Every year, the Super Bowl promises intense competition while the best NFL teams in the country battle it out. Beyond the high-stakes game, some fans tune in just for the funny, heartwarming, and star-studded ads from big brands. The event's massive audience—over 110 million viewers expected this year—inspires huge advertising budgets from major corporations. Money spent on Super Bowl ads can range from $7 million all the way up to $26 million—all just for a quick commercial! Here, we go over which companies set the record for the most money spent on ads over the years.
Amazon's Mind Reader
Amazon's Mind-Reading Alexa stole the spotlight at Super Bowl LVI, with a whopping $26 million price tag for its 130-second slot. The ad, released in 2022, imagines Alexa's ability to read minds, featuring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost as a couple going about their day, with Alexa anticipating their every need and desire a little too accurately. Viewers loved its humor and relatable depiction of life with smart tech, sparking discussions on AI's pros and cons.
General Motors No Way Norway
Can you believe this 130-second-long Super Bowl commercial, filmed in Norway, Iceland, and Los Angeles, cost a hefty $22 million? This two-minute adventure film, launched in 2021, showcases General Motors' dedication to electric vehicles. Starring Kenan Thompson, Awkwafina, and Will Ferrell, the ad takes viewers on a journey to Norway, highlighting the country's beauty and the advantages of electric vehicles. Fans loved its humor, stunning scenery, eco-friendly message, and diverse cast.
Cadillac's Hands-Free Super Cruise
In 2021, Cadillac aired a brilliant homage to the cult favorite film, Edward Scissorhands. The nostalgic Super Bowl ad starred Winona Ryder and Timothee Chalamet as her scissor-handed son, Edgar. The Cadillac LYRIQ took center stage, showcasing its hands-free technology, effortlessly handled even by Edgar. The 130-second slot came with a massive $22 million price tag during Super Bowl LV, sparking discussions on disability, technology, and the future of transportation.
Within twenty seconds, Super Bowl fans were on the verge of tears. Google's ad, Loretta, splurged $16.8 million for a 90-second slot in Super Bowl LIV in 2020. It tells the story of an older man named William, who uses Google Assistant to reminisce about his late wife, Loretta. He asks the assistant to “show me pictures of Loretta,” and it displays a slideshow of photos from their life together. There were no celebrities or fancy effects, just raw, tender emotions—the ad touched hearts, showing how technology helps us remember and honor our departed loved ones.
Amazon's Before Alexa
Amazon's Before Alexa, a light and relatable 2020 Super Bowl ad, cost a reported $16.8 million for its 90-second slot. Featuring married couple Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, it depicts life before voice assistants, showcasing struggles with simple tasks. The ad's success stemmed from its humor, celebrity cameos, and clever concept, which resonated with viewers through relatable situations and playful jabs at everyday struggles.
84 Lumber's The Journey Begins
This is one of 2017's priciest Super Bowl ads, costing $16.2 million for 90 seconds. It follows a mother-daughter duo navigating hardships on their journey from Mexico to the US, shedding light on immigration issues. The website “journey84.com” was launched alongside the ad, but it didn't reveal the ad's conclusion and instead encouraged visitors to explore immigration rights and contribute to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Ford's Go Further
Airing during Super Bowl LI in 2017, this 90-second ad was one of the pricier commercials at $16.2 million. Narrated by Bryan Cranston, star of Breaking Bad, the ad paints a futuristic picture of a city powered by Ford's mobility services, featuring self-driving cars, bikes, and efficient public transit. The ad kicks off with relatable transportation challenges before unveiling the “city of tomorrow,” where people navigate using Ford's innovative solutions.
Chrysler's America's Import
The 2014 Super Bowl ad, America's Import, starring Bob Dylan, promoted the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan, costing $16 million for its 120-second spot. Departing from Chrysler's “Imported From Detroit” tagline, the ad emphasized American-made qualities. Bob Dylan narrates a poetic and thought-provoking message, questioning the essence of “American” and contrasting the craftsmanship and spirit of American-built cars with imported goods.
Amazon's Not Everything Makes the Cut
Airing during Super Bowl LIII in 2019, this $15.6 million, 90-second ad explores Amazon's Alexa in unconventional scenarios, highlighting both its potential and absurdity. Celebrities, including Harrison Ford and Forest Whitaker, grapple with quirky Alexa prototypes. The ad's tagline, “Not everything makes the cut,” is a nod to the trial-and-error nature of product development.
Kia's Give It Everything
This ad showcases individuals' daily challenges and victories in blue-collar professions as a tribute to the working class. It features real people, not actors, and is set to a cover of “I'll Stand By You” by Andra Day. It introduces the “Great Unknowns” Scholarship Fund by Kia, supporting the children of hourly workers in pursuing higher education. With a price tag of $15.6 million, the 90-second ad aired during Super Bowl LIII in 2018.
Samsung's the Next Big Thing
In a hilarious mock pitch meeting, comedy actors Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd brainstorm ideas for Samsung's “next big thing.” In its humor, the ad showcases the Galaxy S III features, including S Beam for seamless file sharing by touching phones and Smart Share for sharing content across devices. The 120-second ad, costing $15.2 million, reveals the Galaxy S III as the groundbreaking product already here.
Amazon's Alexa Loses Her Voice
In 2018, the Amazon Echo ad Alexa Loses Her Voice came with a price tag of $14.9 million for its 90-second run. The ad plays the scenario where Alexa loses her voice, prompting Amazon's engineers to hilariously enlist famous voices like Cardi B, Anthony Hopkins, and Rebel Wilson to fill in. Praised for its lighthearted take on technology and its fun celebrity cameos, the ad made a lasting impression.
Toyota's the Longest Chase
This ad was a 2016 fan favorite for its humor, unexpected twist, and clever demonstration of the Prius' features without excessive promotion. At a staggering cost of $14.4 million, the 90-second ad aired during Super Bowl 50. The storyline involves four thieves who unknowingly steal a Prius as their getaway car, leading to a hilarious high-speed chase. Along the way, the ad highlights various features of the Prius, including its spacious interior, backup camera, and fuel efficiency.
Chrysler's Imported From Detroit
This iconic ad uses Detroit's challenges and resilience as a metaphor for the Chrysler brand's journey toward renewal. With Eminem's spoken-word narration and powerful visuals of the city, the ad transforms Detroit-made cars into symbolic imports of American grit, innovation, and quality. Costing $12.4 million for its 2-minute Super Bowl runtime, the ad's “Imported from Detroit” tagline reframes the car as a premium product.
Bud Light's Up For Whatever
In 2014's Super Bowl XLVIII, Bud Light's $12 million ad captured fans' hearts with its hilarious and unexpected storyline. An average guy's “up for whatever” attitude leads to a wild night of parties, celebrity encounters, and quirky adventures, including facing off against Arnold Schwarzenegger in a game of ping pong. Viewers appreciated the humor, surprise elements, and the relatable “everyman” protagonist, making it a hit Super Bowl commercial.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer
This very expensive Super Bowl ad cost $11.9 million to air (7% of the film's budget). The commercial featured epic scenes from the Jurassic World sequel, starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt. Fans of both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World franchises loved seeing a sneak peek of these A-listers battling it out with terrifying prehistoric creatures.
Jaguar's British Villains' Rendezvous
This 2014 Super Bowl commercial reportedly cost a staggering $8 million. It pays tribute to the stereotype of British actors portraying villains in Hollywood, starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston, and Mark Strong. Set in London, the ad features the actors cruising in a sleek Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe while discussing the sophistication of being “bad,” aligning perfectly with the brand's image.
Coca-Cola's America Is Beautiful
Airing during the 2014 Super Bowl and priced at a hefty $8 million, this ad celebrated America's diversity while evoking themes from Coca-Cola's famous 1971 ad, “I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke.” It showcased individuals from various ethnicities, religions, and cultural backgrounds singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages. Widely praised for its positive and inclusive message, the ad generated significant social media buzz, becoming the #1 trending topic on Facebook during and after the Super Bowl.