Yesterday saw the Kansas City Chiefs go head to head with the San Francisco 49ers in the biggest event in the US sports calendar: the Super Bowl.
With a 30-second slot priced at a whopping $5.6m (close to Rs 40 crore), brands came out in force to pick up the ol’ pigskin and play a hail Mary (both American football references, apparently…) for the big game, including sponsors Pepsi and Mountain Dew.
In light of the Chiefs' victory, Campaign has compiled the best ads of this year’s Super Bowl, with celebrity cameos from Bryan Cranston, Ellen DeGeneres, Winona Ryder, Post Malone and just about everyone in-between.
Bud Light '#PostyBar' and 'PostyStore' by Wieden & Kennedy
In a decidedly greedy move, Bud Light released two spots starring rapper Post Malone ahead of the Super Bowl, encouraging beer fans to choose which should debut during the game.
Both follow the Rockstar singer as he tackles the dilemma of choosing between Bud Light or Bud Light Seltzer, until he remembers he’s filthy rich and can simply buy both. Lucky for some.
In the end, "#PostyStore" won fans over.
Following last year’s "Not everything makes the cut" starring Harrison Ford, Amazon enlisted talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, for a spot exploring life before Alexa.
The tongue-in-cheek ad tackles everything from fake news to flat Earth, with a cheeky nod to Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal thrown in for good measure.
Set to Let It Go from Frozen (and believed to be the first commercial use of the popular Disney track since it was released in 2013), Audi’s Super Bowl film sees Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams get behind the wheel of the brand’s e-tron Sportback before quickly getting caught in a traffic jam.
"Today’s high temperature is eight degrees above normal," a radio reports, prompting the actress to show off her vocal stylings as she switches lanes towards a "more sustainable future".
Doritos 'The cool ranch' by Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Old Town Road singer Lil Nas X lands himself in a Clint Eastwood-inspired dance-off with actor Sam Elliott, all over a packet of Cool Ranch Doritos.
The pair exchange fancy footwork before Nas rides off into the sunset, crisps in hand, while his chart-topping track plays in the background. Billy Ray Cyrus also makes an appearance.
Everyone’s favourite celebrity couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen sabotage a pyramid of oysters to promote luxury car marque Genesis.
Celebrating the death of "old luxury", the spot sees Teigen grill partygoers – including "guy who thinks his loud shirt is a personality", "woman who claims she hasn’t had any plastic surgery" and "guy who leans on everybody for some reason" – before hailing the beginning of "new luxury" to promote the GV80.
As well as promoting Kia’s Seltos SUV, the ad boasts a commitment to organisations assisting homeless youth.
The film follows Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs as he describes his experience of growing up homeless, encouraging children in similar situations to "be tougher than the world" around them.
The Old Spice guy returns to invite his son to join the family business of wearing towels and riding dolphins. However, after differing on their use of Old Spice products, Isaiah Mustafa encourages his son to "smell like [his] own man".
Hyundai went full Boston to promote Sonata’s "wicked smaht" Remote Smart Parking Assist, with help from Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch and David "Big Papi" Ortiz.
It turns out Krasinski’s "ghost car" can park just about everywhere, from Dorchester to Swampscott – a "game changer", apparently.
Budweiser 'Typical American' by David Miami
Budweiser celebrates the "typical American" with reference to some generalisations about the nation.
From being "competitive" to "showing up uninvited", the brand juxtaposes negative stereotypes with wholesome clips from across the US, encouraging Americans to show the world "what typical can do".
It was shot by Oscar Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.
Cheetos 'Can’t touch this' by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Cheetos has launched its own popcorn and who better to promote its finger-staining goodness than MC Hammer himself?
Set to Can’t Touch This, the ad showcases all the things Cheetos fans can’t do, such as carrying furniture and carrying babies.
Google 'Loretta' (in-house)
Google’s heartbreaking spot "Loretta" follows one man’s bid to remember his late wife, with the help of Google Assistant.
After searching "how not to forget", the man asks his Assistant to remember the little things about Loretta, from her favourite flowers to her laugh, as well as her message for him: "Don’t miss me too much and get out of the damn house."
Heinz 'Find the goodness' by Wieden & Kennedy New York
In a daring twist, Heinz opted to show four ads at once during the Super Bowl.
Set in a creepy diner, a gothic mansion, a futuristic-looking family home and an actual future, the spots take a light-hearted turn as a bottle of ketchup appears, urging consumers to "find the goodness" in all scenarios.
This marks Wieden & Kennedy New York's first time working with the brand.
Presenter Jimmy Fallon and professional wrestler John Cena work up a sweat to promote beer brand Michelob Ultra.
After golfing, playing volleyball and running with Usain Bolt, the pair unwind with a low-calorie pint, prompting the tagline: "It’s only worth it if you enjoy it."
Microsoft 'Be the one: Katie Sowers' by McCann
Microsoft’s film follows the story of Katie Sowers, an assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers who made history as the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl.
Echoing her childhood dreams to "be in a real football team", Sowers discusses her experience as a female leader in a predominantly male sport, encouraging others to challenge the status quo regardless of what others might think.
Mountain Dew 'As good as the original' by TBWA
Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston recreates The Shining in Mountain Dew’s spot.
Neon bottle in hand, Cranston breaks through the bathroom door and declares "Here’s Mountain Dew Zero", before handing his terrified spouse a drink.
It ends with a homage to Stanley Kubric’s legendary elevator scene, recreated with bright green liquid.
NFL 'Anquan Boldin' by 72andSunny
NFL’s ad addresses the controversial police shooting of former star Anquan Boldin’s cousin, Corey Jones, who was killed by a police officer in 2015.
With reference to police records and clips of grieving family members, the spot discusses Boldin’s efforts to start a players' coalition to encourage change across the US.
"The best way to inspire change is to be it," Boldin concludes.
Olay '#MakeSpaceForWomen' by Badger & Winters
Olay’s Super Bowl spot asks: "Is there enough space in space for women?"
With cameos from Busy Philipps, Lilly Singh and astronaut Nicole Stott, the ad promotes Olay’s work with Girls Who Code, a non-profit aiming to increase the number of women educated in computer science.
Pepsi 'Done right' by Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Missy Elliott and HER star in Pepsi’s Coke-bashing spot, which makes use of a daring cover of Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones.
Red cola bottles slowly turn black as an army of women, dressed in red, literally break apart from the crowd to embrace something darker.
Pop-Tarts 'Pop-Tarts fixed the pretzel commercial' by MRY
Pop-Tarts enlisted Queer Eye star and beauty guru Jonathan Van Ness to promote the new pretzel range.
Inspired by the cringe-worthy stylings of ads past, the spot appeals to those who are "strugs to snack", with Pop-Tarts claiming to have "fixed the pretzel" in a kamikaze of glitter and slo-mo shots.
Porsche went rogue with a high-speed chase through Germany, all to promote its electric Taycan model.
After a Taycan is stolen from the Porsche museum, a team of security guards get behind the wheel of some of the brand’s most famous models (as well as the farm-friendly Porsche-Diesel Super), before ending up in rural Germany.
The team eventually track down the thief (who turns out to also be a security guard at the museum) and the ad ends as they bicker over who will be "the bad guy" next time.
Pringles 'Rick and Morty x Pringles' by Grey
Pringles partners Adult Swim for an ad starring animated duo Rick and Morty. Set in the show’s cartoon world, the spot explores the phenomenon of creating new flavour combos by stacking flavours on top of each other.
Things take a turn, however, when Rick realises he is in a Pringles ad, ripping Morty’s face off to discover he is a robot.
It ends when a wave of faceless Morty-bots storm into the living room, promoting the idea of "stacking Pringles to make endless new flavours".
Reese’s Take 5 'Rock' by Mcgarrybowen
Reese's parent Hershey’s seized its moment to promote a new chocolate bar, Take 5.
The spot sees a chocolate fan ask a baby if it was "born yesterday" and an alien if it is "from another planet", hailing the snack as "the best bar you’ve never heard of".
Snickers '#SnickersFixTheWorld' by BBDO New York
With the world in disarray, Snickers hopes to "fix the world" via its chocolate-covered goodness.
In a world where "grown men ride scooters", "politics makes us sick" and "the surveillance state’s got brand new tricks", people of the world congregate to feed the world a giant Snickers bar.
SodaStream 'SodaStream discovers waters on Mars' by Goodby Silverstein & Partners
SodaStream’s spot follows two astronauts as they discover the first pool of water on Mars.
The voyagers race back to their shuttle, while on Earth scientists and society alike celebrate the groundbreaking discovery (including Bill Nye the Science Guy), before an unaware member of the team carbonates the water and drinks it in front of his heartbroken peers.
Squarespace 'Winona in Winona' (in-house)
Winona Ryder loiters around Winona in Squarespace’s Super Bowl spot.
After being confronted by a police officer as she sits beside a "Welcome to Winona" sign, the Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice star talks through her plans to make a website for the Minnesota city, emphasising that the website will "have pictures".
The ad ends with the website link for "Welcome to Winona", prompting the tagline: "A website makes it real."
(This article first appeared on CampaignLive.co.uk)