Photo-Illustration: Vulture and YouTube
Peggy Olson was just starting to tackle the Super Bowl commercial craze in the penultimate season of Mad Men. And now, over 50 years after Super Bowl II, the “big game” is still the prime programming slot for advertisers, who shell out north of $5 million to capture American eyeballs for 30 seconds, according to Reuters. It’s true that viewership has dipped in recent years. Last year, 98.2 million people tuned in, the lowest ratings in over a decade. But the brands are still cranking out the commercials, and this year’s crop of is a wild medley of moods. From a Doritos dance battle starring Lil Nas X to a Maisie Williams musical number, these ads will take you to some interesting places.
What’s more tender than an avocado-themed music box adorned with a rotating miniature bowl of guacamole? Perhaps only Molly Ringwald holding said music box as part of a QVC-inspired commercial.
Chris Evans, John Krasinski, and Rachel Dratch channel big Boston energy to show off Hyundai’s new parking technology, featuring Red Sox legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz.
The tech giant recruited Chris Rock to launch … something.
Mr. Peanut reaches sainthood in this Planters ad, featuring Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes, sparking a controversial #RIPPeanut campaign.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs serves us Friday Night Lights vibes as he waxes poetic to his younger self about striving to “be someone.”
Chrissy Teigen disses a crowd of stuffy rich people in an attempt to inject some young luxury realness. When the plan goes awry, she hitches a ride with her husband John Legend in a Genesis SUV, on the condition that she addresses him as “sexiest man alive.”
What happens when MC Hammer eats Cheetos in the midst of a melodic epiphany? Nothing short of musical genius.
Discover Card attempts to strike internet gold with this new ad, splicing together iconic movie, TV, and vlog moments of people saying “yes” to underscore that people do indeed take Discover Card.
We get it, Discover doesn’t charge annual fees. The credit card brand mimics the style of their previous commercial to make this very clear.
Lil Nas X and resident cowboy actor Sam Elliott go for a little hoedown throwdown in the Old West. Stakes are high: The winner takes home a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.
Maisie Williams won’t let the heat of climate change get her down. Instead, she keeps it cool, singing Frozen anthem “Let It Go” in an Audi electric Sportback. It puts La La Land’s traffic-jam musical opening to shame.
The corporate retail behemoth highlights American communities set to the tune of Elton John’s “Rocketman.”
Scout, the “Lucky Dog” from last year’s WeatherTech Super Bowl campaign, plays on our heartstrings as he praises the University of Wisconsin’s veterinary school.
Budweiser wants to show us that Americans aren’t the worst.
Bud Light takes us inside of Post Malone’s brain à la Inside Out as he attempts to buy the brand’s hard seltzer.
The Bud Light Post Malone saga continues as he tries the mango seltzer flavor. Watch out, White Claw.
An elderly man recruits Google Assistant to keep the memory of his late wife Loretta alive. Grab a tissue, this one almost matches the emotional punch of the Ellie and Carl sequence in Up.
After downing a bottle of Michelob Ultra, Jimmy Fallon runs with a pep in his step, accompanied by motivational music courtesy of the Roots.
Michelob Ultra Pure Gold has an interesting proposition: If you buy a six-pack, the company will convert some farmland to organic standards. Their impact!
“Paint It, Black” gets an update with this Pepsi Zero Sugar ad featuring Missy Elliot and H.E.R.
Katie Sowers, the first female football coach to reach the Super Bowl, clutches a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 as she makes some stuff happen on the field.
Your favorite Queer Eye star takes snacking from “ho-hum to so yum.”
Reese’s takes its jokes very literally.
There are few things more thrilling than watching Bryan Cranston smash through a door while touting sugarless soda. Tracee Ellis Ross has a killer scream, too.
Porsche gives us action-packed heist vibes. All it needs is a Teriyaki Boyz soundtrack.
Snickers laments the state of things in 2020. No more nondairy milk and corrupt politicians, Snickers is here!
Help! The characters of Rick and Morty are trapped in a Pringles commercial. How many flavors will it take?!
Whether you’re entering extraterrestrial territory or unloading U-Haul boxes into a haunted house, Heinz is that reliable friend, a companion to french fries and frightened families alike.
Taraji P. Henson, Busy Phillips, and Lilly Singh launch a mission into the stratosphere with some help from NASA astronaut Nicole Scott. Really a dream space squad.
After Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi marvel at the convenience of modern technology, this ad plunges into period-piece mode, giving us some amusing, historicized iterations of Alexa.
Get ready to learn about tax deductions and mobile form uploads to the tune of a catchy, New Orleans bounce–inspired track. Also, everyone does the butterfly dance.
New York Life Insurance gets poetic, defining all the ways to love, according to the Ancient Greeks.
In a heroic sequence featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy, we witness the discovery of water on Mars. It’s a marvel, a gem. Too bad a guy named Mark turns it into seltzer.
Rainn Wilson takes us inside the headquarters of Sliced Bread, which tries to put up a fight against a more compelling carb.
For anyone who needs an excuse to power up their cyber security in 2020, the password management platform Dashlane is pretty convincing in this spooky commercial.
Winona Ryder returns to her birthplace (and namesake) in this very pure Squarespace commercial. She explains to a curious cop that she is creating a website about the Minnesota city “with pictures on it.” You can even check out the impressive fruits of her labor.