NEW YORK (AP) - Sex sells. Babies sell even more. And advertisers are hoping animals will make you laugh all the way to their stores.
While the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens battle on the field during Super Bowl XLVII, marketers from Best Buy to M&M to Toyota are competing against each other on advertising's biggest stage. And they're doing so by pulling out the most persuasive tools of their trade.
The stakes are high, with 30-second spots going for as much as $4 million this year. And more than 111 million viewers are expected to tune in.
Here are some ad highlights from the first half:
- Car ads focused on families: Hyundai's "Epic Playdate" spot right before kickoff showed a family partying with the band The Flaming Lips: wreaking havoc at a natural history museum, getting chased by bikers, going to a petting zoo and playing in a park.
"Make every day epic with the new seven-passenger Santa Fe," a voiceover states.
When the family gets back home and the daughter asks, "What are we going to do now?" The father replies, "Well, I think there's a game on," and the broadcast went straight to the kickoff.
Audi's 60-second ad in the first quarter, with an ending voted on by viewers, shows a boy gaining confidence from driving his father's Audi to the prom, kissing the prom queen and getting decked by the prom king.
Toyota's ad stars Kaley Cuoco from CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" granting wishes to a family, from a boy wanting to go into space to a dad wanting to lose his "spare tire."
-Humor was prevalent: Best Buy's 30-second ad in the first quarter starred Amy Poehler, of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," asking a Best Buy employee endless questions about electronics.
"Will this one read "50 shades of Grey to me in a sexy voice," Poehler asks about an e-book reader. When the staffer says no she asks, "Will you?"
M&M's showed its red spokescharacter singing Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love," and wooing beautiful women, but stopping short when they try to eat him.
Oreo's ad featured a showdown in a library between people fighting over whether the cookie or the cream is the best part of the cookie. The joke - the fight escalates into thrown chairs and other destruction, but because the fight is in a library, everyone still has to whisper.
Doritos went for humor with its two user-created spots. Winners of the "Crash the Super Bowl" contest included one about a Doritos-crazy goat. Another showed a dad playing princess with his daughter to get Doritos. His buddies catch him, but instead of making fun of him they join in the fun.
"Is that my wedding dress?" says his wife when she sees them playing.
Budweiser showed rival 49ers and Ravens fans each creating a voodoo doll for the other team with the help of a mysterious figure in a bar. "It's only weird if it doesn't work," reads the copy.
-Sex still sells: Calvin Klein upped the sex appeal with a 30-second spot showing male model Matthew Terry strutting around in underwear.
Godaddy.com's spot toed the line of good taste, showing a close up extended kiss between supermodel Bar Refaeli and a nerdy nobody to illustrate Godaddy's combo of "sexy" and "smart."
Budweiser introduced its new Black Crown Lager with two sleek spots that showed sexy twentysomethings drinking the high-alcohol beer at a chic urban party.
10 spots to look out for during Super Bowl Sunday
Celebrities, humor, babies and cute animals will once again rule the commercial breaks on Sunday during Super Bowl XLVII, advertising's biggest showcase, when more than 111 million people are expected to tune in. Marketers have spent millions and pulled out all the stops to 'wow' viewers this year.
Here are 10 spots they hope will make you skip the bathroom break or beer run for during the big game:
1.) Samsung Mobile's 2-minute ad in the fourth quarter called "The Big Pitch" stars "Knocked Up" actors Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen and was directed by Jon Favreau ("Iron Man"). The company has not released details about the ad's plot other than to say that it shows Rogen and Rudd on a "quest to become the next big thing." A teaser ad shows Rogen and Rudd trying to talk about a Super Bowl ad without saying the words "Super Bowl."
2.) Best Buy's 30-second ad in the first quarter stars Amy Poehler, star of NBC's "Parks and Rec," asking a Best Buy employee "lots of questions."
3.) Kraft enlists Tracy Morgan from NBC's "30 Rock" to introduce its new Mio Fit water enhancing drops in a 30-second ad during the third quarter.
4.) Hyundai Motor Group's Kia invents a fanciful way that babies are made, blasting in from a baby planet in its "Space babies" ad for the 2014 Sorento crossover.
5.) First-time advertiser Paramount Farms is touting its Wonderful Pistachios brand of nut in a 30-second ad in the third quarter in its "Get Crackin'" campaign that stars Korean pop sensation Psy.
See the ad here.
6.) First-time advertiser Axe's 30-second ad in the third quarter of the game shows a woman in the ocean getting rescued by a sexy lifeguard, but going for an astronaut instead. It promotes Axe's new cologne "Apollo" and its contest to send someone on the first suborbital space tour in 2014.
7.) Audi's 60-second ad in the first quarter, with an ending voted on by viewers, shows a boy gaining confidence from driving his father's Audi to the prom, kissing the prom queen and getting decked by the prom king.
8.) PepsiCo's Frito-Lay's Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" ads are back for the seventh straight year. Two 30-second commercials made by consumers will make it on the air. Fans voted for one winner and Doritos chose the other.
See the ad here.
9.) Ford Motor Co. enlisted late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon to choose road trip stories submitted by Twitter with the hashtag #steerthescript to base its Super Bowl commercial for Lincoln. The story line for the 30-second ad was developed from 6,117 Tweets about road trips and features rapper Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, Wil Wheaton, who acted in the iconic science-fiction series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
See the ad here.
10.) The Milk Processor Education Program, known as MilkPep and popular for its "Got Milk?" print ads, is featuring actor and professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a 30-second ad in the second quarter that is directed by Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights.")
See the ad here.