NEW YORK (AP) — Sex. Babies. Cute animals.
While the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens battle on the field during Super Bowl XLVII, advertisers are competing against each other on advertising's biggest stage with the usual 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.
Some trends are easy to spot. The seven automakers during the game including Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Lincoln are focusing on telling long, epic stories that focus on family.
Celebrities show up in force, in spots for Best Buy, Kraft Mio, Samsung and MilkPep and others. Expect babies and cute animals to lead to "awwws" in ads for Budweiser, E(asterisk)Trade and Hyundai Motor Group's Kia.
Some highlights from the first quarter:
— 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.
—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.
—Sex still sells: Calvin Klein upped the sex appeal in the first quarter 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.