Super Bowl LVIII is just one day a way. And as well as seeing whether the NFC's San Francisco 49ers or the AFC's Kansas City Chiefs prevail on the pitch in Sunday's game, we'll see the results of many millions of dollars of marketing spending in the form of the best 2024 Super Bowl ads.
So who are the contenders? Some brands have already given the game away, as it were, releasing full Super Bowl ads in advance of the big day. Others prefer to maintain an element of anticipation and surprise, only posting trailers and teasers. Here's our pick of the ones to look out for, from the cutest and most powerful to the controversial and just plain weird (also see our roundup of the biggest Super Bowl design controversies).
The (dis)utopian Microsoft Co-Pilot AI Super Bowl ad
Microsoft has gone all in on AI of late, and its Super Bowl ad aims to convince us that this is paving the way for a utopian future where creatives will be able to make their dreams come true... by getting Copilot to the do the work for them. The 'gritty' minute-long piece focuses on the hardship of creating while somehow brushing over the fact that AI might make many skilled creative jobs obsolete.
The heartwarming Google Pixel 8 ad
AI is also the star of Google's Super Bowl 2024 ad for the Pixel 8, but Google shows a more wholly commendable aspect of the advances the tech is making possible. This emotive ad shows how its AI-powered Guided Frame feature is improving accessibility. The piece is directed by the blind filmmaker Adam Morse and aims to show how the feature can change the experience of users with low vision.
Uber Eats makes celebs forget
Thankfully, Uber Eats thought better of using AI to make its Super Bowl ad (that wouldn't have surprised us after those Uber Eats AI photos of menu items). Instead, it's the first of several on our list to spend part of their colossal budget on big name stars. The Beckhams are in there, plus Jelly Roll and Usher (we'll see more of him later) but most notable is the reunion of Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer from Friends. Only Jennifer doesn't seem to recall them having met. The premise is something about having to forget things in order to remember that you can buy food on Uber Eats, which sells the service about as well as those AI menu photos.
Apple loses Usher
It may be entirely accidental, but the Uber Eats Super Bowl commercial leads us smoothly into Apple's. Of course, Apple already has the biggest Super Bowl ad of all since Apple Music is sponsoring the half-time show, but, as we saw at the end of the Uber Eats ad, Usher appears to have forgotten that he's due to perform.
Apple hasn't released its final Super Bowl ad yet, but it has been teasing us with a star-studded comic caper that sees Tim Cook continue to hone his acting skills as Ludacris and co try to track Usher down. It's also followed up with an emotive trailer that has us hyped for the half time show (see below). But we expect there will be more from the tech giant, and surely an ad for Vision Pro?
Nerds presents a terrifying giant dancing gummy monster
In what could be a scene from the new Ghostbusters movie, the Nerds Super Bowl 2024 ad presents us with a giant dancing gummy, apparently trained to dance to Flashdance... What a Feeling by Addison Rae. The monster then covers himself in Nerds. Eww!
Morgan Stanley babies talk stocks on court
Continuing with the creepier side of this year's Super Bowl commercials, we're not sure what we think about this spot showing a pair of toddlers talking investment portfolios while they play the fad sport pickleball. Part of me thinks it's creepy and wants to hate it, but it's so adorably executed that it's hard not to chuckle.
Kate McKinnon' talking cat
Talking babies or talking cats, which is cutest? It's hard to measure which the public loves most, but Hellman's is going with a cat. After her success on Saturday Night Live and with Weird Barbie, Kate McKinnon is now selling mayonnaise. Despite sounding a bit cringeworthy, the Hellman's ad's actually quite endearing.
There's no Mr T in Skechers
What? There's no 'T' in the Skechers brand name? Since when? I'm with Mr T on this one. Learn to spell, fools!
Anthony Hopkins and STōk
There's more wry celebrity self-sendup here in this poetic piece for STōK Cold Brew coffee. Sir Anthony Hopkins reveals the challenges of his craft as he prepares for the killer role of Wrexham FC mascot Wrex the Dragon, now an international celebrity thanks to the documentary series Welcome to Wrexham.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Patrick Stewart, Drew Barrymore, Arnold (as in Hey Arnold), Master Chief, Peppa Pig and Knuckles from Sonic The Hedgehog are stranded on Mount Paramount. What are they going to do? Throw Arnold, Patrick Stewart suggests in this brilliantly daft skit. They all seem to have forgotten that Knuckles can climb, but if such a bizarre ensemble cast was brought together for a real show based on this scenario, it would actually be worth subscribing to Paramount+ for (please not that we do not condone throwing children at cliff faces, even if they have heads that look like footballs).
Chris Pratt stars as the Pringles mascot
Chris Pratt is most known as Star-Lord in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Owen Grady in the Jurassic World trilogy (2015–2022), but he's taken on what will surely be the biggest and most challenging role of his career for the 2024 Super Bowl. He will play the chip brand Pringles' famous mustachioed mascot Julius Pringles in what I hope will be a truly epic biopic.
We'll have to wait to see the full Pringles' opus, and of course to see who wins the Big Game now that the Super Bowl logo conspiracy theory has come unraveled.