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Women’s empowerment has swiftly taken centre stage in this year’s Super Bowl ads.

Hulu kicked off the theme with a first-quarter ad for its next season of the feminist show The Handmaid’s Tale.

Next, Serena Williams appeared as spokeswoman for Bumble, which bills itself as a feminist dating app where women make the first move. The tennis icon urges women not to wait to be given power, saying, “we already have it.”

Later in the evening, supermodel Karlie Kloss played up her identity as a businesswoman in an ad for She wears an understated green T-shirt to show how she used the platform to create her professional website.

Toyota highlighted the perseverance of Antoinette (Toni) Harris, a female football player at a California community college.

Each year’s slate of Super Bowl ads offer a snapshot of the American psyche.

Forty-plus brands have shelled out millions for the chance to win over live-TV viewers of Super Bowl LIII with a combination of humour, celebrities and heartfelt messages.

The ads run from silly to the serious. Avocados from Mexico features a pet show where the humans get judged, while The Washington Post will honour missing and slain journalists in its Super Bowl debut.

They’re aiming to capture the attention of the 100-million viewers expected to tune in on Sunday. Many marketers have already released their ads online but there will still be a few surprises from Google, Bud Light and others.

And while Coke has homefield advantage this year with the Super Bowl in Atlanta, where it is headquartered, Pepsi had a little fun with its perennial challenger-brand status. In one ad, actor Steve Carrell took a flustered waiter to task for asking the familiar question, “is Pepsi okay?” after a woman orders a Coke. Cardi B and Lil John pitch in for the message that Pepsi isn’t just “okay.” IT’S OKAY!! Pepsi has started the war early on the streets of Atlanta. Billboards all around the city call for Pepsi to “paint the town blue” and announce “Pepsi in Atlanta – how refreshing.”

Later, Bud Lite shocked Game of Thrones fans with a spoiler about who gets killed in the final season of the hit HBO show. It’s the Bud Knight.

Not really, of course. But the beer brand and HBO lit up social media with a surprise mash-up of a Super Bowl ad.

It starts off mundanely enough with the Bud Knight of “Dilly Dilly” fame appearing for a jousting contest. He loses and is about to be unmasked, when a dragon appears out of nowhere to incinerate the entire scene. The ad did double duty to promote the beer brand and the April premiere of the fantasy show’s long-awaited final season.

Andy Goeler is the vice-president of Bud Light marketing. He says the ad brought “together two of pop culture’s most iconic medieval realms to deliver an unexpected surprise.”

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