Bust out the blue sequins, polish up your roller skates, and start sending those congratulatory gifts to Taylor Swift. As the country participated in the gratuitous orgy of capitalism otherwise known as Super Bowl LVIII, the real ones know that even though the Chiefs came out on top in a down-to-the-wire overtime win over the 49ers, the bona-fide highlights of every Super Bowl Sunday are those super spots. Judging by motifs of the past, some years the commercials are downright weird, while other eras the bulk focused on heart wrenching sentimentality. There was even a year when Mr. Peanut died (shudders)
For the 2024 edition of the Vegas-set Big Game, advertisers decided to gamble with spectacle: major reveals (Wicked! Beyoncé!), big stars, and repeat favorites (Jennifer Coolidge, Ben Affleck, Tom Brady). Each 30-second came with a price tag of $7 million.
Here are some of the most extravagant, buoyant, and, uh, questionable ads that ran during Super Bowl LVIII.
BOTUS? Bar-Bey? “Drop the new music?!” Only Beyoncé can turn Verizon, a company otherwise known for those banal “Can you hear me now” ads, into a hashtag-inducing comment on the lengths celebrities go to break souls (I mean, break the internet). Not only did your and my Queen star in this funny and epic ad, she also teased new music in the form of the second installment in her three-part Renaissance project — the superstar’s long-rumored country album (teased immediately after with a pair of new singles: “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages”). It’s another W for the shining star.
Forget Taylor and Jason: this year’s most exciting dynamic duo was Marty and Francesca. Yes, the legendary filmmaker and his Gen Z actress-daughter have been making magic on TikTok for a while. (Did you see the one where the director found the newest Hollywood starlet: his dog?) Luckily, the powers that be at the website-building company Squarespace wanted in on all the fun and featured the two in an endearing father-daughter teaser featuring the duo riffing on attempting to make a website. It was the lead-up to the Big Game commercial, with an ending line only die-hard New Yorker Marty himself could come up with.
The formerly obscure shopping hub
blanketed terrorized the American public with a gaggle of ads that bordered on global harassment. While we’re all for giving Jeff Bezos’ aforementioned orange-arrowed monster some healthy competition, for the love of all things holy please let it happen without forcing our eyeballs to watch one more Temu commercial. For evidence, check out the internet’s reaction to the onslaught which sits somewhere between traumatized and hostile.
Discover it Card
Since her well-deserved resurgence as part of the cast of The White Lotus, Coolidge has been a regular pitchwoman for Old Navy and e.l.f. cosmetics (with her e.l.f. spot airing during the Big Game just last year). Now she adds the credit card cartel of Discover to that stacked repertoire with an ad similar in style and humor to all the others.
A 30 Rock Reunion
The vacation-planning website is no stranger to silly ads with today’s top comedians (see: last year’s spot featuring Melissa McCarthy). For 2024, the site recruited Tina Fey for a quasi 30 Rock reunion featuring fellow cast members Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer for a hilarious spot where everybody pretends they’re Fey for the day. However, the cherry on top was a cameo from Glenn Close, and yes, Fey was just as surprised as you are. The whole shebang seems to have paid off: even before its broadcast premiere on the Big Game, the YouTube clip had already racked up nearly 100 million views.
Jenna Ortega & The Abuelas
Word to the wise: do not mess with an abuela on a mission. For this rollicking and rip-roaring Doritos spot (which plugs their rolled tortilla chips dubbed Dinamitas), we’re taken on a wild journey when two badass abuelas (named Dina and Mita, naturally) are betrayed to the highest degree when someone — gasp! — beats them to the very last bag of chips. Starring Jenna Ortega and Danny Ramirez, the script-flipping spot served as a deft and triumphant relaunch for the crunchy snack brand.
Choose your own opinion: A) What an absolutely adorable spot about the sacred bond between fathers and daughters and how Taylor and Travis brought the country together in sweet and loving harmony. B) How f***ing dare this greedy company totally cash in on the relationship between two people to sell skin cream by featuring non-copyrightable imagery from friendship bracelets, red jerseys, and the numbers 13 and 89?! Worse: It may have been lifted from a TikTok creator without credit.
Bennifer Loves Dunkin’
What is it with A-listers and their penchant to get goofy with Dunkin’ Donuts? In Adam Sandler’s critically-crucified Jack and Jill, the one bright spot was star Al Pacino rapping about the shop’s fictional cappuccino drink, Dunkaccinos. Then last year, after photos of Ben Affleck stumbling with Dunkin’ Donuts products went viral, he starred in an actual ad for the brand (a Super marketing move that reportedly led to the company’s best-selling day ever). Now, we have Affleck, along with wife Jennifer Lopez and buddies Matt Damon and Tom Brady, fiercely shilling for Dunkin’ yet again. (And throw in Jack Harlow and Fat Joe for good measure). What kind of carbohydrate chokehold does this company have on our nation’s celebrities?
Listen up, fool! When Mr. T speaks, we have no choice but to open our damn ears and listen up. The sneaker company Skechers smartly recruited the Eighties icon, alongside NFL announcer Tony Romo, in this clever ad which muses about how there’s no letter “T” in Skechers… by putting Mr. T in Skechers. Make sense? Good. I pity the fool who doesn’t follow such a simple, and fun, premise.
The Anti-Vaxxer Whose Own Relatives Can’t Stand Him
We all know that Robert F. Kennedy is a wacky conspiracy theorist — like that off-the-wall distant uncle you run into at family functions and make polite smalltalk with while counting down the seconds until it ends. His PAC’s decision to replicate his uncle’s iconic and catchy campaign advert, one of the best ever created in the medium, along with Sixties-era imagery, was a slimy and opportunistic one (just ask nephew Bobby Shriver, who said his late mother would be “appalled by his deadly health care views”). RFK Jr. even, in a bizarre move, apologized if the ad “caused anyone in my family pain” on Twitter while seemingly distancing himself from it — and also pinning the ad to his Twitter profile. Make it make sense.
The One With Uber Eats
Continuing their grand tradition of unveiling a wild commercial packed with disparate celebrity cameos, Uber Eats has done it again this time with the likes of old Friends (Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer), breakout artists (Jelly Roll) and even a self-proclaimed out-of-touch millionaire (Victoria Beckham) and her husband (David Beckham). Cameos are nice when they’re surprising. But filling an entire commercial with seemingly incongruous ones is like waiting for a ride that’s going in circles.