We hope you're ready for the 2023 Super Bowl this week! We can't wait to watch Rihanna slay during the Halftime Show. There have been several fantastic musical performances that have happened during the Super Bowl. But musicians don't just appear on the field during American football's biggest night...they appear in commercials, too!
We've talked enough about the best (and worst) Halftime Show performances, so for this year's Super Bowl-related Top 10 list, we're kicking things up a notch with not 10, but 11 of our favorite Super Bowl commercials that have starred famous musicians! We hope to add more to this list with every passing Super Bowl.
Below you'll find clips from all different decades – from the 90s to the early 2020s. You may also notice a lot of the commercials listed below happen to be Pepsi ads. We guess Pepsi just has a lot of connections with artists in the industry? The Halftime Show used to be called the Pepsi Halftime Show, after all.
Without further ado, let's jump into it. Lights, camera, action!
1. Britney Spears, Beyoncé, & P!nk - Pepsi (2004)
We're starting this list off on the right foot with what is considered to be one of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time, let alone the best music-themed commercial ever made. Put early 2000s music juggernauts Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and P!nk in a gladiator ring together, and what happens? They don't kill each other – rather they work together to give a killer rendition of Queen's "We Will Rock You."
The iconic commercial also featured cameos from Enrique Iglesias as the Roman emperor and Queen's own Brian May as a citizen who shouts "Yeah!" around the 1:39 mark. This ad is a winner, period. Still to this day, we can't figure out whose solo we love the most.
2. Justin Timberlake - Bai (2017)
The ad starts off with legendary actor Christopher Walken sitting in front of a roaring fireplace, staring intensely into the camera.
"I don't wanna make it tough, I just wanna tell you that I've had enough," he dramatically begins. Before you can realize what's going on, he then drops, "It might sound crazy, but it ain't no lie, baby. Bye, bye, bye."
Cue Justin Timberlake sitting on the sofa next to him, both men seriously staring into the camera, and of course, NSYNC's hit "Bye Bye Bye" blasting once we see a bottle of Bai on a side table near them. It's such a simple concept, but the humor never gets old.
3. Drake - T-Mobile (2016)
You just had to be there to know how meme-able Drake's "Hotline Bling" music video was when it was released in 2015. Everyone wanted to capitalize off the humor, including SNL. T-Mobile decided to join in on the unapologetic dancing fun, and during the 2016 Super Bowl, released an ad starring Drake himself.
The commercial starts off with Drake dancing in his famous "Hotline Bling" set, when three businesspeople from a competing service provider suggest tacky changes to the song. We're mad at Drake for lying to us about not actually being from Canada, but hey – at least we we get to see the three suit-clad actors shake their booties in the "Hotline Bling" box.
4. Eminem - Chrysler (2011)
This intense and hopeful ad lifted Detroit natives' spirits during a trying time in the city's history. While the theme of this stirring ad may be one of pride, it's contrasted with grim images of I-75 and the billowing smokestacks that convey the decline of Detroit: a once proud and great city with a strong history of industry and manufacturing in America.
As the narrator speaks about Detroit's hardworking history and mentions how luxury is more about where a product comes from rather than who it's made for, we hear the riff of Eminem's hit "Lose Yourself" thumping in the background. We see clips of Slim Shady driving a Chrysler to a theatre, where he joins a choir onstage and says to the camera "This is the Motor City...and THIS is what we do."
The impactful ad resonated not just with Detroit locals, but with Americans who were still reeling from the 2008 Recession. The commercial got the biggest amount of buzz on Twitter – still new at the time – and Slate's John Swanberg said the Chrysler ad was the night's best. "It left me pumping my fist and pledging to buy American everything," he commented.
5. Psy - Wonderful Pistachios (2013)
Oh, "Gangnam Style"... the biggest dance craze of 2012. The following year, Wonderful Pistachios managed to get a hold of Psy for their Super Bowl XLVII commercial. It featured the K-pop star catapulting out of a pistachio nut to deliver the iconic dance moves of "Gangnam Style" with a horde of pistachio-clad background dancers behind him. "Crackin' Gangnam Style!" he chants.
This ad may be over-the-top silly (maybe even "nuts," as the voiceover would suggest), but we secretly kind of want Psy's pistachio green sparkly blazer? It's just really fine drip. Also, only Psy is able to pull off riding a pistachio nut as if it were a bull.
6. Elton John & Melanie Amaro - Pepsi (2012)
Elton John got his chance to act in a Pepsi ad for the 2012 Super Bowl. That year, the soft drink giant did a commercial where the "Tiny Dancer" singer played a king in a courtroom. After he sends a terribly-singing jester down to the dungeons, he is confronted by X Factor singer Melanie Amaro.
Amaro belts out an EDM version of Aretha Franklin's "Respect." The citizens of the kingdom – and even John himself – seem to dig it. The ad ends with John offering Amaro a can of Pepsi. Instead of taking the prize for herself, Amaro manages to launch John down into the dungeons and announces there will be "Pepsi for all."
7. Ozzy Osbourne & Justin Bieber - Best Buy (2011)
This ad was made to promote Best Buy's Buy Back Program in 2011. The clip starts out with Black Sabbath legend Ozzy Osbourne trying to get his lines right on a futuristic-looking set. "All abooooooard the 5G train!" he shouts. His wife Sharon even appears to try and help him out.
When things go south, a young Justin Bieber appears and tells Ozzy "I'll take it from here." The Biebs promotes a 6G phone, enthusiastically saying, "It's Bieber 6G fever!" to the camera. Between his little robot dance and Ozzy's closing "What the f---'s a Bieber?" we can't help but crack up.
8. Ray Charles - Diet Pepsi (1991)
Ray Charles serenades us with piano and Diet Pepsi during this 1991 Super Bowl commercial. "Now I can't tell you who's going to win today's game, but listen close 'cause three of you folks are gonna be big winners!" he says in the full version of the commercial.
What follows is an extravaganza of music: three backup singers, a full orchestra, and a chorus line of gold-costumed dancers accompany Charles as he continues to croon. Several more commercials with Charles and Diet Pepsi followed suit. In retrospect, it was a pretty huge ad campaign. To this concept, we simply say..."Uh-huh!"
9. Willie Nelson - H&R Block (2003)
You may remember Willie Nelson's latest Skechers commercial for the Super Bowl, but before that the country singer starred in a funny commercial for tax preparation company H&R Block. The ad centers around Nelson and a doll-sized version of himself that offers advice to those struggling to complete their taxes. Nelson's charm and the comedic chops of the ensemble actors really sell this thing.
It's a very short and sweet ad, but we'll probably remember it most for that ending scene in the baseball dugout. After his team seems to be defeated, a coach asks the doll, "Willie, should I give this kid a shellackin'?" The doll then shouts, "BRING IT ON!!!"
10. Doja Cat - Taco Bell (2022)
The most recent commercial on our list. We all know how crazy Doja Cat is for Taco Bell (she literally brought the Mexican Pizza back and made a musical about it), so we were super excited when we heard last year she'd be starring in a commercial created by the fast food chain. And we were not disappointed by the result!
The ad sees our beloved Doja escaping a depressing clown school (a metaphor for McDonald's?) with her peers in order to grab some grub at Taco Bell. We love the close-up shot of her excited face as makeup fades away and her hair turns purple. We also dig her grungy cover of Hole's hit song "Celebrity Skin." This commercial makes us want to Live Más!
11. Lil Jon & Cardi B - Pepsi (2019)
If you've ever ordered a Coke at a restaurant, you've definitely heard the phrase "Is Pepsi okay?" come out of your waiter's mouth. This ad gives absolute pride to the sentence with a grand speech from Steve Carell and surprise features from hype man rapper Lil Jon and hip-hop goddess Cardi B.
Lil Jon's voice will never not get us energized, but Cardi really steals the show here. Between her iconic "Okurrr," her fun little laugh, the bedazzled bottle of Pepsi she holds, and her poised slow-motion walking as "I Like It" booms in the background, we can see why Pepsi brought her back for more entertaining commercials later on.
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