It’s the main event for American football and essential viewing for millions across the US – as well as fans around the globe. Sunday night saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl 55.
Last year 148.5 million viewers watched "The Big Game", and this year, with fewer attending in person and avoiding parties, numbers could be even higher.
Due to COVID precautions, the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida is only allowing a one-third capacity of 25,000, which also includes 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers who were gifted free tickets for their hard work this year. With limited availability, tickets have been selling for between $6,000 and $85,000 a go.
This year’s main event was a battle of ages between quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes – the relatively new kid on the block – and Tom Brady, appearing for his 10th Super Bowl and nearly 20 years his senior.
However, between the plays there’s another battle taking place in the ad breaks. With such a huge audience, advertisers pay a premium for a slot. Last year a 30-second slot of air time cost around $5.6 million.
With such high stakes but huge potential gains, companies don’t just use their current TV campaigns. Instead, they spend millions more to create new, sometimes one-off pieces, to help them stand out.
The result is a masterpiece in advertising that Don Draper would be proud to put his name on. While humor and celebrity has long been the go-to here, more recently we’ve seen more emotion and brand activism in the mix.
For 2021, on the back of a year-long pandemic, political and social division, the brands appearing have changed too. Missing from the 2021 list are Budweiser, Coca-cola and Hyundai – all previous mainstays in Super Bowl advertising. Instead, there are new appearances from burrito giants Chipotle, car buying website Vroom and Reddit users’ nemesis, Robinhood.
This year's game might not have lived up to the hype but the talent in the ad breaks once again impressed. Alongside the ads were trailers for M Night Shyamalan's new film Old and the return of Eddie Murphy in Coming2America. Below, we've ranked the best adverts of the night that featured during the live broadcast of Super Bowl 55. Enjoy!
The best Super Bowl 55 technology ads
1. Amazon Alexa feat. Michael B Jordan
Creed and Black Panther actor, Michael B Jordan becomes your own personal Alexa.
2. Logitech feat. Little Nas X
US rapper, Little Nas X tell us to defy logic as he not only voices this ad but also teases his new track, "Call Me By Your Name."
3. General Motors feat. Will Ferrell, Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson
The legendary Will Ferrell is joined by fellow comedians Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) and Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live) for a race to Norway promoting GM's new ultium battery for EVs.
A digitized Samuel L Jackson promotes Verizon's Ultra-wide 5G network
Vroom turns the pain of buying a car from a dealer into a horror movie torture scene in this ad.
Maya Rudolph stars as four miniature cowboys to promote Klarna's pay in four small payments service.
The stock-trading app Robinhood says we're all investors in this Super Bowl ad in an attempt to raise its reputation after its GameStop issues.
8. T-Mobile feat Anthony Anderson
Actor Anthony Anderson stages a family football game against his mama, who has some help from Kansas City Chief Tight End Travis Kelce.
9. SquareSpace feat. Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton records her classic Working 9 to 5, as 5 to 9 to promote website creator SquareSpace.
10. Cadillac Lyriq all-electric vehicle
Timothée Chalamet plays Edgar Scissorhands (son of Edward) alongside Winona Ryder in the all-new electric car from Cadillac.
The best Super Bowl 55 other ads
1. Uber Eats with Wayne's World and Cardi B
2. Cheetos with Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Shaggy
3. Bud Lite
4. Doritos with Matthew McConaughey
5. Bud Lite Seltzer
7. M&Ms feat. Dan Levy
8. Tide feat. Jason Alexander
9. Jeep feat. Bruce Springsteen
Toyota focuses on its partnership with Team USA for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
11. Guinness feat. Joe Montana
12. Jimmy John's feat. Brad Garrett
13. Stella Artois feat. Lenny Kravitz
Ford implores us to hold the line and finish strong in the fight against COVID-19 for this year's Super Bowl ad.