The ads provided some much-needed entertainment during the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history—especially a Bud Light ad that took a very dark turn. The ad, set at a medieval jousting match, was "hijacked" by HBO's Game of Thrones to promote its final season, with the skull-crushing "Mountain" character violently killing the "Bud Knight" before a dragon rains down fire, the Wall Street Journal reports. It was directed by Game of Thrones director David Nutter. The ad "was the perfect capper to my 'Game of Thrones' experience," Nutter said in a statement, per USA Today. "Bud Light, the Mountain, and a dragon—a holy trinity of epic-ness." Some other standout ads, which can be seen in the gallery:
- Burger King. For its ad, Burger King secured the rights to 37-year-old documentary footage of Andy Warhol eating a Whopper. When the David Miami ad agency found the footage, "our heads exploded," Burger King exec Fernando Machado tells Adweek.
- Hyundai. Hyundai's "Elevator" ad, in which shopping for a car is likened to unpleasant experiences like a root canal, sparked a backlash from vegans because one of the experiences was a vegan dinner party—with "beetloaf." The company tweeted a recipe for beetloaf and said it "actually loves" vegan food.
- Expensify. Expensify, which makes expense-tracking software, got some laughs with an ad featuring Adam Scott from Parks and Recreation trying to keep track of rapper 2 Chainz's expenses while filming a music video.
- Avocados from Mexico. Kristen Chenoweth hosts a "human canine show" in this ad, in which dogs look on as their owners perform various tricks in an effort to win assorted avocado-based dishes.
- Olay. Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the leading role in a mini-horror movie for Olay.
- Bumble. Serena Williams delivered a strong message of female empowerment in Bumble's Super Bowl ad, Us reports. "If I waited for change to happen, I never would have made a difference," she says.
- NFL. The NFL "crushed its own game in advertising" with an ad featuring the greatest NFL players gathered for a gala, CBS reports.
- Washington Post. The newspaper's first-ever Super Bowl ad, narrated by Tom Hanks, emphasized the dangers journalists around the world face. The game was a moment "to recognize the courage and commitment of journalists around the world that is so essential to our democracy," says publisher Fred Ryan.
- Audi. One of the most-praised ads was a spot for Audi's E-Tron GT electric sedan, in which a cashew plays a pivotal role.
- Amazon Alexa. AdAge rated this ad, which shows Alexa "failures" in places like Forest Whitaker's toothbrush and the collar of Harrison Ford's dog, a "touchdown."
- Avengers. New footage from upcoming Marvel sequel Avengers: Endgame appeared in the now traditional Super Bowl trailer, and while it was short on plot details, it was enough to get fans very excited: The footage "won the Super Bowl," according to Germain Lussier at io9.
(CBS refused to air a medical marijuana ad
during the Super Bowl.)