurance company’s first Super Bowl ad in 30 years, takes us through the meaning behind three different ancient Greek words for love — philía (friendship), storgē (familial) and éros (romantic) — before landing on agápe (love as an action) as the highest form of love.
But what exactly is agápe? It’s a sentiment that manifests differently for different people, but one that almost all viewers can likely relate to.
It’s an adult son giving his elderly father a bath, a group of kids shaving their heads in solidarity with a friend who has cancer, a parent rushing out the door to get the kids to school on time and all the other things we do for people we love that take “courage, sacrifice and strength.”
The Pringles Super Bowl Commercial With Rick and Morty
Pringles: “Rick and Morty”
What could be better than a mini-episode of Rick and Morty to keep you entertained during a second-quarter break in the Super Bowl 54 action? Rick and Summer discover they’re trapped inside a Pringles ad inhabited by Pringles flavor stacks-obsessed Morty robots in this outlandish cartoon spot that shines bright in the midst of its more traditional commercial peers. Knowing Rick, he’ll probably find a way out of this one before halftime.
Groundhog Day Super Bowl Commercial with Bill Murray
Jeep: “Groundhog Day”
Since the Big Game falls on Groundhog Day 2020, it’s no surprise one brand took the liberty of referencing the iconic 1993 film Groundhog Day. The Jeep commercial, which first aired on Sunday before the 2020 Super Bowl, shows the movie’s star Bill Murray reliving the same day over and over again. Murray drives around in a Jeep with Punxsutawney Phil in tow, waking up to Sonny & Cher’s song “I Got You Babe” daily. It’s Murray’s first time starring in a national commercial, according to Rolling Stone. This time around, in contrast from his movie character, it seems Murray learned his lesson and didn’t “drive angry,” as one of the best known Groundhog Day movie quotes goes.
Cheetos and MC Hammer Super Bowl Commercial
Cheetos: “Can’t Touch This”
MC Hammer got back down to business this year in a Cheetos Super Bowl LIV commercial. The advertisement, which focused on the cheesy snack brand’s new popcorn product, riffed on the age-old issue that comes with eating Cheetos: your fingers become un-usable. MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” has never been so relevant.
Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled and Alex Rodriguez Super Bowl Commercial
Hard Rock: “Big Game Commercial”
Michael Bay directed Jennifer Lopez in a very meta Hard Rock Hotel commercial, which follows the singer on a wild chase through the hotel before her halftime performance as she tries to track down the thief who stole her bling. The singer encountered Steven Van Zandt and Pitbull on her journey. When she finally catches the guy, it appears to be her husband, Alex Rodriguez, but then he is revealed to actually be DJ Khaled in disguise. Leave it to DJ Khaled to find the major key to Lopez’s performance.
Jason Momoa’s Natural Self Super Bowl Commercial
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans: Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa jokingly revealed his true self by stripping down his luscious locks and removing the highlights of his muscular frame. In the Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Super Bowl spot, the Aquaman star jokes that “home is where I can be myself,” as video editing magic makes the usually hunky actor appear extremely lean and balding. Stripped down to his “natural” shape, Momoa tries to bench press with no additional weighted plates. “Good job,” his real-life wife Lisa Bonet tells him.