15 Ads You Won’t Want to Miss During Super Bowl LI

Our pre-game preview of noteworthy spots

John Malkovich doesn't stay this happy in Squarespace's amusing Super Bowl spot.

With Super Bowl LI just a few day away, sports fans can look forward to an offensively minded shootout, while advertising fans are equally excited for the biggest matchup of creative quality of the year.

Yes, it’s one of those rare times your friends and family will ask you to shut up during commercial breaks. Brands and their agencies are pulling out all the stops to create the most buzzworthy, memorable :30s, :60s and :90s they hope will break through the clutter.

Though the cost of a 30-second spot has historically risen by $250,000 each year, pricing is more modestly above 2016’s contest, at just north of $5 million to air on Fox. A few brands have chosen this year to debut in the Super Bowl, like Procter & Gamble brands Mr. Clean and Febreze—perhaps they saw an opportunity in the void left by former SB regulars Doritos or Toyota, both of which are sitting out this year’s game.

What’s not changed much is the parade of celebrities popping up, including Melissa McCarthy starring in an ad for Kia, and Cam Newton and Miranda Kerr teaming up for Buick.

Many won’t debut until their game-time slot, but here’s a look at some of the spots and teasers that are already generating attention. We’ll be watching to see how they play out among viewers on Feb. 5.

And in case you haven’t been keeping up, check out our Ad Tracker at Adweek.com for the latest news as it updates with teasers and full spots as we get them.

 

Budweiser

This year’s ad from Budweiser features an immigration theme as it focuses on the history of Adolphus Busch and how he came to America. The ad, from Anomaly, is titled “Born the Hard Way,” and the company is hoping the ad will tug on viewers’ heartstrings.

 

Sprint

Droga5 brings the funny with this darkly comic 30-second Sprint spot, in which a father goes to extremes to get out of his Verizon contract. Luckily, the Sprint guy (formerly the Verizon guy!) shows up, hiking sticks in hand, to dissuade him.

 

Mr. Clean

Procter & Gamble has come to the Big Game to play, touting a few cleaning brands this year (including Febreze and Tide). A big departure for the brand’s, er, more squeaky clean past, this third-quarter spot from Leo Burnett Toronto has our hero channeling Magic Mike and getting a homemaker all hot and bothered.

 

Kia

Though some brands are shying away from celebrities this year, Kia is embracing Melissa McCarthy full-on. She’s been narrating smaller spots for the new Niro marque, and she stars in a third-quarter spot, all from David&Goliath. The full spot features all of her physical comedy chops.

 

Avocados From Mexico

Easily the weirdest Super Bowl advertiser of late—remember #AvosInSpace from 2016?—this year, the fruit brand embraces the #AvoSecrets held by a cloaked society. The ad features Jon Lovitz, only subliminally, and was created by GSD&M.

 

GoDaddy

After a backlash for a 2015 spot it ended up not running in the game, GoDaddy sat out the SB in 2016. But the web domain is back, this year attempting to “personify the internet.” The full spot is titled “The Internet Wants You,” features cats on Roombas, and was created by the agency Bullish.

 

Audi

This automaker had a great year of advertising in 2016, and it’s starting off 2017 in unexpected fashion—by devoting its 60-second Super Bowl spot (via Venables Bell & Partners) to the progressive cause of equal pay. It’s an interesting move by the company, which says “progress” and moving culture forward is in its DNA.