Super Bowl commercials are a big deal.
At a cost of about $4.5 million for a 30-second spot that's often filled with celebrities, pop music, and special effects, advertisers are clearly willing to pay a premium to be a part of the big game.
And there's good reason for that. The game is the only television broadcast of the year guaranteed to draw a gigantic audience. Last year's game was watched by 111.5 million viewers, the most people who have ever watched a TV broadcast in the US. And that record will quite possibly be broken this year, with a game between the top seeds in the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. (Also, it will probably be broken because the US population and, thus, the total pool of potential viewers, keeps growing.)
Here are all the 2015 Super Bowl commercials, listed alphabetically by advertiser.
Always, "Like a Girl"
Always wonders why women's opinions of their own athletic abilities so often change after puberty with an ad that compares women discussing the phrase "run like a girl" as adults and as children. It's a shorter version of a popular viral video.
Avocados From Mexico, "First Draft Ever"
When trying to brand a product most people wouldn't think of as brandable (say, an avocado), there are few better ways than a Super Bowl commercial that builds to one big joke about your product. Sorry, polar bears.
BMW, "Newfangled Idea"
Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric, former Today co-hosts, reunite for this ad, in which they gently mock themselves as out-of-touch oldsters. However, BMW's new completely electric car might be a revolutionary idea, but we doubt it is as revolutionary an idea as the internet. Feel free to make an ad about this in 21 years, BMW.
Bud Light, "Real Life Pac-Man"
Bud Light continues its "Up for Whatever" campaign with a clever bit where a guy ends up in the maze from the video game Pac-Man, dodging ghosts and collecting fruit. At the end, he wins the Bud Light he was offered in the first place. At least he's preemptively burned off the calories.
Budweiser, "Brewed the Hard Way"
Appeals to masculinity are a big part of Super Bowl advertising, and Budweiser is frequently behind them. Here's a more subtle one, where Budweiser promises that its beer is "macho" and "brewed the hard way." Budweiser really put some elbow grease into that beer for you.
Budweiser, "Clydesdale Beer Run"
Can you imagine if your best friend was a Budweiser Clydesdale? You'd never be able to buy craft beer again! Don't disappoint the horse.
Budweiser, "Lost Dog"
Budweiser has gotten lots of mileage over the years out of cute animals. This ad is no different, with a cute, widdle puppy!!! trying to find his way home to his best friend, who is a horse. Yeah, the wolf in this one is probably unnecessary, but it's worth it for the ending, which is full of puppy triumph.
Carnival, "Return to the Sea"
What would make you want to take a cruise? The words of John F. Kennedy? Carnival sure hopes so.
Chevrolet, "Blackout Game"
This ad seriously overestimates how much we'd like to watch the game in a truck, even if it were the greatest truck in history.
Chevy's been airing lots of these ads recently about how much sexier men are to women (or how much cooler they are in general) if they're in a truck. Sure.
Clash of Clans, "Revenge"
This is mostly a long monologue from Liam Neeson, vowing revenge against the person who bested him in this mobile game. Not bad, and now we kind of hope AngryNeeson52 is actually a thing.
Coca Cola, "Make It Happy"
The only sure way to stop cyberbullying is to dump Coke into people's computers, as it turns out. The company keeps trying to revive the themes of its "Buy the World a Coke" days, with diminishing effect.
Why is there a screaming goat in this ad? Do we really need to know? Everything's better with a screaming goat.
Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) has yet to let us down, while George Clooney usually picks solid scripts. So we're tentatively excited for this one, and this spot only helps underscore that excitement.
Dodge turned 100 last year, so it rounded up a bunch of people who are 100 (or thereabouts) to impart some lessons learned from their long lives, along with some pithy sayings about cars. It's hard not to love adorable old people, though.
Doritos, "Middle Seat"
As always, Doritos turns to the great wannabe filmmakers of America to come up with its ad, and this one, by Scott Zabielski, is pretty clever. A guy doesn't want to have to sit next to someone on an airplane. Doritos ensue.
Doritos, "When Pigs Fly"
The other Doritos ad in the game (from Nelson Talbot) features a rocket-powered pig, which puts us in mind of the old Simpsons gag. "It's just a little airborne! It's still good! It's still good!"
Dove, "Real Strength"
Dove goes for the ol' heartstrings in an ad that aims to let men know their caring side is important too. The implicit message here? Guys, you don't have to be jerks.
E!, "The Royals"
TV networks airing the game often use that time to promote their upcoming shows, or shows on sister networks. That's just what NBC is doing here, with E!'s The Royals, the entertainment network's first scripted drama series. (Yes, E! is making a scripted drama series.) This spot tells you basically nothing about the show.
eSurance, "Say My Name"
We don't want to say Bryan Cranston is sullying the good name of Breaking Bad by appearing in this ad, but we're also not not going to say that.
eSurance, "Sorta Your Mom"
Does this ad play into the old, sexist trope that women drivers are the worst? Kind of? But it's also making a joke more specifically about Lindsay Lohan, who's well known for her driving travails. Either way, it's not that great.
Fiat, "Blue Pill"
A Fiat gets Viagra in its fuel tank, and then it's bigger and bolder than ever before. It's a decidedly weird way to promote a car revamp, but it does feature some enjoyable Rube Goldberg-style craziness on the way there.
Game of War, "Who I Am, feat. Kate Upton"
Yes, mobile games advertise on the Super Bowl now, apparently. This ad features all the gravitas model Kate Upton can muster. It is, sadly, far too little gravitas.
GoDaddy has spent most of its Super Bowl advertising life making ads that were roundly decried for being salacious and sexist. And the ad it released earlier this week (about a lost puppy) got booed off the internet for apparently depicting a puppy mill. So here's an ad about a kid with his nose to the grindstone, starting his business. Try complaining about that, America!
Jeep, "Beautiful Lands"
Sometimes, just being beautiful is enough, as this ad from Jeep, featuring a cover of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," proves. It features gorgeous images from all over the country, and then all over the globe. Some really nice stuff.
Jublia, "Tackle It!"
Everybody, there was a commercial about toenail fungus in the Super Bowl. Everything else will be a disappointment from now on.
Kia, "The Perfect Getaway"
Pierce Brosnan joins the car company to spoof not just action movies but typically overwrought Super Bowl car commercials. Also, Brosnan makes himself seem like a guy who just wants everything to explode, which is cheeky fun.
Lexus, "Let's Play"
Lexus is going to make real life more like Mario Kart. This can only be a good thing.
Lexus, "Make Some Noise"
Rather than go for a big gag, Lexus opts for cool camera tricks and editing, to create the impression that one car has become two, and vice versa. It's a neat looking ad, though it's not terribly clear what it's trying to say beyond, "Did you know we sell more than one car?"
Loctite Glue, "Positive Feelings"
Why do we love this ad so much? Three reasons. 1) It's for glue. 2) It doesn't try to pretend glue is cool. 3) It suggests that only glue can make you happy. Beat that, car companies.
McDonald's, "Pay With Lovin'"
McDonald's will randomly let you pay with love until Valentine's Day. We're not sure how this crazy new currency system will work, but we hope it also involves dumping Coke into computers to stamp out cyberbullying, or it will all be for naught.
Mercedes Benz, "Fable"
Mercedes Benz's riff on the old fable of the Tortoise and the Hare proves the old maxim, "Having a sports car wins the race." Also, this ad features the line, "Who's your turtle," which we will be enormously surprised to see any other commercial top for sheer cringe-worthiness.
Microsoft, "Braylon O'Neill"
A child born without his tibia or fibula gets impressive new prosthetic legs that were built using Microsoft technology. It's another ad trying to improve corporate image, mostly by displaying that Microsoft is more than Xbox or Windows 8. It's also prostheses, apparently.
Microsoft, "Estella's Brilliant Bus"
More inspirational stories of people making the world a better place, brought to you by Microsoft, we guess.
This ad works two jokes at once, simultaneously pitching a phone losing battery life to the end of the world and riffing on the idea that when your phone loses power, that's exactly when something awesome will happen that you wish to document but no longer can. Also, there's a solid closing joke. Not explained: what is a Mophie?
Nationwide, "Invisible Mindy"
Every year, there are Super Bowl ads that try way too hard to make a joke about how much the company paying for that ad cares about you. Please see this year's entry into this sweepstakes, starring the winning Mindy Kaling. It tries hard, but it doesn't make a lot of sense as an ad for insurance.
Nationwide, "Make Safe Happen"
Happy Super Bowl. Remember your child could die at any time.
Nissan, "With Dad"
Nissan hauls out "Cats in the Cradle" to tell a poignant story of a race car driver and his growing son. It's surprisingly effective until it just... kinda... ends.
This powerful ad (from the NFL-affiliated NoMore.org) implores people to listen when women say they're being abused, or even when they hint at it. So the NFL is telling itself this? Right.
Paramount, "Hot Tub Time Machine 2"
Did you know they made a sequel to Hot Tub Time Machine?
Paramount, "The Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water"
There's another Spongebob movie, too!
Paramount, "Terminator Genisys"
The latest spin on the Terminator franchise has struggled with its marketing, with many fans rolling their eyes at the initial trailer and promotional art. But this 30-second spot does a solid job of introducing the new film's revamped premise (Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Terminator patriarch of an ad hoc family unit), while also teasing some big action.
Pizza Hut, "Triple Cheese Crust Challenge"
Can you handle the Triple Cheese Crust Challenge? NFL coaches bet you can't. We think you should wait for the Weight Watchers ad further down.
Pete Rose is in the hall. Wink wink. Nudge nudge. What does it have to do with shoes? Well, he had to walk there, didn't he?
Skittles, "Settle It"
A town full of people with absurdly overpowered arms settles everything via arm wrestling. This ad gets points off for suggesting anybody would fight over the final lemon Skittle, because a.) that would never happen and b.) everybody just calls them "yellow" Skittles.
Snickers, "The Brady Bunch"
Snickers's recent ads have largely revolved around the joke of a celebrity turning up in an unexpected place. In that respect, Danny Trejo turning up in an episode of The Brady Bunch as Marcia is definitely unexpected. And the second celebrity who shows up (we won't spoil who) takes this one to new, funny heights.
Sprint, "Super Apology"
Again with the screaming goats! We know which YouTube videos ad agencies were watching last year. At least Sprint has been there before.
Squarespace, "Dreaming With Jeff"
Jeff Bridges lulls you to sleep with a meditative "Ohmmmmmm," and there is nothing more we want in the world than a smartphone app that just plays his dulcet tones endlessly.
This is both a traditional ad for T-Mobile's data plans, as well as some stealth marketing for Kim Kardashian's upcoming book, Selfie, which is a literal printed collection of her selfies.
T-Mobile, "One Up"
Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman flaunt their fabulous houses with "subterranean petting zoos" and "underground delivery rooms." Now we want a subterranean petting zoo more than a new cell phone plan.
Toyota, "Amy Purdy"
The words of Muhammad Ali provide the soundtrack for this ad featuring Amy Purdy, a double amputee and athlete, who has also appeared on reality shows like The Amazing Race and Dancing with the Stars. The Toyota is mostly here to show you that Purdy has to drive between her many engagements. Which is something.
Toyota, "My Bold Dad"
Another ad aimed at tugging men's heartstrings, this one involves the inevitable passage of time and the fact that your children are going to go on to do other things in their lives that don't involve you. Aw.
Turbotax, "Boston Tea Party"
Would the Revolutionary War have been averted if the British had simply provided the Colonies with efficient tax-filing software? We're not sure how Turbotax plans on solving the whole "without representation" thing, but it wants you to know it can handle the "taxation" half of that equation.
Universal, "Fifty Shades of Grey"
The soon-to-release (February 13) movie teases with the stats on how many copies the book version of the story sold and how many times the trailer has been watched. It's not a bad approach for a stats-obsessed audience, but we're still troubled by how little the two leads seem to like being in the same room with each other.
Universal, "Furious 7"
If you've never seen a Fast & Furious movie before, it won't really matter. All that matters is that Vin Diesel drives a car through midair and crashes into an office building and then gets out and hangs onto the edge of the building and the car goes boom! It's best if you read that sentence in the voice of an excited kindergartener.
Universal, "Jurassic World"
Look, we don't care how stupid so much of this seems. We're still there opening day, because dinosaurs.
The minions from the Despicable Me movies are getting their own movie, and here's a Super Bowl commercial about that movie that tells you absolutely nothing about it (even by the standards of Super Bowl movie commercials). If you're a Minion fan, you will delight. If you're a little tired of them (as we are), well, good luck to you.
Universal, "Ted 2"
A lot of movies advertised during the game, but not all of those movies featured a cameo from one of the starting quarterbacks that suggests his penis is heaven-sent. (Also, wondering why so many more Universal movies have appeared than other studios' movies? It and NBC share a corporate parent.)
This is exactly what you'd expect, though the Brenda Lee needle drop is a nice touch.
WeatherTech, "America At Work"
This ad doesn't dare try anything fancy, since it's about floor mats. That's probably the right approach. Instead, it celebrates American-built floor mats, with all the implied excitement that includes.
Weight Watchers, "All You Can Eat"
Weight Watchers pushes back against American eating excess with an ad that shows larger and larger portions and manages to make them seem unappetizing. No easy feat, that.
Wix.com, "It's That Easy"
Former NFL players start up their second careers with websites they designed on Wix. The best thing here is the idea that Franco Harris would start up a party-planning service called "Franco Harris' Immaculate Receptions."