Super Bowl commercials feature familiar late night faces

Michelob Ultra Super Bowl commercial, photo provided by Michelob Ultra
Michelob Ultra Super Bowl commercial, photo provided by Michelob Ultra /

Late night television fans saw some of their favorite personalities in this year’s batch of Super Bowl commercials.

The National Football League season officially came to an end last night when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Today, the internet will be loaded with post-game analysis, highlights, and predictions for next season. But for millions watching, the Super Bowl commercials were just as much of a draw as the action on the field.

NFL fans know that there is no shortage of commercial breaks during a typical game. Every injury timeout or break between the extra point and kickoff is filled with an advertisement for something. It is typically the only time fans walk away from the television.

But Super Bowl Sunday has changed all of that and made commercials an event. This year, a 30-second spot during the big game cost companies a reported $5.6 million. That means that Super Bowl commercials are big business with high stakes.

So for that kind of money, it’s not surprising that so many companies turn to celebrities or produce mini half-minute long movies to sell their products. This year, late night television fans got to see some familiar faces, including in one commercial that contended for the night’s best.

Late night hosts in the spotlight

Two Super Bowl commercials featured current late night show hosts. And the two that got a chance to be center stage were the perfect picks as both can boast some of the most dedicated and active fans on social media.

First up, A Little Late with Lilly Singh host and YouTube superstar Lilly Singh. Singh appeared alongside one-time late night host Busy Phillips, Taraiji P. Henson, Katie Couric, and astronaut Nicole Stott in an ad for Olay.

While the Olay brand was all over the place, the commercial wasn’t asking consumers to buy a particular product. Instead, they were encouraged to tweet @OlaySkin and #MakeSpaceForWomen to raise money for Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in computer science fields.

Singh has frequently been involved with charities and social activism campaigns. Olay was wise to tap Singh for this commercial, considering she has one of, if not the best fanbase in all of late night.

Next up was Jimmy Fallon. The Tonight Show host was joined by actor John Cena in a Super Bowl commercial from Michelob Ultra. The brand wanted to showcase how staying in shape and drinking beer doesn’t have to be a choice. To hammer the point home, they picked two guys known for doing both.

It was a big night for Cena. The wrestler-turned-actor was also featured in the trailer for F9, the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. With that movie and The Suicide Squad coming next year, Cena is becoming quite the mainstream action star.

For Fallon, a beer commercial certainly makes sense for him. After all, it is Fallon who brought drinking games to late night television. But this Super Bowl commercial is less frat party vibes and more responsible adult drinker.

Saturday Night Live alumni steal the show

Saturday Night Live fans from all different eras recognized cast members on Sunday night. Other than Jimmy Fallon, studios went calling for SNL alumni to their Super Bowl commercials grab the attention of audiences.

Facebook has been going through a public relations rough patch recently, the likes of which it hasn’t seen since The Social Network was released. Issues about privacy, user data, and political advertisements have caused many to criticize the company and creator Mark Zuckerberg.

So maybe this Super Bowl ad was a step in the right direction? Showcasing rock-themed groups found on Facebook, the ad ended with celebrity cameos from Sylvester Stallone and SNL alum Chris Rock. There were really only two choices when it came to a famous name appear at the end of this ad: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Chris Rock. Facebook went with the comedian and so far it has paid off with over 21 million YouTube views for the ad.

Old school Saturday Night Live fans were undoubtedly excited to see Bill Murray. Murray reprises his role from the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. It was fitting considering the Super Bowl took place on Groundhog Day.

Given Murray’s reputation as a difficult man to contact, it was a little surprising to see the SNL legend in an ad for Jeep. And it was even more surprising to see him do it while referencing his own past career. But perhaps Murray wanted to put the spotlight back on Groundhog Day for a wider audience and celebrate the work he did with the late Harold Ramis. Super Bowl commercials are the best way to get the attention of a very, very big audience.

This Super Bowl commercial from Hyundai got a lot of buzz online and was considered one of the night’s best. The Boston accent isn’t exactly music to the ears but it sounds a little bit better coming from Massachusetts natives like John Krasinski, Chris Evans, and Rachel Dratch.

If you’re going to make a commercial about the Boston accent then you have to get Dratch. The comedian was behind the “Boston Teens” sketches on Saturday Night Live that also featured Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz. SNL fans were wicked happy to see a nod to one of the best recurring sketches from that era pop up during the Super Bowl.

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What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial featuring a late night personality? What about your favorite commercial overall? Let us know in the comment section below!