More than 93 million people watched last year's Super Bowl, and with this year's contest only a few days away, will it be the game itself or the ads that get viewers talking the most? "People who aren't even sports fans watch the Super Bowl, just to watch the commercials," Derek Jeter, shortstop for the New York Yankees, said in a press video hyping the ads.
With that in mind, 26 brands have gone all out this year to provide star-packed ads involving celebs like Jeter, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Shakira, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J. The stars are making appearances via their images and/or music, most of them for Pepsi.
"PepsiCo is the second-biggest advertiser in the Super Bowl this year," after Anheuser-Busch, USA Today advertising reporter Theresa Howard said. "Pepsi-Cola alone, they've got two minutes of ad time. When you've got a big product, you want to be on the biggest stage."
With that in mind, here's a sneak peek of some clips — which run during the Super Bowl at a rate of $2.7 million per 30 seconds — hoping to make a splash.
For a promotion that promises $1 billion in prizes in conjunction with Amazon, Justin Timberlake puts himself through the ringer, as he's pulled — literally — through New York in a spot called "Magnetic Attraction." "This is a sort of crazy, ridiculous, awesome ride, full of stunts and painful activity," Timberlake said in the press video. "I'm running into buildings, flying up buildings, going through the Hudson River, almost running into cars, taking car doors out, everything you can think of. It's kind of fun but also scary at the same time." The scariest part, besides the damage done to Timberlake's crotch by a mailbox pole? He passes by the window of his biggest fan — a guy in a Britney-esque wig.
Diet Pepsi Max
Everyone's falling asleep at an awards show — even LL, Busta, Missy and Macy Gray, who are up for song of the year. "I have no energy, I'm exhausted, I'm fading quickly," LL Cool J explained. "But then I have a sip of Diet Pepsi Max, and I have a burst of energy that takes me to another level." That level involves bopping their heads to Haddaway's "What Is Love," "Night at the Roxbury"-style. "It makes us think we're in the club," Missy Elliott said. "Drinking it gets you hyped." "It's straight comedy," Busta said. "We had a ball doing it."
Derek Jeter walks around the SoHo neighborhood of New York's Manhattan borough, and it grows as green as a baseball field everywhere he steps, to demonstrate how hydrated he is by the low-calorie, off-field drink. "To be honest, when it airs, I'll probably go in the bathroom," Jeter said in the press video. "I'm kind of afraid to see people's reactions."
Shaquille O'Neal — despite weighing 321 pounds — becomes a jockey in the energy-water ad, in which racing competitor Gatorade is called "Old Man Gator" by the race announcer. Shaq actually rides the horse, though a few shots use effects.
Mountain Dew Amp Energy
Dale Earnhardt Jr. also becomes a jockey of sorts — but instead of a horse, he's got a camel. And who is riding who isn't exactly clear.
SoBe Life Water
All we can tell you about the under-wraps spot for SoBe, which is rumored to have some "thrilling" music that's been licensed for the first time ever for a TV ad, is that it will feature Naomi Campbell and 30 dancing lizards. The music is "top secret," a rep for the company teased. The most the company would tell MTV News is what is available in a commercial "prequel," in which one of the lizards tries to explain to his parents how he'll be appearing in the ad, but "naked."
Alice Cooper, Richard Simmons and an albino snake — what is it with the reptiles this year? For two 30-second commercials (one between the first and second quarter, the other in the third quarter), Bridgestone (the sponsor for the halftime show) employs nearly 30 animals. The first features woodland creatures, while the second has the stars and the snake.
In the first quarter, Audi makes viewers an offer they can't refuse — via a "Godfather"-themed spot for the R8 sports car featuring Alex Rocco, a star from the first movie. The full-minute version will only air once, with a 30-second version to air the following day.
Athletes like the Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano run for the new cross-trainer Prototype.
It's a battle of the bands called "Crash the Super Bowl," in which unsigned/unknown artists Nivla, Kina Grannis and Landon Austin get a shot at a commercial and a recording contract. Will.I.Am was among the judges for the preliminary rounds.
It's an ad for another ad. Danica Patrick exposes herself on the Web site, which people in this ad flock to go see. No word if it deserves a parental-advisory warning, but there were concerns over the some of the language used in early versions.
You can bet that Marilyn Monroe did not actually use Sunsilk, but here she is, along with Madonna and Shakira, shaking their iconic 'dos. Sunsilk's spot, to air in the fourth quarter, depends on file footage of the three women for its "Life Can't Wait" campaign, which is set to roll out in 15 countries.
Paris Hilton might have her movie "The Hottie and the Nottie" out soon, but Planters has its own take on what a "nottie" looks like — uni-brow included — for the second half. Strangely enough, men left and right can't help but fall for her when she walks by. "Planters is going through a product evolution," Howard said. "They're trying to expand being known as just peanuts. They're trying to be a new brand."
Ice Breakers Ice Cubes
Some like it hot. Carmen Electra likes it cold.
In a spot set to appear between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter, supermodel Adriana Lima will appear dressed in black lingerie and holding a football. The company hasn't released previews of the ad, which is said to be "all about the games men and women play."
Is sports nut Will Ferrell going to show up in character in a Super Bowl commercial? His character in the upcoming film "Semi-Pro," Jackie Moon — the player/owner/coach of losing basketball team the Flint Tropics — is rumored to be making a guest appearance in at least one ad. Now that's pregame buzz.