Ah, Super Bowl Sunday. The one day every year in which people come together and actually care about watching the commercials.
It's no secret that the honor of airing your commercial during the big game is an incredibly pricey expenditure, and the price is even going up. Last year, CBS charged between $3.7 million and $3.8 million for a 30-second spot but FOX has slightly upped the price to an average of $4 million. That figure represents a steady increase from year-to-year; in 2011, the average price was right around $3 million.
While some commercials will be a total surprise to viewers on Sunday, many companies are taking a different route by getting the word out ahead of time with teasers to get people talking. It's kind of a twofer strategy in that it lets everyone see your product and ramps up the excitement weeks before we even see the final version. Talking about the 2013 crop of ads last year, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed put the strategy's payoff into context when he talked to the crew of CBS This Morning:
I think you're going to find that come the game people will be like "shush, shush, stop here comes the Taco Bell ad, you have to see this."
One place you can check out a ton at once is the YouTube Ad Blitz, which offers an entire gallery of teasers for viewers to check out and discuss. YouTube normally holds a voting period after the game to determine the top commercial, but this year the site changed it up by adding content beforehand.
Regardless of advertising strategy, we love the annual pop culture institution that is the Super Bowl commercial. As a primer for this year's slate of ads, take a look through the list to see which commercials people will probably be talking about around the water cooler come Monday morning.
Who doesn't love a surprise appearance from Ahhnold? Everyone's favorite action star-turned-Governator is coming to our TVs this year in a commercial for Bud Light, which is planning to show five ads during the 2014 game.
Bud Light will be showing three ads with the slogan "The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens" and subsequent hashtag #UpForWhatever. To that end, the company released two teasers featuring a buff-as-ever (and long-haired) Schwarzenegger warming up for what looks like the most epic of ping pong games.
Though our only clue was originally the phrase "whatever is coming," Bud Light released an almost four-minute film showing all three spots together. Don Cheadle and Reggie Watts also make appearances in one fan's crazy night full of surprises.
In addition to the celebrity ads, Budweiser will also run a follow-up to last year's heartwarming "Brotherhood" commercial that featured a Clydesdale trainer and his horse, only this time there's a puppy! "Puppy Love" was released on Wednesday and had already melted over 20 million hearts into gross little puddles over on YouTube.
Your postgame commercial discussion among friends will likely include "but the puppy!" at some point.
For the second year in a row, Pepsi is sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show and will be airing a spot to introduce the Bruno Mars/Red Hot Chili Peppers extravaganza and help you "Get Hyped for Halftime."
According to Ad Age, the ad will show scenes from the New York City area, which is hosting the big game for the first time. The soda giant has also been showing a fun retro ad about the "birth" of halftime, featuring Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" playing in the background.
Coca-Cola, meanwhile, will air an ad in the second quarter and another during the second half. One is a football-themed ad that was filmed in Green Bay, Wisc. called "Going All the Way." As for the second spot, not all of the details have been revealed, but word has it that roller skates, tap dancers, and the celebration of 'American society' are involved.
The Millenials are going to love this one.
Last week it was revealed that one ad will feature a Full House reunion of sorts when Dave Coulier and Bob Saget of the classic 90s sitcom join co-star John Stamos for his latest Dannon Oikos commercial. There's a great hat tip to the show in the teaser as Bob Saget wonders "do you think it's time we all got our own places?"
Dannon actually released the full version on Sunday, which you can take a look at here. Looks like they decided to stick together after all! Stamos was surprised to see that they went ahead and released the whole thing already, but Full House fans probably won't mind seeing it more than once.
The Doritos ads tend to do well every Super Bowl, thanks to the annual contest inviting enterprising creators to produce their own spot for the chance to win $1 million and a job on the Avengers sequel.
The eighth annual "Crash The Super Bowl" contest has narrowed it down to five finalists, one of which will win the grand prize awarded by an online fan vote. Doritos will choose a winner of its own to fill the other ad slot, though the pick won't receive any prize money. But hey, having your spot shown during the Super Bowl is nothing to sneeze at.
One of the winners could be this cute entry submitted by Raj Suri and Ryan Thomas Anderson (and starring Anderson's son and dog), which only cost $200 and eight hours to make. Suri said the commercial has more universal appeal than the others, but what do you think?
Voting is now closed, but you can still see all five finalists here and decide for yourself which one is worthy of $1 million. Business Insider is predicting that this borderline NSFW entry will take the fan vote, but I'm putting my money on this whodunnit starring an office worker and an offended ostrich.
Often known for providing the more risque commercials every year (remember last year's spot featuring Bar Refaeli making out with Jesse Heiman, complete with nauseating kissy sounds?), GoDaddy has decided to tone it down a bit but still make two ads we're definitely going to be talking about.
In the first quarter, GoDaddy will advertise for its Website Builder & Get Found products by airing a woman's real-life resignation from her job. Actor John Turturro is said to be introducing the woman, whose identity is known only by her father and the commercial's production team. A lot of people are sure to be talking about this one at the office, but her boss will no doubt be having an interesting Monday next week.
Next up is longtime GoDaddy spokeswoman Danica Patrick appearing in her 13th commercial for the web hosting site, this time ditching the body paint for an outrageous muscle suit and racing a stampede of beefcakes to the tanning salon a woman has successfully advertised with the help of the company.
David Beckham + underwear = successful commercial. Becks has been a spokesman for H&M since 2012 and has teamed up with the clothing company again to promote the Bodywear Spring 2014 line. Naturally, that involves said bodywear and the soccer star in his skivvies.
H&M went the interactive route this year and taped two versions, which people are invited to vote for online. The choices are #covered and #uncovered, but rest assured there's plenty of skin down whichever road you choose.
"I think I know what one is gonna end up being shown, which is even more nerve-wracking," Beckham said about the commercial. "Obviously going it on the rooftop for three days kind of almost naked was a little bit cold but a lot of fun."
Voting ends on Saturday, so there's still time to exercise your right to vote on how much David Beckham you'd like to see.
If anything, this one will wind up as the source material for endless gif sets on Tumblr. Jaguar's 60-second commercial will air in the third quarter and stars the delightful Tom Hiddleston, aka Loki from Thor/The Avengers and the apple of many a fangirl's eye.
Fellow Brits Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler's List) and Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Sherlock Holmes) round out a trio of slick villains living up to the hashtag #GoodToBeBad in the ad for the new F-Type directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King's Speech).
The teaser shows Kingsley waiting for the other two to rendezvous with him, but if you're in suspense over what hijinks they get into, you can see the full version released this week here. Spoiler alert: it involves the ever-so-British Hiddleston drinking tea.
Typically, every time the Super Bowl comes around we are already familiar with an ad or two that has spurned some sort of controversy before the game. For 2014, chances are good you've probably heard about the SodaStream ad starring Scarlett Johansson and the line that was edited out.
Fox took exception to ScarJo saying "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi" at the end of the ad and although CEO Dan Birnbaum was none too pleased with what he called the network's fear of SodaStream's biggest competitors (who also have ads airing Sunday), a version without the offending line will be shown. You can see the uncensored version here.
A similar fate befell SodaStream last year when CBS requested that the company omit the digs it made at Coke and Pepsi, which included two bumbling delivery guys in an ad set to "Dueling Banjos."
There's bound to be no shortage of Super Bowl commercials advertising for cars this year, and in 2014 VW is bringing its A game. Then again, VW typically contributes solid ads each time around; who could forget the 2011 ad featuring the adorable tiny Darth Vader using the Force?
This one takes a bit of an It's a Wonderful Life twist when a father informs his daughter that every time a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles a German engineer gets his wings. Cut to-what else-a spate of shocked engineers sprouting fluffy wings (and something equally magical for 200,000 miles). Look for this one to pop up sometime during the second quarter.
Even if it's not your favorite, Al Roker found it positively gut-busting when the Today crew previewed it on the air.
Finally, Comedy Central savants will get a kick out of seeing Wonderful Pistachios' latest celebrity spokesman in the form of Stephen Colbert himself.
The 21-second teaser released last week doesn't give us much of an idea of what he'll be doing for the full commercial, but we do hear the screech of the eagle from The Colbert Report's opening montage, so having a majestic guest star doesn't seem out of the question (and it would no doubt majestically complement Colbert's patriotic persona).