The Ads of Super Bowl XLVI: Adweek’s Preview

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

Headshot of Tim Nudd

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.


    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

    Agency: To be determined

    Creative: One 60-second spot. Model is not yet clear.

  11. Coca-Cola

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

    Creative: The polar bears return—one rooting for the Patriots, one for the Giants. An introductory :30 in the first quarter will be followed by one of two different :60s in the second (one of them is posted above), depending on which team is winning.

  12. Dannon

    Agency: None (crowdsourced by Poptent, San Clemente, Calif.)

    Creative: The :30 above will air in the third quarter for Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt, starring John Stamos.

  13. Doritos

    Agency: None (consumer-generated)

    Creative: Two :30s—the top vote-getters from among the five finalists in the brand's Crash the Super Bowl contest. One of the finalists is posted above.

  14. E*Trade

    Agency: Grey, New York

    Creative: The :30 above. The E*Trade baby reassures a new dad about planning for his newborn daughter's future, with help from E*Trade Financial Consultants.

  15. General Electric

    Agency: BBDO, New York

    Creative: The two :45s shown here—one in the first quarter and one in the third—focusing on GE employees and how the company helps keep the economy moving and other businesses and whole communities humming.

    Agencies: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; Fallon, Minneapolis; McCann New York and Detroit

    Creative: Chevrolet plans to air three :60s. One is from Goodby for the Sonic. Another is consumer-generated for the Camaro. The third :60, an apocalyptic one, is for the Silverado. All three are posted above. Plus, Cadillac will air the :30 below, by Fallon, for the ATS sport sedan. An animated :30 for the Chevy Sonic (also below) by McCann will air right after the game's final whistle, featuring the voice of Hank Azaria.

  1. Go Daddy

    Agency: In-house

    Creative: The two :30s above. One stars Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels painting a woman's body with messages about .co domains. The other is a dream sequence with Patricks and the Pussycat Dolls.

  2. H&M

    Agency: In-house

    Creative: The :30 above for the new David Beckham Bodywear collection, starring the soccer superstar, will air during the second quarter.

  3. History

    Agency: In-house

    Creative: A promo from the cable network for its unscripted series Swamp People.

  4. Honda

    Agency: RPA, Santa Monica, Calif.

    Creative: One :60 in the fourth quarter for the Honda CR-V compact crossover, starring Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller. Extended spot above.

  5. Hulu

    Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, Colo.

    Creative: Teaser above. One in-game spot will star Will Arnett as another Hulu alien who's trying to turn human brains to mush with endless TV, this time provided by Hulu Plus.

  6. Hyundai

    Agency: Innocean, Huntington Beach, Calif.

    Creative: One first-quarter :30 for the Veloster Turbo, and one fourth-quarter :30 for the Genesis Coupe R-spec. Both are posted above. Hyundai will also air two pre-game :30s and a pre-kick :60.

  7. Kia

    Agency: David&Goliath, El Segundo, Calif.

    Creative: A :60 cutdown of the :90 above, with Mötley Crüe, Adriana Lima and UFC fighter Chuck Liddell in an extreme dream sequence pitching the Snow White Pearl Optima Limited.

  8. Lexus

    Agency: Attik, San Francisco

    Creative: The :30 above will air in the first half for the 2013 GS.

  9. Mars/M&M's

    Agency: BBDO, New York

    Creative: One :30 in the first quarter will introduce a new character, Ms. Brown, as the candy brand's "chief chocolate officer."

  10. MetLife

    Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, Colo.

    Creative: A spot in which the Peanuts gang are joined by more than 50 other cartoon characters to promote a new campaign with the tagline, "I can do this."

  11. NFL

    Agency: Grey, New York

    Creative: The league has two and a half minutes of airtime during the game. It will spend 60 seconds at the end of the third quarter talking about player safety, with a long kick return illustrating the evolution of the game—and its equipment and rules—through the years.

  12. Pepsi

    Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles

    Creative: One :60 starring The X Factor winner Melanie Amaro and Elton John, and one :30 for PepsiMax with a cameo by Regis Philbin. Both are posted above.

  13. Samsung

    Agency: 72andsunny, Los Angeles

    Creative: A :90 in the fourth quarter for the upcoming Galaxy Note phone. It will be the first ad ever directed by Bobby Farrelly. Teaser spot above. 

  14. Skechers

    Agency: Siltanen & Partners, El Segundo, Calif.

    Creative: The :30 above will air in the second quarter. A French bulldog, Mr. Quiggly, uses his GoRun sneakers to outrun some greyhounds at a dog track. Mark Cuban costars.

  15. Teleflora

    Agency: Fire Station (in-house)

    Creative: The :30 above will air during the second quarter. Supermodel Adriana Lima prepares for a special Valentine's Day date in an elegant setting.

  16. Toyota

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles

    Creative: Two :30s for the 2012 Camry. One :30 will be a shorter version of the :60 above.

  17. Volkswagen

    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles

    Creative: A :60 cutdown of the :75 above will air during the game for the 2012 Beetle. A dog gets in shape to chase a Beetle down the road, while a twist ending pays homage to Star Wars. The earlier teaser spot is posted below.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.