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Super Bowl 2021 commercials: See the best, funniest, most uplifting ads

Paul Rudd shows up as Patrick Mahomes' doppelganger, Four Seasons Total Landscaping stars in a Fiverr ad and Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo and Maya Rudolph also appear.

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It's Maya Rudolph times four in Klarna's Super Bowl ad. 

Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

The Super Bowl ad landscape looked different this year as big names like Budweiser, halftime show sponsor Pepsi and Coke sat out their usual commercial buys and rethought how to best promote their brands during the coronavirus pandemic. But there was no shortage of creative and entertaining ads to watch as the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the reigning champs, the Kansas City Chiefs

Here are some of the best, funniest and most uplifting ads from the big game. And if you're into car ads, here's our roundup of auto commercials, including some top-flight celebrity appearances. 

T-Mobile

If you like your Super Bowl ads chock full of celebrities with vocal chops, you'll love T-Mobile's funny take on Adam Levine setting up real-life couple Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton thanks to a bad cell connection.

Huggies

It's hard to go wrong with cute kids. Diaper company Huggies had a clever approach to its big game ad. Most of the commercial was prerecorded, but the company added footage of babies born on Feb. 7, 2021, and welcomed them into the world.

Uber Eats

The restaurant food delivery division of Uber tapped the deep well of Saturday Night Live nostalgia by revisiting the basement public-access show Wayne's World. Rapper Cardi B pops in to spice things up.

Fiverr

Freelancer site Fiverr released an extended version of its big-game commercial. It opens on Fours Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia. The small business was thrust into the spotlight when it hosted an infamous Trump campaign press conference in 2020.

Rocket Mortgage

Comedian Tracy Morgan defines the difference between being "pretty sure" and being "certain" with a series of imaginary misadventures involving murder hornets and a bare-knuckles fight with Dave Bautista.

DoorDash

Delivery company DoorDash offered up a musical romp with actor and rapper Daveed Diggs and the muppet cast of beloved children's show Sesame Street. It plays on the show's "neighborhood" theme while encouraging customers to get local deliveries.

State Farm

NFL stars Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes and their State Farm insurance rep discuss their commercial-shoot stand-ins as actor Paul Rudd and singer Drake make hilarious cameos. 

Chipotle

Restaurant chain Chipotle arrived at the Super Bowl to ask the deep question "Can a burrito change the world?" Chipotle seems to think so.

Inspiration4

If Inspiration4 doesn't sound familiar, it's because it's the name of a recently announced all-civilian SpaceX Dragon mission that could launch later this year. Bryce Dallas Howard directed the spot. The mission is partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and website host Shift4Shop. It encourages people to sign up for a chance to go to space.

Guinness

As the NFL fandom discusses whether Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is the GOAT (greatest of all time), legendary player Joe Montana enters the picture for Guinness. Montana offers a calm pep talk for pandemic times intercut with footage of his playing days.

Dawn and Swiffer

Procter & Gamble chose to address a serious issue with an ad connected to its Come Clean to Close the Chore Gap campaign. It's timed to address chore inequality in the home, especially during pandemic times, when one person often takes on more of the household work.

Skechers

Dallas Cowboys great and current broadcasting star Tony Romo and his wife, Candice Romo, give their feet a break in a commercial for cushioned Skechers shoes. The commercial is full of visual gags, from giant sandwiches to a monster truck.

Dr. Squatch

Dr. Squatch, a men's hygiene company known for viral marketing success, steps into the Super Bowl with a humorous ad encouraging gentlemen to get clean (and let their daughters braid their hair).

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's

If you like soothing images of outdoor activities, this serious ad from Bass Bro Shops and Cabela's should strike the right tone. A gentle piano soundtrack and soaring views remind viewers that this would be a good time to get outside.

Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch may have chosen to skip its usual Budweiser brand presence among Super Bowl commercials this year, but it's debuting its first ever company ad for the big game. David Fincher, director of Gone Girl and Fight Club, produced the cinematic video, which shows everyday people enjoying beers together in a poignant reminder of pre-pandemic life.

Klarna

Shopping app Klarna is looking to get a boost with a Western-themed ad starring four miniature Maya Rudolphs. The Saturday Night Live star gets to show off her singing chops.

Samuel Adams

Some Super Bowl viewers will get to see Clydesdale horses after all. Beer maker Sam Adams took a dig at Budweiser with a commercial showing the horses set loose and wreaking havoc on city streets. The ad only aired regionally in New York and Boston.

Indeed

Jobs site Indeed unveiled its very first Super Bowl ad, which draws on the emotional side of hunting for a job. The star of the show is a soaring new recording of Andra Day's anthemic song Rise Up covered by singer and TikTok star Christian Shelton.

Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer

A host of celebrity doppelgangers (and one real celebrity) star in Michelob's push for its organic seltzer brand. The challenge is to spot the real famous person (spoiler: it's Don Cheadle).

Jimmy John's

The sandwich chain hasn't revealed its actual Super Bowl ad yet, but it did release an extended teaser starring Brad Garrett as the "King of Cold Cuts" who doesn't appreciate Jimmy John's moving in on his territory. There's a whole mob-inspired storyline going on as a one-sided sandwich war begins.

Scotts and Miracle-Gro

Scotts is leaning on the time-honored Super Bowl tradition of harnessing celebrity power in its promotion for Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer. You'll see lots of familiar faces, but John Travolta dancing with his daughter is a standout.

Bud Light

The Bud Light Legends ad is a trip down marketing memory lane. It gathers together the stars of Bud Light commercials from the past, including the Bud Light Knight and Cedric the Entertainer, to help save an overturned truck full of beer.

Frito-Lay

In an ad scheduled to run right before the coin toss, snack maker Frito-Lay rounded up a who's who of Super Bowl stars, including the Manning brothers, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Jerome Bettis and Deion Sanders. Former Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch narrates a tweaked version of A Visit From St. Nicholas, refashioning it as 'Twas the Night Before Super Bowl.

Squarespace

This is the extended version of a shorter Squarespace ad that features national treasure Dolly Parton's reworked version of her hit song 9 to 5. The website provider's commercial is full of dancing entrepreneurs who work on their side gigs after their regular office hours. And there's topiary shaped like a squirrel.

Amazon

Amazon has put out quite a few different Alexa devices over the years, with some very different looks. The company's Super Bowl ad asks the question, "What would be the ideal body for Alexa?" The answer is Michael B. Jordan, star of Black Panther and Creed. 

Doritos

Actor Matthew McConaughey appears as a flattened 2D version of himself who gets bowled over by a football and tangles with a robot vacuum until a bag of Doritos 3D chips restore him to his usual self.

Cheetos

Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Shaggy come together for a semi-musical mashup commercial involving Kutcher repeatedly accusing Kunis of eating his Cheetos Crunchy Pop Mix. She's caught orange-fingered but manages to deny it.

Logitech

Logitech described its big-game ad as an "ode to creators." The commercial is powered by music star Lil Nas X of country-rap Old Town Road fame. It's all about using technology to unleash creativity.

Pringles

Pringles got a case of space fever with a story about returning astronauts left afloat at sea because mission control was too busy stacking chips to rescue them. 

Tide

In a big nod to surreality, Tide laundry detergent lingered over all the ways a hoodie emblazoned with Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander's face got dirty. Yes, it's as weird as it sounds. This is an early contender for oddest ad of the game.

Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch, parent company of Budweiser, said in a statement it would forego the brand's in-game air-time and instead put the funds toward public awareness and education for COVID-19 vaccination efforts. 

Anheuser-Busch still allotted slots to Bud Light and Michelob and filmed its first ever corporate commercial, a serious look at its community work and economic recovery efforts. 

Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade

Speaking of Bud Light, the low-cal beer brand went in for a humorous look at how terrible 2020 was with a lemon-filled ad for its hard seltzer lemonade. When life gives you lemons, make a commercial out of it.  

Michelob Ultra 

Michelob Ultra delivered a thoughtful reflection on the nature of happiness set to the tune of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side. Sports superstars including Peyton Manning and Serena Williams put in appearances.

Stella Artois

Musician Lenny Kravitz stepped up for Stella Artois for an ad with an introspective message based around the idea that humans get around 2.5 billion heartbeats in a lifetime.

Coors Light

Honorable mention: Coors Light didn't run a Super Bowl ad during the game, but instead did a wild end run by launching its Big Game Commercial of Your Dreams campaign to encourage people to dream about its beer instead. It enlisted a psychologist to help develop a video that could possibly trigger nighttime visions of Coors Light. The dream-inducing video was available to try out starting Feb. 3.

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