Some things around the Superbowl have become predictable annual occurrences. You’ll see the same joke about ‘superb owls’ being made all over Twitter, and Brits who have no idea about American football will casually drop phrases like “Hail Mary Pass” into conversation as if they were born and raised on the sport.

Another staple of Superbowl Season is the eagerly anticipated advertising bonanza. A 30-second spot will apparently set you back up to $4 million, and each advert can expect to reach out to an estimated audience of more than 90 million people. Superbowl ads are big business, and the pressure is on for all the brands lining up to compete in the evening’s big creative showdown.

Every year the ads are kept top secret, held under lock and key until broadcast. There’s no set format, and previous efforts have ranged from cheesy (Budweiser’s equine adventure) to sexy (Megan Fox in a bath for Motorola), cinematic (Mercedes’ spot stars Willem Dafoe as the devil) to controversial (Soda Stream’s spot has apparently been pulled after complaints from Coca Cola and Pepsi).

It’s always interesting to see brands go down the interactive public vote route. I have to say, it still feels like a gimmick rather than a genuinely interesting creative strategy, but Ford’s script written through Tweets is better than most.

For my money Audi, Taco Bell, Fiat and Mercedes and Samsung all did well, but I’m sure you’ll have your favourites from those collected below. One thing is certain – the adverts will inspire just as much debate and analysis as the game in the weeks following Superbowl 48. Regardless of which one is judged to have been the best, when you take them as a whole, these ads provide interesting insight into how big brands interact with mass audiences.