The Ads of Super Bowl XLVI: Adweek’s Preview

Auto brands will crowd the field again, but expect some fresh faces, too

The Super Bowl is fast becoming an auto show. And last year's record number of car-related spots have led to an even bigger haul this year. Expect close to 20 separate auto (or auto-related) commercials in the game—that's almost one-third of the total number of spots—from brands including Acura, Audi, Bridgestone, Cars. com, Chrysler, General Motors (Chevrolet and Cadillac), Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Acura and Lexus are first-time Bowl advertisers, and they'll be joined by a larger number of newbies than usual. Among them: tax-prep software 2nd Story, real-estate giant Century 21, yogurt-maker Dannon and retail clothing chain H&M.

Of course, the game will have familiar faces, from Coca-Cola and Pepsi to Anheuser-Busch, CareerBuilder, E*Trade, Go Daddy and Mars, this time pitching M&M's rather than Snickers. Volkswagen has the heaviest burden of having to live up to last year's intergalactic success of "The Force." And at first glance, Coke has the most interesting plans, with the plot of its second-quarter spot dependent on what's happening on the field.

Check out our Super Bowl hub here, where we'll have news and analysis all week long, a live blog during the game, and lots of post-game coverage, too. In the meantime, here's a run-down of what to expect on Sunday.

  1. 2nd Story Software

    Agency: J.W. Morton and Associates, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Creative: One :30 in the first quarter. The makers of TaxACT will emphasize that the TaxACT Free Federal Edition tax-preparation software is free for everyone.

  2. Acura 

    Agency: rp&, Los Angeles

    Creative: Jerry Seinfeld will star in a 60-second spot for the Acura NSX, with a cameo by Jay Leno. The extended version is posted above. Seinfeld tries to bribe a man who's ahead of him on the waiting list for an NSX.

  3. Audi

    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco

    Creative: The :60 above will air in the first break after kickoff. The 2013 Audi S7's LED headlights prove deadly for young vampires partying in the woods.

  4. Anheuser-Busch InBev

    Agency: Anomaly and Translation, both New York; mcgarrybowen, Chicago; Cannonball, St. Louis, Mo.

    Creative: Two stylish :30s for Bud Light Platinum by Translation. One :60 for Bud Light by mcgarrybowen, one :30 by Cannonball. Two sweeping, historical, connected :60s for Budweiser by Anomaly, with the Clydesdales.

  5. Best Buy

    Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, Colo.

    Creative: One :30 celebrating the ideas and inventions of people who changed the course of mobile technology—the "rock stars of technology." The spot will salute people like Philippe Kahn (above), creator of the camera phone; Kevin Systrom, creator of Instagram; and Jim McKelvey (below), co-founder of Square mobile.

  6. Bridgestone

    Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas

    Creative: Teaser spot above. Two :30s in the second and third quarters. A football, basketball, bowling ball and puck made of Bridgestone tire material change the sports world. Tim Duncan, Deion Sanders, Steve Nash and Troy Aikman star, among others.

  7. CareerBuilder

    Agency: In-house

    Creative: The :30 above. The brand's famous chimps make a business trip hell for a sad-sack worker, who could use a new job.

  8. Cars.com

    Agency: DDB, Chicago

    Creative: The :30 above will air during the third quarter. A man sprouts a second excitable, soul-singing head after an inspirational visit to the auto site.

  9. Century 21

    Agency: Red Tettemer + Partners, Philadelphia

    Creative: The :30 above will air in the third quarter, starring Donald Trump, Deion Sanders and Apolo Ohno, with Century 21 agents beating each icon at his own game.

  10. Chrysler