Super Bowl Sunday is so close, you can almost taste it.
That may also be yesterday's nachos talking, but regardless—Super Bowl LI is, in fact, this Sunday, and that means it's time to once again embrace what we spend the rest of the year avoiding.
Commercials, of course.
This year the going rate for 30 seconds of air time was a reported $5 million, and that was before advertisers even knew the ratings-magnet New England Patriots would be playing. According to Variety, Fox had already sold 90 percent of its ad space by December—because no matter which teams make it, the Super Bowl remains the premier broadcast event for commercials. Nothing comes close, not the World Series, the Oscars—nothing.
And that is why the biggest brand names in America never fail to go all out for the Super Bowl.
With the stakes higher than ever, particularly since you don't have to go anywhere near a television on Sunday to catch every ad, the creativity is off the charts, production value is blockbuster-quality and the star wattage is major.
As always, some commercials will become instant classics, some will fall flat—and still others will be talked about for days for all the wrong reasons.
And. We. Can't. Wait.
In the meantime, you get to be the judge—and feel free to throw flags when needed. Here's your guide to every 2017 Super Bowl commercial—what's going to make you cry, who's getting political, what's already causing controversy and more:
THE SUPER BOWL ALL STARS
Anheuser-Busch, as always, is the sole beer advertiser during the Super Bowl, and therefore the 3 1/2 minutes of beer commercials will come courtesy of the brewing behemoth.
• Bud Light: Presenting the ghost of Spuds MacKenzie, the beloved Bull Terrier, celebrating the 30th anniversary of his Super Bowl debut. In the 90-second, ghosts-of-Bud-Lights-present-themed spot, Spuds schools a guy who's just chilling solo at home about the true meaning of drinking a beer with friends. And the pup sounds especially familiar because he's voiced by Carl Weathers, of Rocky fame.
• Busch: The brand may be 62 years old but it's making its Super Bowl debut with 30 seconds dedicated to the refreshing sound of, not just any beer can opening, but of Buschhhhh opening.
• Budweiser: Enter the flagship brand with 1 minute telling the tale of German immigrant Adolph Busch's journey to American in 1857. Whether or not his trip was that arduous or the real Busch was that hot, the commercial hits home. The words "Welcome to St. Louis" never prompted so many goosebumps.
• Michelob ULTRA: The 30-second spot will be another fitness-themed ad in the vein of "Workout Face."
Lifewtr: It's not the thing to advertise regular soda these days, in case you couldn't tell by the official name of the halftime show this year: the Pepsi Zero Sugar Halftime Show. So it's premium bottled water Lifewtr that will get 30 seconds of love during the game in an ad called "Inspiration Drops," featuring John Legend singing "Love Me Now."
• Mmm, Snickers. The 30-second spot for the iconic candy bar stars Adam Driver and will enjoy an old-school grand premiere during the game—though there's a massive teaser for it out in the meantime.
• Skittles is now the official candy of "Romance" in this 30-second ad.
The automaker is kicking off the game (literally, it's 90-second spot is between the coin toss and kickoff) with its "Go Further" theme promoting its burgeoning ride-share and bike-share programs, as well as that self-driving technology that's all the rage. Fairly quickly you see that it's nice if someone is around to help when you need it. But surely that cat has figured its way out of the tissue box by now.
The VW-owned luxury automaker is back and advocating for gender pay equality in an inspiring 60-second spot called "Daughter." A female director, Aoife McArdle, did the honors.
Procter & Gamble
• Tide is back in the Super Bowl after four years away with an all-star odd couple: Patriots tight end RobGronkowski, who was sidelined most of the season with an injury,and Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor.
• There really is no better time to advertise products that get rid of dirt and funky smells. Febreze is making its Super Bowl debut with "America's Halftime Bathroom Break," a 30-second ode to exactly that, narrated by Kathryn Hahn.
• The timeless Mr. Clean is making his debut as well, and bald is sexier than ever in the 30-second spot.
Now a Super Bowl regular, the Korean automaker snagged Melissa McCarthy for "Heroes Journey," which is only a minute long but we'd totally watch the full-length movie version. We love whales, too!
If that's a Buick, then your kid is Cam Newton and his peewee football coach is Miranda Kerr.
Really, no need to fake your own death, dad. It's easy to switch to Sprint.
• It's double the Gronk when he joins fellow "Celebration Experts" Justin Bieber and Terrell Owens in celebrating "Unlimited Moves"—which in this case has to do with dance and data plans.
• Another good thing: Besties Martha Stewart and SnoopDogg, drawn together in the first place presumably because they both love snacks,have also reunited for game day.
A Super Bowl regular for several years now, the guacamole prequel is back with another aliens-observing-Earth-themed spot, this time with Jon Lovitz.
Where do you keep your rolls?
Where's the beef? Not in the freezer for weeks before you eat it, unlike at some of those other chains...
• Fiji Water gets its Super Bowl debut, because there's no better time than the present to not be selling soda. It's not new, but it's still refreshing.
• John Cena's Ernie the Elephant will be back in a new 30-second spot called "Treadmill" for Wonderful Pistachios.
It's Colonel vs. Colonel when both Billy Zane and Rob Riggle show up in the fried chicken franchise's first official Super Bowl commercial. Will the real Colonel please stand up?!
Buffalo Wild Wings
Brett Favre is still in the game (the pre-game show, at least) as he tracks down who stole his passing mojo in this ad that pays homage to Fringe and one of the most popular Super Bowl Sunday snacks. WalletHub is predicting more than 1.23 billion chicken wings will be consumed on Sunday.
Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen have directed their first Super Bowl commercial, "Easy Driver," on behalf of Mercedes' GT Roadster. If it didn't feature "Born to Be Wild" from Easy Rider it would be a real letdown, but luckily, it's in there—as is Easy Rider star Peter Fonda, still looking pretty damn cool after all these years.
The car-maker knows that celebrities and nostalgia are a can't-miss mix. In what's sure to be a game day crowd-pleaser, high school yearbook photos of Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Magic Johnson, Missy Elliott, Stan Lee, Jimmy Kimmel and Viola Davis come to life to encourage you to chase your dreams—and better yet, chase them in a CR-V!
The website development company enlisted Fast & Furious franchise stars present and past, Jason Statham and Gal Gadot, to, long story short, inspire a chef to open a food truck. Which of course needs a snappy website.
Playing off the real-life travails of having your own domain name already snatched up online, John Malkovich profanely fumes over an existing JohnMalkovich.com—and it's hilarious.
Chief Flavor Officer Justin Timberlake is in the house and looking into your eyes for the beverage company's 30-second spot.
Everyone's favorite stop-what-you're-doing-and-watch dancer Lil Buck is as slick as the slick Lexus LC in the car-maker's 60-second spot, "Man and Machine," as he dances to Sia's "Move Your Body." Minnie Driver provides the classy narration.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back to command the troops in another slickly produced spot for the combat video game.
The makers of Evony: The Kings Return have sent Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Aaron Eckhart into various eras of battle.
The detergent returns to the Super Bowl, once again with Bill Nye as a scientist in need of some clean-up, but Younger star Peter Hermann is holding court in the teaser.
Tiffany & Co.
The iconic jewelry company is advertising for the first time in the Super Bowl, so who better to start the most luxurious of luxury brands off with the right amount of sparkle than Lady Gaga?
The classic gaming company is making its Super Bowl debut to promote its latest console, Switch, with the help of one of Nintendo's most classic titles, Legend of Zelda, and a new Imagine Dragons song, "Believer."
Cats riding Roombas in the website-building company's 30-second spot are entirely adorable—and only the beginning. The site known for its sexy ads has gone for a more family-friendly spoof of Internet-driven culture, starring "Mr. Internet."
For some reason what turned out to be a teaser for the online tax return aid's Super Bowl commercial, featuring Humpty Dumpty being gruesomely injured in a fall off the wall because you can do your taxes "anywhere," totally grosses us out. It must be the yolk leaking out of the mouth. But maybe the whole thing, premiering on game day, will leave us more sunny-side up.
Studios always get into the game to tout their biggest upcoming releases and here are the film teasers to watch out for:
• From Paramount:Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson; Baywatch with Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron; Transformers: The Last Knight
Yup, that's Patriots quarterback Tom Brady making everything look epic for Intel.
WeatherTech offered up a promise of butt-kicking heroics courtesy of a leather-clad heroine who's going to save your car interior from getting muddy when it rains.
MAINTAINING THE MYSTERY
Advertising its Home virtual assistant, the tech behemoth has made an undisclosed buy and will preview its spot during the game.
You won't be hearing him tout Mercedes but you'll see Jon Hamm encouraging folks to get their taxes won—and announcing a partnership with IBM--in a 60-second spot that's yet to be revealed.
It's a 10 Haircare
There will be a few men watching on Sunday, and the haircare brand, which is launching a line of "men's miracle haircare" products, is coming for them.
THE ALREADY CONTROVERSIAL
Building material supplier 84 Lumber's first submission apparently featured a massive border wall and in turn was rejected by Fox. So now, the Pennsylvania-based company's first-ever Super Bowl ad—and they went in for a whopping 90 seconds to hammer home their point about job recruitment—will remain a mystery till game day. (And the full rejected spot is supposed to show up online before the game.)
GNC was all ready to roll with its first-ever Super Bowl ad, but Fox reportedly rejected its submission—and its overall presence during the game—because two of the 162 things on the NFL's banned substances list can be found in a tiny percentage of the vitamin and supplement chain's products.