With the Super Bowl imminent, we are witnessing intense preparation, strategies being reviewed and millions of dollars spent, and no, we’re not just talking about the teams. We’re talking about the efforts brands go to all in the hope their perfectly crafted ad will go down in Super Bowl history.

Over the last few years the real competition has been between the brands vying to have the best ad with one main goal - create an ad that goes viral on YouTube, trends on Twitter and is talked about for years to come in round-ups like this. But what does it take to become a Super Bowl legend?

With ads costing an average of $4.5 million for a 30 second ad (except that Chrysler ad which topped the scale at 12.4 million) it’s safe to say, Super Bowl advertising isn’t for the small businesses of the world. With only big brand names advertising during game night you have to pull everything out the bag to create an epic Super Bowl ad. A perfect mix of nostalgia, celebs, babies the elderly and of course the furry animals have been the main elements of the most successful Super Bowl ads of the last few years and here’s a few of our faves in the lead up to the main event this Sunday...

Budweiser

Despite using puppies in their last 3 Super Bowl ads, we’re sad to say the brand won’t be using any of our furry friends in this year’s ad (as an office of big time pup lovers, saying we’re disappointed would be an understatement)! So, for all you animal lovers out there, we have featured Budweiser’s 2015 ‘Lost Dog #BestBuds’ ad as one of our top Super Bowl ads of all time. After Budweiser’s 2014 ‘Puppy Love’ ad won USA Today’s ad meter rank, the brand went down the route of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ for the 2015 ad and it well and truly paid off. Tugging on our heart string we see the lost dog finding it’s way home (cuteness level 100 and featuring a good old Scottish song in the background, what’s not to love). See what all the fuss is about here.

Before you say it, it’s not all about the pups. Budweiser has been famous for hitting the big time on Super Bowl night thanks to the famous Clydesdales and although this one got reallly old reallly fast but there’s no denying it’s certainly stayed with us for the 12 odd years since it aired ‘whasssssaaabbbiiii’.

Volkswagon

The most shared Super Bowl ad of all time, what’s not to love about little Darth Vader using the Force in the Volkswagon’s 2011 ad for it’s new Passat. Having not ran a Super Bowl ad in over a decade and competing against other automotive brands with larger ad spends, it was risky but certainly paid off. Seeing the little Darth Vadar running around the house trying to attempting to use the ‘dark side’ on everything including the family pet, we see him use the force to unlock the new Passat in the driveway. Paying for itself before it even aired, it still remains the most shared ad of all time with 63 million youTube views.

Snickers 'You're not you when you're hungry

Is an old lady being tackled funny? Maybe not to some of you but playing on the ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ tagline, and featuring Betty White, see what happens an American football player gets a little too hungry on the field. View it here.

Of course this year’s Super Bowl will be full of the usual suspects from Budweiser, Coca Cola, BMW and Doritos however rising from $4.5 million to almost $5 million a pop for a 30 second Super Bowl slot, it’s no surprise some brands have had their reservations. To answer a common question of whether it’s worth it or not, it must be otherwise brands wouldn’t commit such large budgets each year and have their ads pay for themselves.

This year we’re looking forward to seeing a few newbies to the Super Bowl scene - would you believe Amazon, the world’s biggest e-tailer has never advertised during the big game? Us neither. Colgate, PayPal and LG have thrown themselves into the ring so keep your eyes peeled for these ads and we’ll be giving you a round-up of the best ads from this year early next week.