The soft TV ad market this year extended even to Super Bowl XLIX, where NBC didn't declare inventory sold out until days before the game. Among returning advertisers, Coca-Cola and GoDaddy each bought one commercial instead of the two they ran in 2014. Automakers, too, didn't crowd the field as much as in recent years.
But there were about 15 new advertisers in the 2015 game, especially in digital commerce and technology, giving the ad contest a fresher flavor. And enough didn't release their ads early that there remained a reason to watch the commercial breaks during TV's biggest event of the year.
Buy: One 60-second spot condensing a three-minute video that went viral last summer. Always is one of many first-time Super Bowl advertisers this year.
Creative: The video by Lauren Greenfield, Sundance Film Festival award-winning creator of "The Queen of Versailles," takes issue with generations of playground taunts about people running, throwing or fighting "like a girl." It asks: "When did doing something 'like a girl' become an insult?"
Agency: The original video effort was led by Leo Burnett offices in Chicago, Toronto and London (including Holler), with support from Publicis Groupe siblings MSL Group on PR and Starcom MediaVest Group in media.
Pre-release: Although the longer film had been out since June, the 60-second cut for the Super Bowl debuted on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday, Jan. 29.
Buy: One 30-second spot near the end of the first quarter
Creative: The commercial depicts the "first draft ever," in which countries pick flora and fauna the way pro football teams pick prospects out of college. (Despite the polar bear's best hopes for a beach location, Mexico picks the avocado.)
Buy: The company has secured a total of seven 30-second ad units -- or 210 seconds -- for the game. That's slightly down from last year's 240 seconds of airtime. In Super Bowl XLVIII in February, 2014, the brewer's critical and costly Super Bowl play totaled three ads for Bud Light and two for Budweiser.
Creative: The brewer, which has exclusive beer advertising rights for the game, will spotlight Bud Light with a 90-second, 80s-themed Pac-Man spot from Energy BBDO and Budweiser with two 60-second ads from Anomaly. (It originally slotted 60 seconds for Bud Light but gave it another 30 seconds to fully show its life-size Pac-Man maze in action.) The Clydesdales will return in one Bud ad, despite a brief internet scare, while the other will highlight Bud's "brewing credentials." Bud Light will continue the "Up for Whatever" campaign that began with in the 2014 game, this time promoting new packaging that will eventually feature more than 100 different messages scrolled on Bud Light bottles. The brewer plans to release all of its ads early to take advantage of the usual pre-game ad buzz.
Agency: Energy BBDO (Bud Light); Anomaly (Budweiser)
Pre-release: Bud Light released its Pac-Man commercial on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" on Jan. 22. Budweiser released its "Lost Dog" ad on the "Today" show on Jan. 28.
Buy: One 60-second spot during the first quarter
Creative: BMW is back after a four-year break to promote its all-electric i3, using a commercial starring Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel marveling over "internet" in 1994, only to be equally wowed by the new i3.
Agency: KBS handled creative duties and UM handled media buying.
Pre-release: BMW played the Couric-Gumbel ad on the "Today" show on Monday, Jan. 26, to kick off the week leading into the game.
Buy: One 60-second spot, the company's first Super Bowl ad, as part of its campaign promoting its full range of brands. Carnival Corp. owns brands including Princess Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises and Seabourn.
Creative: The company in December released four potential commercials and asked consumers to vote for their favorite, which will ultimately run in the game. Voters were entered in a contest promising a yearly cruise for life.
Agency: BBDO, Atlanta
Buy: One 60-second commercial for flagship soda brand Coca-Cola.
Creative: The ad will "tackle the pervasive negativity polluting social media feeds and comment threads across the Internet," the company said. Coca-Cola ran two 60-second spots in the 2014 game, one shot in Green Bay and showing an underdog high school football player scoring a touchdown, and the other featuring people singing "America the Beautiful" in a variety of languages.
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, which made both of Coca-Cola's 2014 Super Bowl ads.
Pre-release: Coke began running teasers on Monday, Jan. 26, a week before the game, but said the full spot won't air until game day.
Buy: One ad in the second quarter
Creative: Not disclosed. Discover hasn't been in the Super Bowl since 1986, when its ad showed a high jumper trying to reach new levels and William "The Refrigerator" Perry player in the game for the Bears.
Agency: The Martin Agency
Pre-release: Discover is not expected to release its Super Bowl commercial before it airs during the game.
Buy: Two 30-second commercials
Creative: Doritos is bringing its "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, which asks consumers to come up with its ads for the big game, back for the ninth year in a row.
Buy: One 30-second spot titled "Real Strength"
Creative: The brand is coming back to the Super Bowl for the first time since its U.S. introduction in 2010 with a new campaign aimed at supporting the brand's commitment to "celebrating modern men."
Agency: The Marketing Arm. Omnicom Group's Davie Brown Entertainment has handled Dove Men+Care creative in recent years.
Pre-release: Dove went ahead and posted a 60-second version of "Real Strength" on Jan. 19, revealing an ad similar to a recent Dove Men + Care Father's Day film, a montage showing children young and old variously exclaiming "Daddy" or "Dad."
Buy: Not disclosed. Last year Esurance won tremendous publicity on the cheap, relatively speaking, by using the first commercial slot after the Super Bowl ended to announce a $1.5 million sweepstakes people could enter by posting tweets with the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. For 2015, the insurance company is advertising during the game itself for the first time.
Creative: Not disclosed
Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago
Buy: One ad
Creative: A preview for "Fast & Furious: Supercharged."
Buy: Three ads: one after the first half's two-minute warning, and two during the third quarter
Creative: Not disclosed
Agency: Not disclosed
Buy: The web-hosting company is back in the Super Bowl for an 11th consecutive year, but this time has only purchased one 30-second spot, down from its usual two.
Creative: GoDaddy originally said it would air "Journey Home," an ad playing on Budweiser's puppy ads by showing a couple elated to see their lost puppy again -- because they've already sold him to Danica Patrick through the internet. But hours after releasing the ad online on the Tuesday before the Super Bowl, GoDaddy reversed course and said it wouldn't use it (you can still see it here), citing emotional complaints from pet lovers. GoDaddy has moved away from its earlier, sexually-suggestive Super Bowl strategy, but seems to still have a knack for PR.
Agency: Barton F. Graf 9000
Pre-release: GoDaddy revealed "Journey Home" on NBC's "Today" on the Tuesday before the Super Bowl, Jan. 27. It reversed itself the same day and pulled it from YouTube.
Buy: One ad in the third quarter to promote the toenail fungus treatment, the first Super Bowl appearance for Valeant
Creative: Not disclosed
Agency: Harrison and Star
Buy: One 15-second spot in the fourth quarter
Creative: Animation of characters from the mobile game in combat
Buy: One 60-second spot. Kia is making its sixth Super Bowl appearance in a row in 2015.
Creative: Former "Remington Steele" and James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan will appear to promote the 2016 Kia Sorento.
Agency: David & Goliath, which created last year's Super Bowl ad starring Laurence Fishburne in his "Matrix" role.
Pre-release: The spot went live online on Jan. 26, the Monday before the game.
Buy: Two 30-second ads, for the brand's second outing in the Super Bowl.
Creative: "Make Some Noise" shows the Lexus NX roaring elegantly around a neon-lit parking garage. "RC Illusion," a last-minute addition to the ad lineup, shows a remote-controlled toy car performing stunts.
Agency: Walton Isaacson created "Make Some Noise"; "RC Illusion" is from Team One.
Pre-release: Lexus posted "Make Some Noise" online on Jan. 14, more than two weeks before the game, making it the first marketer to pre-release its spot. Going early may have been a smart move, given the sleek but not hugely memorable footage. Although "RC Illusion" was based on footage posted to YouTube earlier, the Super Bowl version was publicized only on the Sunday of the game.
Buy: Loctite, the make of Super Glue, is spending the equivalent of nearly its usual annual ad budget to buy a Super Bowl slot at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Creative: The ad will be the the latest installment of Loctite's less-than-a-year-old #WinAtGlue campaign.
Agency: Fallon, Minneapolis
Buy: McDonald's is prepping a 60-second Super Bowl spot in the 2015 game, after years of opting out and advertising instead in the pre-game slot just before kickoff.
Creative: McDonald's is letting everyone know that for two weeks in February it will randomly accept different forms of payment -- like giving someone a hug or calling your mother and telling you loving her. The effort uses the "I'm lovin' it" tag.
Agency: Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett
Pre-release: McDonald's released the ad the Friday before the game.
Buy: The marketer's buy is likely to continue its Super Bowl habit of a 60-second spot. This will be Mercedes' third time advertising in the Super Bowl, having last appeared in the game in 2013 and sitting out 2014.
Creative: A retelling of the tortoise vs. the hare fable. Mercedes' 2013 Super Bowl commercial, "Soul," featured Willem Dafoe, Usher and Kate Upton.
Agency: Merkley & Partners
Pre-release: The ad first appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Monday, Jan. 26.
Buy: Two 60-second ads, building on the one spot in 2014 that served as its Super Bowl debut
Creative: One spot tells the story of Estella Pyfrom, who brings technology access to underserved kids with her Brilliant Bus (complete with Microsoft technology); the other shows how six-year-old Braylon O'Neil, who was born missing the tibia and fibula bones in both of his legs, can now thrive and play thanks to the help of Microsoft technology. Both are narrated by Common and feature speeches made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Agency: Not disclosed
Buy: One 30-second ad
Creative: The spot shows a world in peril as God's smartphone battery runs low. One of many first-time advertisers in the Super Bowl, the marketer of charging accessories and cases for smartphones is aiming to significantly increase its name recognition.
Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
Pre-release: The world-destroying ad was posted online on Thursday, Jan. 29.
Buy: One 45-second ad during the second quarter.
Creative: The ad stars actress and writer Mindy Kaling in a bid to compete in the funny-insurance-commercial game. Nationwide hasn't advertised in the Super Bowl since 2007, when Kevin Federline starred. The company became the official insurance sponsor of the NFL in August.
Agency: Chiel Worldwide's McKinney, Nationwide's lead creative agency. Ogilvy & Mather handled this year's new campaign with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Buy: One 60-second spot in an undisclosed quarter. Nissan is coming back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1997, the company said on Dec. 2, as part of its recent strategy to emphasize "fewer yet bigger moments."
Creative: Nissan's Super Bowl spot will celebrate dads. Leading up to game day, Nissan hired popular YouTube creators such as Epic Meal Time, Dude Perfect, Jabbawockeez, Convos with my 2-year Old, Roman Atwood and Action Movie Kid to contribute web videos about dads and their families. Campaign hashtag: #withdad.
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles.
Pre-release: No way. That "takes away much of the magic," an executive said. Later it released the first 10 seconds, apparently trying to have things both ways.
Buy: The NFL is donating 30 seconds of its commercial airtime during the first quarter for a PSA on behalf of No More, an organization formed in 2013 to combat domestic violence and sexual assault. No More has been running PSAs during NFL games all year.
Creative: A woman calling 911 pretends to order a pizza as she covertly alerts the operator that her abuser is in her house. The ad does not include any NFL branding.
Agency: Grey, the NFL's ad agency. Grey donated its time for the ad, according to the agency. The NFL covered production costs.
Pre-release: The ad was released on Jan. 26, the Monday before the game.
Buy: One 30-second commercial in the second quarter
Creative: A trailer for "Terminator Genisys"
Pre-release: Although not the first preview available for the "Terminator" reboot, the particular one in the Super Bowl went online Jan. 29
Buy: One 30-second commercial leading into the halftime show, which Pepsi is again sponsoring
Creative: TBD. Katy Perry is performing during the halftime show. For the 2014 game, Pepsi also ran a 30-second ad during halftime as a lead-in to its halftime show.
Pre-release: Pepsi does not plan to release its commercial before it airs.
Agency: Mekanism will again handle the halftime show lead-in.
Buy: One 15-second ad
Creative: The spot shows Mr. Rose walking through a hallway at his house that's stocked with baseball memorabilia, making fun of the fact that he's banned from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Agency: Siltanen & Partners
Pre-release: Skechers began publicizing its buy on Jan. 29, the day it said it finalized the buy, and provided the spot then too, but it's not even a new ad, so many viewers had already seen it long before the Super Bowl teams were set. (It's actually got a new ending and new shoes, a Skechers rep pointed out.)
Buy: One 30-second ad in the first half
Creative: Skittles will appear in a commercial during the Super Bowl this February for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter, but it isn't clear what form the ad will take. Skittles was a big winner in last season's Super Bowl even without an ad because Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch is a notorious fan, but it isn't using him in the Super Bowl ad now that it has one. Skittles began promoting its commercial in early January with a video showing former NFL great Kurt Warner already tailgating outside the stadium where the Super Bowl will be played. It followed up right before Super Bowl Media Day with a fake press conference with the press-averse Mr. Lynch.
Agency: DDB Chicago
Buy: One 30-second ad, Snickers' first since 2011. Snickers declined to specify the quarter in which the spot would run.
Creative: The commercial will continue Snickers' "You're Not You When You're Hungry" campaign, introduced by BBDO, New York, with an ad starring Betty White in the 2010 Super Bowl. Ms. White will not appear in the 2015 Super Bowl ad, but it looks like Danny Trejo and some kind of "Brady Bunch" riff will.
Agency: BBDO, New York
Pre-release: Mars doesn't usually release its Super Bowl ads early but this year tried something new: promising to reveal the whole ad if a teaser generates 2.5 million social media engagements such as views, likes or shares on Youtube, Facebook or Twitter. It wound up debuting the full commercial on NBC's "Today" on Thursday, Jan. 29.
Buy: One 30-second commercial
Creative: Instead of airing a traditional ad that discusses the benefits of Squarespace's service during the big game, the company's commercial will promote Jeff Bridges' "Sleeping Tapes" project, which uses the service. Squarespace is making its second Super Bowl appearance, following a debut in 2014. It joins another web development platform, Wix.com, which will air its first spot during the 2015 game, as well as web-hosting company and chronic Super Bowl advertiser GoDaddy.
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, New York, in a departure from the 2014 approach, when Squarespace developed its ad internally.
Pre-release: The company released "The Cliff -- DreamingWithJeff.com" on Jan. 28, the Wednesday before the game.
Buy: One ad during the third quarter
Creative: Not disclosed
Agency: Deutsch L.A. is Sprint's agency of record since December
Buy: Two commercials. Last year T-Mobile ran three ads during the game.
Creative: One ad stars Kim Kardashian West, who first announced the spot to her 28 million-plus Twitter followers, appealing to consumers to "Please, help save the data" in a mock-PSA promoting T-Mobile's data-rollover plan. The other stars Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman.
Agency: Publicis, Seattle
Pre-release: The Kardashian ad debuted on TBS's "Conan" on Jan. 26, the Monday before the game.
Super Bowl live-stream: T-Mobile is also running a different ad in NBC's free live-stream.
Buy: Two spots
Creative: Toyota is back for its third consecutive Super Bowl with a commercial starring Team Toyota athlete Amy Purdy, a U.S. Paralympic Team snowboarder, and another celebrating "great, bold dads" to promote the new Toyota Camry, said Jack Hollis, VP-marketing, Toyota. Toyota's 60-second 2014 Super Bowl ad featured Terry Crews and The Muppets, while the 2013 commercial starred "The Big Bang Theory" actress Kaley Cuoco.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles
Pre-release: Toyota posted its Amy Purdy spot, which will run in the first quarter, on Jan. 23.
Buy: One 60-second commercial during the first quarter, a return to the game after last year's debut
Creative: In a repeat of last year's decision to avoid the deluge of pre-released Super Bowl ads, the brand is keeping the creative for its return under wraps until game day.
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Buy: One 30-second spot, the first Super Bowl ad for Victoria's Secret since 2008. The ad will run in the fourth quarter.
Creative: The commercial will star Victoria Secret models including Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima.
Agency: The ad was created internally.
Pre-release: Aired during ABC's 'Good Morning America' on Jan. 26, the Monday before the game
Buy: One 30-second ad in the first half
Creative: The ad, "America at Work," features employees of Weathertech, the automotive floor mat manufacturer that ran its first Super Bowl ad in 2014, and the boss's dog.
Agency: Pinnacle Advertising
Pre-release: WeatherTech posted its sophomore Super Bowl ad on Jan. 20.
Buy: Not disclosed
Creative: Weight Watchers is preserving the mystique of its Super Bowl ad, declining to disclose details early, but could seize on the irony of trying to sell a weight loss message during a national snackathon. Its recent campaign, "Help With the Hard Part," shows the complex relationships that people have with food.
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, its agency of record
Buy: One ad
Creative: A preview for "Tomorrowland," a sci-fi adventure slated for May release and starring George Clooney with a screenplay co-written by Damon Lindelof
Buy: A 30-second spot in the fourth quarter
Creative: The web development platform's first Super Bowl commercial highlights Wix's mission to simplify website creation, specifically for small business owners, as former NFL quarterback Brett Favre gets business advice from Rex Lee (Lloyd on "Entourage"). Wix followed the lead of web development platform Squarespace, which gained household name status with its debut Super Bowl ad in 2014 and returned in 2015. Wix.com previously ran mostly direct response TV ad campaigns in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.
Agency: The company said it worked directly with Frank Samuel, Jeff Reed and Lauren Bayer of Committee LA, in collaboration with San Francisco creative team Jeff Huggins and Andrea Janetos.
Pre-release: Wix.com posted its debut Super Bowl ad on Jan. 27.