Super Bowl ad roundup: Big stars push a range of tech, from travel to phones to electric vehicles

Country music legend Dolly Parton in a Super Bowl LVI commercial for T-Mobile. (T-Mobile Photo)

The focus of a lot of the Super Bowl LVI ads released ahead of Sunday’s games seems to be the stars who show up in the commercials. In many cases, it’s easy to forget just which companies and products we’re supposed to be buying into.

Some of the biggest companies in the world — Amazon, Google, Expedia, Salesforce, T-Mobile, Uber, AT&T, General Motors, BMW and more — have enlisted Hollywood hotshots such as Scarlett Johansson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lizzo, Ewan McGregor, Dolly Parton, Matthew McConaughey and others.

Electric vehicles are getting a big push this year, which is potentially a good thing for the planet since 100 million of its inhabitants usually tune into the Super Bowl.

Gadgets, voice assistants, wireless carriers, food delivery, internet services and smartphones are also in the mix.

Check out some of the tech-centric ads that have already been a hit online, before the hits happen on the field Sunday.

Expedia

Ewan McGregor takes a stroll through the ad sets of what everyone else is selling in this spot for Expedia, which reminds us that we don’t really need more stuff. Lighter light beer? A crunchier chip? Thinner TVs? Forget it. The Seattle-based online travel giant wants us to think about the places we’ll go rather than the things we’ll buy. The ad is clearly tapped into how Expedia’s CEO views the world.

Amazon

Forget about what you say around Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa. Be careful what you think. Real life couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost star as themselves in an ad that shows how sideways thing could go if Alexa was a mind reader. Read more.

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T-Mobile

The phones. The phones! Who will think about the phones? Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus team in these T-Mobile spots for a spoof on charitable actions by celebs, but in this case the country music great enlists the younger star to rescue smartphones that are stuck on inferior 5G plans. Poor AT&T! Poor Verizon! (In reality, T-Mobile is donating $250,000 to Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, which funds programs supporting homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.)

Uber Eats

If it was delivered with Uber Eats, does that mean I can eats it? The stars in this fun ad for the food delivery service put that question to the test, chomping on such things as diapers and dish soap. Gwyneth Paltrow makes an appearance, biting into a candle that she was selling via her Goop website that was supposed to smell like … her vagina? “Thanks to Uber Eats we don’t even know what food is anymore,” Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” shouts.

Google

People with darker complexions come into beautiful focus in this Google ad for “Real Tone” camera technology on the Google Pixel 6 smartphone. “Everyone deserves to be seen as they truly are,” says the ad, featuring rapper/singer Lizzo. The tech giant has established itself as a company to be taken seriously, rather than comedically, when it comes to its Super Bowl advertising. In 2019 it aired a tear-jerker related to its Assistant.

Salesforce

Talk about playing for the home team. Salesforce enlisted Matthew McConaughey in a spacesuit to basically promote sticking around on planet Earth. Forget the metaverse and Mars, McConaughey says. “The new frontier ain’t rocket science. It’s right here.”

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Meta

Wow, Facebook parent company Meta actually managed to tug at the heartstrings with an animatronic arcade dog. In an ad for the Quest 2 virtual reality headset, Meta shows how old friends can find new life in the metaverse. You just have to get past the sad commentary about our throwaway society to cuddle up to the real message.

Vroom

Tech-fueled online used car seller Vroom, which is backed by Bill Gates, is back with a Super Bowl ad showing the singing, dancing, bust-into-a-street-musical joy that comes from successfully selling your own car.

Squarespace

Actress Zendaya is a seaside SAAS sensation in this tongue twister from Squarespace, which shows Sally selling seashells — to great success.

AT&T

Tech investor Ashton Kutcher might be missing from this AT&T ad, but he’s all over its subtext, thanks to the stars — ex-wife Demi Moore and current wife Mila Kunis, who had no idea they went to the same high school. “We have a lot in common,” Kunis deadpans.

Verizon

This one has the potential to land on some best-of lists, if only because Jim Carrey and his “Cable Guy” character will have viewers repeating “cablllllleeeeeeee guyyyyyyyyyy” for the rest of the night. For now, it’s just a tease from Verizon, which says in the YouTube description: “Stay tuned for a whole new way to internet.”

General Motors

Speaking of bringing back famous movie characters … GM aims to match Verizon’s move with the return of Mike Myers as Dr. Evil, alongside his “Austin Powers” sidekicks. With his takeover of the automaker, Dr. Evil is faced with the prospect of being Dr. Good by releasing a line of electric vehicles.

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Kia

Dogs are a big deal in Super Bowl commercials — even the robot variety, which Kia employs here to demonstrate just how much we should all be chomping at the bit to ride in the company’s all-electric EV6.

BMW

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek are the gods of advertising in this car commercial as Zeus (god of the sky) and Hera (goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth). The two put a charge into the spot and any hype around BMW’s new iX electric vehicle. Try not singing “Electric Avenue” afterward.

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