Beyonce will star in PepsiCos half-time show

Beyonce will star in PepsiCo's half-time show

Sunday's Super Bowl is fast approaching, which back in pre-YouTube days meant growing excitement over the TV cast's ads. These days, however, many advertisers release their Super Bowl commercials ahead of time in an attempt to seed interest and maximise views.

And, with a 30-second ad this year reported to cost a minimum US$5m for the Super Bowl's 50th anniversary, you can't blame the companies for trying to wring as much out of their campaigns as possible.

Here's a taste of what Anheuser-Busch Inbev and PepsiCo have lined up for the weekend, as well as a round-up of what the rest of the beverage industry is up to at America's biggest TV sporting occasion.

Budweiser

After a pleasingly-direct advert last year that poked fun at craft beer, AB InBev's powerhouse Budweiser brand has retained its edge, but bristled it in a different direction. The sole, pre-released Budweiser advert shows UK actor Helen Mirren in a serious one-on-one with the camera, telling people not to drink and drive. Anyone doing so is a "pillock", according to Mirren, in a verbal slapdown that may be lost on her American audience. Still, it's interesting to see AB InBev bring its responsible drinking message to the world's most expensive marketing frame. 

Budweiser usually features in more than one advert, so expect a different angle from the others; as well as Clydesdale horses and puppies, of course.

And, if you live in Canada, you'll get to see this Budweiser ad, which inserts a slice of good-old-Canadian ice hockey into the football arena.

Bud Light

Bud Light has had a few hits in the past, not least Arnold Schwarzenegger playing table tennis, two Super Bowls ago. This year's offering features comedians Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer delivering a presidential-style address to Americans. The cameos are less star-studded (Paul Rudd instead of Arnie) but it moves fast and is at least topical, with the US caucuses underway as of game time.

Mountain Dew Kickstart

PepsiCo returns Mountain Dew to the Super Bowl stage for the first time since 2000, and in bizarre fashion. But if #puppymonkeydog is trending by half-time then the company won't care. PepsiCo has chosen Mountain Dew extension Kickstart to take the Super Bowl limelight as it continues its marketing push for the energy drink and rolls out a new line of flavours.

Shock Top

AB InBev's curveball this year (in 2013 it advertised its Budweiser extension Black Crown) is Shock Top, a Belgian-style wheat ale making its first appearance. It stars actor TJ Miller and the Shock Top tap handle mascot and is clearly aimed at Miller's Silicon Valley TV show fans. The pre-released clip is an extended version on what will appear on TV.

Elsewhere in the Super Bowl ad universe, PepsiCo are again sponsoring the half-time show, which this year features Coldplay and Beyonce. The Coca-Cola Co hasn't released any details about its commericals yet, but it will be interesting to see if the company adheres to its new "One Brand" ethos and its pledge to advertise all of its Coke variants together.

Meanwhile, soft drinks maker Bai Brands, in which Dr Pepper Snapple Group owns a minority share, will run its 'None of this makes sense' campaign for its Bai Antioxidant Infusions brand. And AB InBev today announced its Michelob Ultra advert was directed by Antoine Fuqua, best known for helming Training Day with Denzel Washington. In a twist, the 'Breathe' spot will only air if the game goes into overtime.

May the best team win.