Cryptocurrency exchanges and other financial services companies were stars amid a Super Bowl ad blitz that featured the return of many longtime sponsors and an overall more upbeat mood than last year.

The Los Angeles Rams emerged victorious, 23 to 20, over the Cincinnati Bengals in a surprisingly close match that saw the hometown team score a come-from-behind touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game. NBC, which broadcast the game, said it sold more than 70 spots, with some costing as much as $7 million for 30 seconds. YouTube said viewing of Super Bowl ads during game day rose more than 35% from last year. 

This was the first Super Bowl to feature crypto ads. Coinbase Global, an exchange for the currencies, generated early online buzz with an ad featuring a QR Code that viewers had to scan to find out what the spot was about. Those who did were invited to “Sign up and get $15.” 

FTX Trading, another exchange, ran an ad with comedian Larry David portraying skeptical figures during great moments in history. After scoffing at the invention of the light bulb and man landing on the moon, David suggests crypto will never amount to anything. “And I’m never wrong about this stuff,” he says.  

Crypto.com’s spot featured basketball great LeBron James looking at his past and offering advice for the future. Rocket Mortgage won USA Today’s poll for best ad for its spot featuring Barbie buying her dream house.

Online broker E*Trade Financial, meanwhile, brought back its popular E*Trade baby character after an eight-year hiatus. In the spot the baby is reluctant to return to work but is convinced to do so when he hears that investors are getting financial tips from memes.

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“It’s certainly a new world when it comes to investing, amid NFTs, crypto currencies, meme stocks, and the rise of the retail investor,” said Andrea Zaretsky, chief marketing officer at the wealth management division of Morgan Stanley, which now owns E*Trade. “But the reality is that the principles around sound personal investing remain as true today as they were a decade ago.”

Nissan Motor returned to the Super Bowl after a seven-year break with a comedic action-movie spoof starring Eugene Levy, while the cast of “Austin Powers” reunited in a 90-second ad for General Motors. The commercials are part of a broader return by carmakers after many skipped last year’s game. Several highlighted their electric vehicle lineups, including a Chevy spot inspired by “The Sopranos” that was trending on Twitter throughout the game.

Irish Spring debuted its first-ever Super Bowl ad featuring 70s-horror-movie influences, including a possessed white bunny that Twitter users called unsettling and offbeat, but most importantly, memorable. Jim Carrey revived his 1996 “The Cable Guy” character in Verizon Communications Inc.’s 60-second Super Bowl commercial, promoting “ultra-fast” 5G home internet.

“The big game is the biggest snacking day of the year and the largest stage when it comes to brand exposure and reaching our fans,” said Gareth Maguire, marketing director for Pringles, whose spot featured a man learning to live with his hand trapped in a Pringles can. It was set to Lionel Richie’s “Stuck On You.” 

Here are some things that caught our attention during the game:

Hellmann’s Mayo Ad Features Linebacker, Davidson

A Hellmann’s mayonnaise ad features linebacker Jerod Mayo tackling a guy, an injured woman on crutches, a grandma, and almost Pete Davidson’s mom, until the SNL comedian says, “Whoa, mom’s already tackled food waste Mayo.” Mayo tackles Davidson instead,  who replies, “I get it, I’m very hittable.” 

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Eugene Levy Spoofs Action Films for Nissan

Nissan Motor Co. returned to Super Bowl advertising after a seven-year hiatus with a spot featuring “Schitt’s Creek” creator Eugene Levy and co-star Catherine O’Hara, as well as Marvel Avengers’ Brie Larson, in a comedic action-movie spoof. The ad is part of a broader return by carmakers to the Super Bowl this year after many skipped last year’s game. The YouTube link to the spot has been viewed 30 million times already.

Kia’s Robo Dog Is a Crowd-Pleaser, Just as Expected

Amazon Prime Video’s “Lord of the Rings” Spot Drops

Amazon Prime Video’s hotly anticipated trailer for its new spin-off series, “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” didn’t disappoint. The ad stirred immediate social-media buzz amid fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien franchise.

It’s one of the most-expensive series of all time. Prime Video’s Chief Marketing Officer Ukonwa Ojo called it the streaming service’s “biggest and most ambitious launch this year” in a statement to Bloomberg. Sunday’s 60-second Super Bowl trailer gave glimpses of new worlds, elves and orcs, against sweeping landscapes and inspirational music and quotes.

Cue Health Spot Features Wonder Woman, Alexa

Cue Health introduces its home test lab voiced by “Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot with cameos by Alexa, Roomba, Nest. The Covid testmaker went public in September at a $2.3 billion valuation.

Crypto.com Is Third Crypto Sponsor, LeBron James Stars

Singapore-based Crypto.com, a cryptocurrency exchange, aired its first-ever Super Bowl ad this year immediately following the halftime show. The ad featured a present-day LeBron James telling his younger 2003 self about the future. “If you want to make history, you gotta call your own shots,” he says.

Halftime Show Salutes Rap With Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg

The halftime show, sponsored by Pepsi, delivered what it was expected be: a string of hits. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg opened, performing “California Love” and other hits in trailers that looked like cabanas. There were classic cars and a field full of dancers that were the subject of controversy when several posted that they weren’t getting paid. Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent also performed, including 50’s “In Da Club.” Eminem did “Lose Yourself.” He’s been promoting his restaurant selling Mom’s Spaghetti in Detroit, opened a pop-up in Los Angeles for Super Bowl weekend, and is doing a promo on Postmates.

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Larry David Kills It in Spot for FTX Crypto Exchange

“Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David turned in one of the funniest performances so far. It’s a walk through history with David playing historical doubters in an ad for FTX Trading Ltd., a Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange. After portraying several skeptical figures during great moments in history, David suggests crypto will never amount anything. “I’m never wrong about this stuff,” he says.

Crypto Makes Its Super Bowl Debut With Coinbase Spot

Cryptocurrency company Coinbase may have scored with an interactive ad featuring a QR Code viewers had to scan to find out what the ad was for. Once at its website, Coinbase encouraged viewers to “Sign up and get $15” or “Opt in to win $3M.” Coinbase is now trending.

Mattel’s Barbie, Anna Kendrick for Rocket Mortgage

Mortgage loan provider Rocket Mortgage returned to the Super Bowl with an ad featuring Anna Kendrick and Mattel Inc.’s Barbie as the Barbie Dreamhouse turns 60 this year. The ad shows Barbie turning her dream house into a reality with a verified loan approval. 

Meta Tackles the Metaverse With Singing Dog

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, took viewers on a trip through the metaverse, while also trying to repair its image after a big stock-market tumble this month. Its ad featured an animatronic singing dog, abandoned and later reunited with friends in the metaverse.

The spot promises a future with the company’s Quest 2 virtual-reality headsets. Meta joins other companies marketing new technologies this year and marks Meta’s efforts to showcase its ability to create social, immersive experiences. Post-game, the company hosted its first concert headliners, the Foo Fighters, in its Horizon metaverse.

Netflix, Disney+ Among Streaming Services Advertising

Netflix put out a super-sized pitch for its upcoming movies heading into this year including “The Adam Project,” starring Ryan Reynolds; Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg in “Me Time;” Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill in “Enola Holmes 2;” Daniel Craig in “Knives Out 2;” Ryan Gosling in “The Gray Man;” and Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy in “You People.” 

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Disney+ pitched its new “Moon Knight” series with Oscar Isaac. Comcast’s Peacock has been popping up regularly during the game.

DraftKings Pitches Sports Betting in Spot With Joe Namath

DraftKings pitched sports betting and $1 million prizes in a spot featuring its leather-clad goddess of fortune and football legend (and former Ram) Joe Namath. A warning about where to seek help for problem gambling ran at the bottom of the ad.

Mexican Avocado Ad Debuts as U.S. Halts Imports 

Conan O’Brien’s sidekick, comedian Andy Richter, starred as an anxious Caesar at an ancient Rome tailgate party for Avocados From Mexico. It’s unfortunate timing, however, because the U.S. just put a ban on Mexican avocados.

E*Trade Baby Ad Returns, Pokes Fun at Meme Stocks

The E*Trade baby ad returned after a multiyear hiatus. In the spot, the baby is initially reluctant when called on to help investors deal with inflation. But when told investors are taking advice from memes, he’s ready to return. It’s a new E*Trade the ad notes, now part of Morgan Stanley. 

Schwarzenegger and Hayek Sell Electric BMWs

Meanwhile, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek play Zeus and Hera who charge up boring retirement with a BMW EV.

The Rock Does an Intro, ‘Jurassic World’ Is First Ad

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did the team intros. The first two ads were media related. One for the new “Jurassic World” film, coming out in June. Comcast owns Super Bowl host network NBC as well as Universal Pictures. YouTube TV also had a spot.