Super Bowl Ad Playbook

Fasten your seat belts. Or maybe don’t bother.

This Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV commercials will be so full of cars jockeying for position—at least seven automakers are expected at the starting line, with three other auto-related marketers along for the ride—that it could easily feel like gridlock.

If one car spot after another isn’t your idea of fun, the broadcast will aim to amuse in other ways, including oddball musical and comedy pairings (Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne for first-timer Best Buy; Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr for longtimer Snickers) and random celebrity endorsers (Faith Hill for Teleflora, Kim Kardashian for Skechers). Consumer creativity will again be on display, for better or worse, with Pepsi Max joining Doritos to supersize the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest from three spots to six.

Old friends like the CareerBuilder chimps, the E*Trade babies and the Budweiser Clydesdales are also back. Expect great (though at press time, nebulous) things from Coke, and perhaps less great things from HomeAway and GoDaddy.

And let’s hope there’s a poignant and pleasant surprise in the mix, à la Google’s “Parisian Love” from last year. For now, here’s what we know about this year’s spots.