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Super Bowl 2013 ad star-power: The expected and the unexpected

Kate Upton washing a car in denim cutoff shorts "in slow-motion" in a teaser for Mercedes-Benz is bound to get some eyeballs prior to game day.

But what about the rest of this year's Super Bowl ads?

As always, brands are teaming with celebrities for the biggest game of the year. And at up to $4 million a pop, this year's spots don't come cheap.

Advertisers have already rolled out teaser ads and many have unveiled who will be hawking their respective brands come Sunday. This year, many advertisers are building on what's hot -- right now.

Psy, Korean rapper and one of 2012's biggest break-out stars, will appear in a pistachio commercial. And just three days after the "30 Rock" series finale airs, we'll be seeing Tracy Morgan, one of the show's key stars, in an ad for sports drink MiO Fit. Amy Poehler, meanwhile, is on a lot of people's minds, having just co-hosted the Golden Globes in January. The funny-woman will grace the small screen in a new Super Bowl commercial for Best Buy. And likewise, this year's People's Choice Awards host Kaley Cuoco has linked up with Toyota.

So there will inevitably be a lot of star power this year. But Brian Steinberg, TV editor at Ad Age, thinks celebrity-based commercials are most effective when they maintain an element of surprise.

"Last year when Clint Eastwood showed up out of nowhere that was a really big deal and new," he told about Eastwood's Chrysler spot. "It's not the person you would expect to see involved in Super Bowl advertising. Most times, it's people who are trending like this year with PSY and the pistachio commercial, or Kim Kardashian doing stuff for Skechers in the past. The best ones are people who surprise or shock with their appearance."

This year, Chrysler hasn't revealed who -- if anyone -- will be featured in its Super Bowl day commercial.

But we do know of a few other celebrities who will be popping in ads on millions of TV screens: Beyonce (Pepsi), Joe Montana (Skechers), Bar Rafaeli (Go Daddy), Usher and Willem Defoe (Mercedes) and Dwayne Johnson, also known as "The Rock" ("Got Milk?").

"You're going to see some celebrities in the Bowl no matter what. It's a natural part of advertising...You get someone who people are talking about for quality -- or a random reality star -- it's going to get some attention," said Steinberg.

And in 2013 -- probably more than ever -- buzz is building thanks to viral teaser ads. Brands have started carefully releasing information and extra footage leading up to Sunday when the game is broadcast live from New Orleans on CBS.

"Teasing is kind of an experiment. It really went into force last year with the car companies," Steinberg said. "Last year, everyone got things out early -- with Matthew Broderick coming back as Ferris Bueller and Jerry Seinfeld doing something for Acura."

But teasers can ruin that coveted surprise. "People talk about your ad ahead of the game but maybe not afterwards," said Steinberg.

And then there are the controversial spots. Almost every year there's bound to be an ad that ruffles a few feathers.

"Right now Volkswagen is getting a lot of push-back for white guys speaking like Jamaican people," said Steinberg of the car company's Super Bowl Sunday spot.

In this case, though, the government in Jamaica has endorsed the ad, as has Jamaican reggae star Jimmy Cliff, who performs a song in the spot.

Some say controversial ads, though, have backfired in the past.

"Companies have done something that's really heavy-fisted or offensive some years and they're paying for it," added Steinberg. "It's best to do something that's a crowd-pleaser and that won't polarize your audience."

The Super Bowl airs Sunday on CBS. Go to for more information.

Tell us: What has been your favorite celebrity Super Bowl ad?

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