The 20 Best Super Bowl Commercials of Super Bowl LVI, Ranked
Once again, the brands are up to no good.
With Super Bowl LVI taking place in Los Angeles this year, the stadium was even more packed with movie stars, pop musicians, and influencers than usual. (We were even blessed with this Instagram shot of a camo-clad Martha Stewart and Guy Fieri and Bennifer dancing.) But for viewers watching at home, an overabundance of mugging celebrities is normal. Every year, corporations compete for your attention by recruiting famous faces to sell their products, with multiple 30-second ad spots reportedly selling for up to $7 million. That price tag doesn't even include the cost of paying Pete Davidson to appear in your mayo commercial.
Does all that money go to good use? Of course not! There's always a dystopian bent to the entire "Big Game" media ecosystem, but the ads during the game were especially unsettling this year, with an alarming number of celebs (including Larry David!) hawking crypto and one commercial that just featured a QR code menacingly bouncing around the screen of your TV. Still, there were enough decent, mildly amusing commercials for us to make a a little list of the best of them.
Like in previous years, we dutifully watched the game and kept tabs on our favorites. (Obligatory note: We didn't include movie/TV trailers, NBC promos, commercials for the NFL, previously aired spots, anything from the pre-game or post-game, and the regional advertisements that pop up periodically during the broadcast.) Grab a bag featuring the logo of your favorite crunchy chip brand and read on.
Eugene Levy has been a comedy icon for decades, and in Nissan's Super Bowl entry, he makes his unofficial transition into action star. After getting a pair of keys from Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson, he zooms off in a sick yellow ride and runs into his Schitt's Creek co-star Catherine O'Hara on the road. After running into even more celebs—action stars Dave Bautista and Danai Gurira—he becomes a leather-jacket-wearing, gravity-defying blockbuster leading man. Car commercials are ultimately all pretty similar, so we'll take Levy in luscious locks, driving on top of buildings any day of the week.
19. General Motors
In 2021, Mike Meyers resurrected his beloved SNL character Wayne Campbell from Wayne's World for an Uber Eats commercial, which was yet another lame nostalgia play. So, we suppose it only makes sense for him to bring back Dr. Evil for this GM ad, which also features appearances from Austin Powers cast members Seth Green, Rob Lowe, and Mindy Sterling. This can only mean one thing: next year's Super Bowl will have a Love Guru commercial. Calling it now!
Frequent odd couple Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart did a promo for BIC lighters last May and another the following July. Both commercials were full of weed euphemisms, just like this new one that begins with Snoop (who also performed at the halftime show) waving away a cloud of smoke. But Martha isn’t lighting up the way Snoop might: She’s cooking a turkey, of course! Now the world will see that one of pop culture’s goofiest friendships is still thriving.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped a tweet earlier this month with an image of himself dressed like Zeus, some fans thought it was a still from an upcoming movie. Maybe a sequel to the 1970 comedy Hercules in New York? Nope, it's just a Super Bowl ad. Thankfully, it's a moderately clever one filled with Arnold and Selma Hayek winking their way through a series of broad gags about Gods living out their retirement on Earth and cruising around in an electric car.
Following her work on Marvel's The Eternals, Nomadland director Chloé Zhao turns her eye towards a different set of iconic heroes: Those giant horses that show up in beer ads. In this spot, given the vaguely prestige-sounding title "A Clydesdale’s Journey," one of the majestic creatures suffers an injury and gets nursed back to health by a caring dog. If you like your Super Bowl commercials big, sentimental, and directed by an Oscar winner, this is the one for you.
On a night when NBC was very focussed on getting you to sign up for Peacock, this ad for Disney+ ad featuring Awkwafina made an old-fashioned play for your attention by recruiting a bunch of cute animals to hawk its product. Sure, the G.O.A.T. pun was groan-worthy, but the goats themselves are stars. Thankfully, this ad understood that we don't need to see a supercut of Marvel shows. Just give us the goats.
There's a type of celebrity cameo brinkmanship that certain commercials engage in. When you've got one recognizable face (Tommy Lee Jones, in this case) and then another quickly appears (Leslie Jones, here), you know there are more coming. The gag of this ad is not especially funny, but this was still one of the better "here are a bunch of famous people" ads of the evening.
13. Taco Bell
Stuck in the doldrums of a clown convention, Doja Cat and a few of her Pagliacci pals pile into a car and escape to Taco Bell, leaving a trail of ruffled collars and disintegrating greasepaint in their wake. The mouthwatering shots of ice cold Baja Blast and Crunchwrap Supremes are one thing, but Doja Cat's cover of Hole's "Celebrity Skin" is on an entirely new level. Alt rock Doja Cat??? Now that's living más.
12. Planet Fitness
We're perpetually rooting for Lindsay Lohan, and apparently so is… Planet Fitness? The budget gym's spots are usually oddly chaotic—Lohan is added to a roster of spokespeople that includes Dennis Rodman and William Shatner—and this one is no different. But, hey, Lindsay looks like she's thriving and, for that, we are thankful.
The Sexiest Man Alive, Paul Rudd, and America's cannabis-loving, ceramic-making uncle Seth Rogen have been in dozens of comedies together over the years, from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to This Is the End. They join forces yet again in this Lays outfit, in which they take a trip down memory lane with the third member of their bromance: Lays potato chips. As they reflect on a handful of PG-rated, genre-movie-inspired moments in which Lays came through for them, you can only hope that Judd Apatow gets the crew back together for This Is 50 and Rogen actually reprises his Knocked Up character.
10. Busch Light
This beer commercial is only special for one reason: Kenny G, mystic of the mountains. Here he appears in the form of a towering hologram, tickling his saxophone in the wilds of nature as two amazed pals crack open their coveted Busch Light cans. Not to be conspiracy theorists or anything, but we tried to recreate the scenario ourselves and there was no Kenny G to be found. Bummer.
9. Avocados From Mexico
Who doesn't love a nice relaxing tailgating experience? The ancient Romans trade some banter in a colosseum parking lot before getting down to the real business: slicing, dicing, and smashing up some avocados. Perfect for burgers, guacamole, and feeding to the lions. Andy Richter also stops by for a quick cameo as Caesar, hoping he'll be remembered for his passion for salads. We're rooting for the hungry panda.
After the harrowing events of Euphoria, it's nice to see Zendaya sweetly shelling for Squarespace in this alliteration-heavy ad directed by Edgar Wright. The concept is that Zendaya is Sally, who sells seashells by the seashore. Classic tongue-twister stuff. Her business is lagging so she gets a Squarespace site and voilá. And it's all narrated by André 3000. Very pleasant indeed.
7. Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda
I have always wanted to live in a peaceful Guy Fieri paradise, so I do think that Bud Light, in advertising their new Hard Soda, was created just for me. Three presumed Super Bowl viewers end up in Fieri's magical Land of Loud Flavors—basically it's a junk food heaven with Fieri at the helm wearing a Pitbull-esque chain. He's clearly the leader because he has a hologram, and if we're hurtling towards oblivion anyways, I'd rather have Guy Fieri in charge.
6. Doritos/Flamin' Hot Cheetos
We all know littering is bad, especially in jungle preserves untouched by the hands of man, but what this Doritos commercial presupposes is: What if it wasn't? What if it was good, actually, for an intrepid explorer to drop their bags of flamin' hots in front a sloth, a deer, a bear, some water buffalo, and a fox (none of which exist in the same habitat as the others, but whatever), so that the natural world could get a taste of that red hot artificial flavoring and inspires them to beatbox, sliding in a Megan Thee Stallion "ah" to tease "Flamin' Hotties," the song she wrote for Flamin' Hot Cheetos sampling that classic Salt-n-Pepa hit. "Do not feed to animals" cautions the tiny text at the bottom of the screen. We couldn't agree more.
5. Irish Spring
In Ari Aster's Midsommar, a bad boyfriend is sewn into a bear and burned alive by a creepy Swedish cult. In Irish Spring's Super Bowl commercial, a stinky man is ritualistically lowered into a bath while a white rabbit screams "CAST THY SMELL AWAY." Instead of being murdered, the man emerges refreshed with a soft white turtleneck and a new appreciation for that classic green soap. Is this cult taking any new members?
4. Hellman's Mayo
Ever since the days of Reebok's Terry Tate: Office Linebacker, one thing has been true: It's always funny to see a football player tackle someone in a non-football scenario. This stuff is not complicated! This commercial for Hellman's Mayo recruits the fittingly named Jerod Mayo to deal out the punishment and "tackle food waste" by smashing unsuspecting food-wasters into the ground. Also, Pete Davidson shows up for a slamming.
3. Michelob ULTRA
Petyon Manning joins his bowling buddies PGA champ Brooks Koepka, LA Sparks' Nneka Ogwumike, Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler, and the U.S. Women's Soccer team's Alex Morgan at Steve Buscemi's bowling alley. Obviously, all of these star athletes throw heat and are knockin 'em down—and then comes Serena Williams, obviously the deadliest of all in their team league. The Big Lebowski ripoffs are a dime a dozen in Super Bowl ad spots, but this one's style, ELO soundtrack, superstar athletes, and Buscemi's mug put this commercial for Michelob Ultra, every grandpa's favorite beer, a nose ahead of the rest.
Sometimes the best Super Bowl commercials don't actually need a famous celebrity or a massive special effects budget. This morbidly funny Pringles ad simply asks a simple question: What would happen if you got your hand stuck in a Pringles can and had to live the rest of your life that way? The clip then follows that question to its logical conclusion, making for the rare type of ad that actually makes you chuckle and want to reach for the product. Just be careful how deep you put your hand in that can.
At a distinctly '90s-obsessed Super Bowl, with its Dr. Dre-hosted halftime show and the return of The Cable Guy in a Verizon ad, this Chevrolet commercial paid tribute to The Sopranos in a way that was oddly poignant and not too mawkish. By recreating Tony's iconic drive home to New Jersey and putting Jamie-Lynn Sigler behind the wheel, the spot drew on the past and gestured towards the future where electric cars are bountiful and Meadow can finally parallel park. (According to Variety, Sopranos creator David Chase and several original crew members were also involved in the production.) And, hey, at least Meadow and A.J. weren't trying to sell you crypto.