Mike Myers and Dana Carvey may be rock heroes in the Wayne’s World universe, but they’re not the only party-starters to nab key roles in Super Bowl commercials this year. In the concert-less pandemic era, many artists are eager to strike brand deals — and several of them scored big spots in the ads that will air at halftime in one of the U.S.’s biggest annual television events. We’ll keep updating musical cameos from 2021’s throng as clips continue to arrive before Sunday’s highly anticipated game.
The Weeknd x Pepsi
Pepsi is one of the Super Bowl’s biggest sponsors, and while the company is known for delivering a variety of tongue-in-cheek ads starring everyone from Britney Spears and One Direction to Cindy Crawford and Michael J. Fox, its team chose to focus solely on a halftime show performer this year. The goal is to tease the big event within the big event. In doing so, Pepsi homes in on the ubiquitous nature of The Weeknd’s smash hit, “Blinding Lights,” which really felt like it was everyone’s lips in 2020 — despite earning zero recognition from the upcoming Grammys.
Lil Nas X x Logitech
Logitech is asking people who “defy logic” to, defying logic, buy Logitech. In highlighting tomorrow’s innovators, Lil Nas X narrates, calling on young game-changers “who defy genres, algorithms, and entire industries.” While the hip-hop/country star, LGBTQ+ representative, and TikTok fire-starter is obviously no stranger to turning heads, his commercial counterparts aren’t just actors either; they’re entrepreneurs in areas like tech, design, environmentalism, and cosmetics. In a weird way, the spot about looking to the future was actually funded by a pandemic that pressed pause on the present — given that sales of Logitech keyboards, mice, and webcams soared in 2020.
Dolly Parton x Squarespace
Covid-19 flipped routines on their head, blurring time, forcing many people to work challenging hours from strange places, and pushing others to fill freshly empty days and nights with the honing of new skills and hobbies. In that vein, website-making company Squarespace asked Dolly Parton to flip her 1980 classic, “9 to 5,” into “5 to 9” — a spirited jaunt that lets the queen of encouragement herself tell confused masses, “You can do it.” (The reaction, judging by YouTube comments, has been a bit mixed.)
Post Malone x Bud Light
Post Malone appears in the newly released Bud Light Legends ad, which is sadly not a best from the beer empire that had nailed so many other Super Bowl commercials over the years. Here, there are no heart-warming puppies, courageous horses, or big laughs. The brand did, however, enlist some beloved faces from previous spots, including Cedric the Entertainer, the “Bud Knight,” and the “I Love You, Man” man. It might have been cool to see them all together in a more exciting scenario — or if the sight of a crowd wasn’t so cringeworthy right now — but, hey, at least the group saves an overturned supply truck and the beverage’s real-life champion, Post Malone, walks away with three cases. Cheers to Posty.
Lenny Kravitz x Stella Artois
“We’re all born with 2.5 billion heartbeats,” Lenny Kravitz coos as he takes a seat behind the drum kit. “That makes you a billionaire.” No, the ad doesn’t go on to claim that beer-drinking promotes heart health: The heartthrob instead tells viewers to “invest” their billions “into the moments we share,” which are often commemorated with beverages like Stella Artois. While the sentiment of celebrating togetherness is sweet in theory, the ad doesn’t quite hit right in a time when people can’t yet be together — demonstrating, like so many other things, the awkwardness of upbeat advertising in the time of a pandemic.
Meek Mill, Leslie Grace x Bacardi
This is just a straight-up rum ad. Nothing about the Bacardi spot screams “Super Bowl,” but maybe that’s why it works? The creators aren’t trying to make any sort of social commentary, nor are they trying to be funny. In fact, the ad uses footage from a full-length, Bacardi-sponsored music video that sees In the Heights star Leslie Grace and Meek Mill rework Miami Sound Machine’s 1985 dance-floor anthem, “Conga.” The top-tier production, fun choreography, and tropical setting just end up providing a dreamlike distraction from real life.
Shaggy x Cheetos
It’s not the most important question of the year: Did Mila Kunis steal Ashton Kutcher’s bag of Cheetos? But it’s a relatable one. Cheetos successfully capitalizes on quarantine life by making a house call for these two celebrities, who happen to be real-life romantic partners and roommates. It’s always oddly entertaining to see superstars partake in normal-human activities — and, right now, many of us are stuck at home, binging junk food, and covered in Cheeto dust. The Kutchers’ annoyingly presentable appearances are only acceptable because they’re offset by Ashton’s meager attempts to sing Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me,” a turn-of-the-century reggae/pop hit about getting caught doing something nasty all over a shared home.