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From Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Muppets, Celebs Take Over Super Bowl Ads

James Franco, Stephen Colbert, Tom Hiddleston, Sarah McLachlan, the cast of 'Full House,' Terry Crews, Laurence Fishburne, David Beckham, Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong to also appear in spots

It sounds as if the screeches heard from last year’s Doritos goat have been silenced.

After successful pop culture-tinted campaigns — remember Volkswagen’s young Darth Vader spot from 2011? — and the influence of short YouTube videos that have generated considerable chatter (think Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Volvo Trucks stunt), celebrities seem to be replacing the menagerie of animals, talking babies and fraternity of dudes that have long dominated Super Bowl commercials.

“With the largest television audience of the year, it’s an unprecedented opportunity and we make the most of it,” said Paul Chibe, Anheuser-Busch’s VP of U.S. marketing, while announcing the beermaker’s Super Bowl plans. “We have a game plan in place this year to deliver creative that celebrates Bud Light and Budweiser while reaching loyal beer drinkers and new generations.”

It needs to, with each 30-second spot costing a record $4 million this year.

Some advertisers know you don’t mess with a classic: Budweiser’s Clydesdales will be back as usual. Yet this year’s crop of ads will give the horses some competition for the spotlight, with a long list of bold-faced names from movies, TV and sports set to appear during the breaks in the action on the field.


Bud Light Gets “Epic” with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Bud Light has enlisted Schwarzenegger to star in one of its Super Bowl ads, paying the thesp $3 million for the rare commercial appearance (see teaser above). The beer brand has also hired Don Cheadle to appear in the spot.

The marketing effort is part of Bud Light’s plan to form one cohesive story through 15-second teasers that promise “412 actors, 58 hidden cameras, 5 rock stars, 4 celebrities” and “1 unsuspecting guy.”

James Franco Finds Next Odd-Job: Ford Pitchman

James Franco will appear in a spot for Ford Motor Co. Actor teased the appearance on Instagram with “Ford – Super Bowl commercial – baaaaaby” and the image below:

Sarah McLachlan to Perform New Song for Audi

Audi has turned to McLachlan to help spotlight its new entry level A3 luxury sedan with a song that raises awareness for the “Doberhuahua,” the star of the carmaker’s Super Bowl ad.

Kia Conjures Up “The Matrix”

Laurence Fishburne will play Morpheus from “The Matrix” again for Kia as the Korean automaker promotes its new K900 premium sedan with a 60-second ad.

“Full House” and “Seinfeld” Reunions

Dannon’s Oikos brand has enlisted John Stamos, Bob Saget and Dave Coulier to reunite and promote the Greek yogurt. Spot will make it appear as if the trio has been living together since “Full House” ended its run in the 1990s. Jerry Seinfeld, who had a successful Acura spot in 2012, is also expected to return to the Super Bowl with an ad that features his fellow “Seinfeld” alums Jason Alexander and Larry David.

David Beckham Takes it Off for H&M

The soccer star will help make history when H&M enables viewers to order Beckham’s underwear with their Smart TV remotes.

Jaguar Goes Evil

In its campaign that touts British villains in movies, Jaguar has cast Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong in its first ads to air during the Super Bowl.

Stephen Colbert is Wonderful

The talk show host will hype pistachios a year after Wonderful turned to Korean singer-dancer Psy to promote its nuts.

SodaStream Has ScarJo on Tap

The at-home seltzer water maker asked Scarlett Johansson to appear in its Super Bowl spot; she’s now the company’s first “global brand ambassador.”

Toyota Goes on a Road Trip with The Muppets

To promote its redesigned Highlander, Toyota has filled the SUV with the Muppets and Terry Crews to promote the new vehicle during the Super Bowl, but also to kick off its promotional partnership around Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted,” out in theaters March 21.

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