They are usually the most annoying part of sitting down in front of the box. But on Super Bowl day that all changes, when television advertisements are arguably as entertaining as the sporting spectacle taking place on the screen.
Some advertisers this year will fork out an incredible $US4 million ($3.85 million) for a 30-second spot during the most-watched US television event of the year: the show-down between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens in the National Football League championship game, aired on Sunday in the US.
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Sneak peek: the big Super Bowl ads
Costing up to $4 million for a 30-second spot, advertising at the Super Bowl is very big business.
That's a record for Super Bowl advertising, with the average cost of an ad now sitting at $US3.75 million, up from $US3.5 million last year. Back in the first Super Bowl series in 1967, advertisers paid $US42,000 to air their commercials.
And with the multimillion-dollar price tag and an estimated 111 million pairs of eyeballs on television sets, the pressure is on to make a lasting impression on advertising's biggest day.
Featuring in this year's advertisements will be South Korean rapper Psy of Gangam Style fame, who will be flogging Wonderful Pistachios, comedian Amy Poehler endorsing electronics company Best Buy, as well as actor Tracy Morgan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and swimsuit model Kate Upton, among others.
PR consultant Gayle Falkenthal told the Washington Times that viewers would get "plenty of sexy women, animals and kids, comedy, big name stars, involvement via online contests, and among it all, a few shining examples of real creativity".
Many companies already are trickling out their full-length ads on YouTube, including Volkswagen, Century 21, Taco Bell and Mercedes-Benz. Volkswagen has come under fire from some critics, who labelled one of its Super Bowl ads racist for depicting a cheerful white office worker speaking in a Jamaican accent.
Other companies, including Gildan, Kraft and Anheuser-Busch, have released teasers to create hype around their products, with the full-length ads to be a surprise on game day.
One of the most popular of this year's Super Bowl commercials viewed on line so far features swimsuit model Kate Upton watching a new Mercedes being washed in slow motion. It has already drawn more than five million views.
Doritos is continuing with its commercial contest for the seventh year in a row, asking amateur filmmakers to submit self-produced ads. The winner's ad will be aired during the Super Bowl, and the winner will get the chance to work on the next Transformers film with director Michael Bay.
Other companies using their commercials to interact with the public include Toyota, which has called on consumers to submit photos on Twitter or Instagram to feature in one of its ads, while Pepsi has asked fans for their photos, to be used in the introduction to its half-time show starring Beyonce.
Coca-Cola and Audi have also released teasers for their commercials, but ask viewers to vote on the outcome. Coca-Cola's features three teams racing across the desert towards a large soft-drink. Different endings have been shot and consumers can vote on who they want to win the race.
Audi's commercial features a boy who arrives dateless to his prom but is emboldened by his dad's 2013 Audi S6 high-performance sport sedan.
Best Buy has kept its ad featuring Golden Globes host Poehler largely under wraps. Poehler, who is believed to have written the script, pesters staff with off-the-wall questions.
Wonderful Pistachios says Psy will perform his signature horse dance move while wearing a pistachio green tuxedo.
In its first ever Super Bowl ad, Axe - a brand of men's grooming products - is promoting the opportunity for someone to win a trip to space as part of its campaign for the new Axe Apollo brand.
"Volkswagen, Audi, Best Buy, Doritos and Wonderful Pistachios should emerge as the big hits," Ms Falkenthal wrote in the Washington Times.
"As for the rest, are they really worth the money?"
Les Moonves, chief executive officer of CBS, which is televising the game, said many companies were prepared to pay so much because their ads could become internet hits.
'That is absolutely a factor in the cost of the ads," Mr Moonves said.
"The advertisers expect they'll get a nice bump online, so it's well worth the increase."
Super Bowl rates have risen about 60 per cent over the past decade, underscoring the value marketers place on reaching the largest TV audience.
Last year's game, with 78 commercials, produced ad sales of $US262.5 million, according to Kantar Media, an industry researcher.
Super Bowl campaigns now are designed to work across media, from TV to the internet, smartphones and tablets, said Jonathan Taplin, director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California.
"We've been talking about this coming for quite a time, and it does seem to finally be a reality," Taplin said.