This is it. The big show. Sunday is the one day a year when people actively watch, talk about, and get excited for TV ads. Considering how they spend the other 364 days trying to avoid them at all costs, the Super Bowl is effectively Opposite Day for all of advertising. A big reason for that is the sheer amount of money these brands shell out to get a celebrity of any kind to be in their commercial.
The celebrity Super Bowl ad is a curious art form, one that has us all sitting on the edge of our seats to find out how great or embarrassing it’ll be. For every Betty White taking tackles for Snickers, there’s got to be at least one Kevin Federline “rapping” for Nationwide.
Who will be the 2019 celebrity ad winners and losers? Take a look at all the celebrity spots for Super Bowl LIII so far to find out for yourself:
Amazon “Not Everything Makes the Cut”
Celebrity count: 4, plus 2 spacemen (Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly)
Hot take: Once again, Amazon comes in hot with a broad collection of celebrities joking about the potential downside of our AI-assisted future. It’s the perfect mix of fun brand voice and impending technocratic overlord.
Expensify “2 Chainz x Adam Scott”
Celebrity count: 2 (2 Chainz and Adam Scott)
Hot take: This is funny and unexpected coming from a brand that’s not exactly a household name. Taking it to the next level is integrating its product into an actual full 2 Chainz music video that doubles as a ridiculous user contest.
Hyundai “The Elevator”
Celebrity count: 1 (Jason Bateman)
Hot take: Every mannerism we’ve come to know and love from 35 years as a TV and movie star. In an elevator. Bateman’s gonna Bateman.
Michelob Ultra Pure Gold “The Pure Experience”
Celebrity count: 1 (Zoe Kravitz)
Hot take: Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . .
Pepsi “More than OK”
Celebrity count: 3 (Steve Carell, Lil Jon, and Cardi B)
Hot take: Who doesn’t love Steve Carell (when he’s not playing with small dolls)? Funny, charming, and based on a true insight that Pepsi’s often seen as an alternative. Plus, the way Cardi B seamlessly trades in her Alexa Super Bowl skills from last year for a sugar water check this year is damn impressive.
Bubly “Can I have a bublé?”
Celebrity count: 1 (Michael Bublé)
Hot take: Pepsi’s flavored sparkling water brand goes gimmicky in maybe the most charmingly earnest way. Kind of like its chosen celebrity endorser.
Celebrity count: 1 (Serena Williams)
Hot take: Williams continues her impressive run of advertising voice-overs that could double as inspirational speeches.
Celebrity count: 6 (Chance the Rapper, and a very generous accounting of every member of the Backstreet Boys as famous)
Hot take: Last year Doritos had Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage rapping, but here the brand goes a bit more traditional with its musical choices, backing Chance the Rapper with the Backstreet Boys in a fun, if uneven, spot.
Colgate “Close Talker”
Celebrity count: 1 (Luke Wilson)
Luke Wilson!? Someone found him, and it was a toothpaste brand. Just kidding! He’s been around, just not in as high profile a fashion as his Old School heyday. Looking forward to seeing him in The Goldfinch later this year though and . . . don’t forget to floss.
Mercedes-Benz “Say the Word”
Celebrity count: 1 (Ludacris)
Hot take: Yes, what we need is another white dude getting whatever he wants.
Olay “Killer Skin”
Celebrity count: 1 (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
Hot take: Remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The cult hit was a fun mix of heart and humor, myth and monster. This is an overly worn horror movie ad trope dressed up for the big game.
M&Ms “Bad Passengers”
Celebrity count: 1 (Christina Applegate)
Hot take: A funny, cute, but ultimately standard Super Bowl ad. Once again, these living M&Ms are forced to promote the idea of their own homicide.
Avocados From Mexico “Top Dog”
Celebrity count: 1 (Kristin Chenoweth)
Hot take: The ad’s okay, but the real show is the digital effort behind it that uses IBM’s Watson AI to match you up with a dog adoption in your area.
Turkish Airlines “#THEJOURNEY”
Celebrity count: 2 (Ridley Scott and Sylvia Hoeks from Blade Runner 2049)
Hot take: This is the behind-the-scenes of a six-minute short film directed by Scott, which will be sliced and diced into a Super Bowl ad. If Scott isn’t the godfather of Super Bowl ad directors, he’s close, thanks to Apple’s iconic “1984”–and Nissan’s 1990 “Dreamer” wasn’t too shabby either. The full new short looks like it’ll be the action flick, airport promo, and airline ad that we didn’t know we wanted. It’ll be on Turkish Airlines social channels after the game.
Planters “Mr. Peanut Is Always There In Crunch Time”
Celebrity count: 2 (Charlie Sheen, Alex Rodriguez)
Hot take: What sweet hot mess set to “Dr. Feelgood” is this?! This is the kind of ad that should run late in the third quarter, when everyone is juuuust full enough of wings and light beer to openly guffaw at the Sheen cameo and hardy-har-har at a kale chips joke. Timing is everything.
Stella Artois “Change Up the Usual”
Celebrity count: 2 (Sarah Jessica Parker, Jeff Bridges)
Hot take: Blasphemy!