There were a lot of commercials during the Super Bowl last night. I’ve ranked them all, from worst to best. My criteria: I excluded ads for movies, ads that I personally had seen on TV before the game had started. CBS promos aren’t included, though there might have been one or two worthy of mention. I did my best to grade each ad for originality, replay value, and how well it shifted my perspective of the featured product or service. Feel free to disagree in the comments, not that any of you need permission.
We work from the bottom up, starting after the jump.
Dodge Charger/What were you thinking? When I saw “Dodge Charger” written in my notebook, I couldn’t even remember what the ad was, bu tmy inner monologue assured me that it was terrible.
Audi A3 TDI/Green Police. We’re arresting people for drinking out of foam cups! Isn’t that hilarious? Nope.
Dockers/Look ma, no pants, Part II. This ad was totally neutralized since it was aired immediately following the “Casual Friday” ad from CarrerBuilder. And the camera shots of dudes’ asses. Not funny.
Papa Johns/Carry out on delivery? This was a mashup of old commercials cut with new footage from “Papa John” handing out pizzas just before game time at the stadium, which I might have considered an impressive production feat, had I not already tuned out after thinking I was seeing the same commercial that’s been on over the last month.
Diamond Foods/2 snacks 1 cup. Emerald Nuts & Pop Secret decided to share a commercial, which is about as kosher as two people sharing a toothbrush.
KGB/”I surrender.” If you’ve ever considered using KGB to text some random question. Here’s some advice: don’t. My one experience with them–a simple fact-check about whether or not Ohio State had ever been the second-highest ranked team in the state of Ohio in the AP, turned out to be a dud. Their answer? Never happened. It’s hard to trust any information service that gets outsmarted by Matt Sussman, who correctly pointed out that Toledo had outranked the Bucks in the last poll of the 2001 season.
Doritos/Game of Lame. Snack food makes for terrible shuriken. Totally forgettable.
Bud Light/Auto-Tune The Booze. Gets a passing grade only for the T-Pain cameo, who should have been showing riding a motorcycle while jumping over a shark tank.
Chase/Cash Only. What kind of restaurant has a cash-only policy? And why is this ass taking his girlfriend there? And why is so embarrassed that he has to sprint to the ATM? Whatever.
Boost Mobile/1985 Chicago Bears. Another unforgivable ass shot of one of the former 1985 Bears sporting a leopard thong. Ditka approves. I don’t.
Bridgestone/Whale. What was with the “bachelor party” quip at the end? Did those three guys gang-bang the whale?
Sketchers/voice of Joe Montana Better than the Reebok ads. Let’s hire a four-time Super Bowl winner to pitch our new shoes…and then NOT show his face! That seems pointless to me.
GoDaddy/Breaking News. “See more now!” Or don’t. It’s not as if there’s any sultry content on the GoDaddy site. Is it too early to call Danica Patrick the Dicktease of the Decade?
Air Force Reserve/It’s Exxxtreeemeee! Attention-grabbing (Winter Olympics!) but seemingly pointless. Unless the Air Force Reserve is starting a recon company comprised entirely of snowboarders. If that’s the case, I’m down.
Coca-Cola/The Simpsons. This might be unduly harsh–there’s a Spiderpig cameo and everything, but if you’re going to pay to use the Simpsons…USE the Simpsons. I also found it interesting that Milhouse was the only character with any speaking lines; surely that made the ad a bit cheaper, and I’ll be curious to see if that last shot gets clipped in the event that the ad runs again.
TV.com. Like Hulu, but without aliens! Or maybe they’re just less forthcoming aliens. Hey, it’s free TV. Who’s complaining? Besides me.
Bud Select 55. I’ll select something else.
FloTV/Jim Nantz. Hiring the guy doing the play-by-play for the Super Bowl to appear in an ad during the Super Bowl? Suave. Naming your portable device after a descriptor for menstration? Not so much. Besides, isn’t Jim Nantz a Sony guy, anyway?
E*TRADE/Baby bailouts. Something about lobster. We get it. You’re babies that love investing.
Teleflora/Little Shop Of Suck. Relationship advice coming from a talking flower? Rick Moranis is unimpressed.
Dove Men+Care/”Three Kids That Look Just Like Me.” Not bad, but it was just too busy. Plus I thought it was a Garmin ad until the tagline appeared.
McDonald’s/LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Larry Bird. The CG-enhanced dunking wasn’t as terrible as I originally expected, but it still didn’t do anything to assuage my disdain for dunk contests. Bonus points for the Larry Bird cameo.
Doritos/Girth at a Funeral. Doritos really seems primed to position themselves as the Bud Light of snack chips by airing a bunch of mediocre commercials and hoping one of them sticks. One of them did, but this wasn’t it. Sorry, it would take a lot more than free snacks and a portable TV to sit undisturbed in a coffin for more than two seconds. It would have been nice to see this guy’s exit strategy.
Budweiser/The bull ran through the f*cking fence. Early in the ad, I thought that the clydesdale and the calf were lovers, and so I had a totally different interpretation of the horse looking over and seeing a bull. While the ads for gay dating sites are getting shot down, the gay animals are allowed to roam free. Seems so unfair.
Census 2010/Tax Dollars Not Really At Work. Reminded me too much of Ed Bagley Jr.’s DirecTV ads. And I don’t know what it is about deadpan Leslie Mann that has me reaching for a firearm every time I see her, but she doesn’t do this effort any favors.
Bridgestone/”Not your wife!” Sad Max Beyond Blunder-drone. Compared to last year’s Super Bowl ads featuring Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, this year was a total boner. This ad was produced by The Richards Group, and I only looked that up because they deserve to get fired this week.
Michelob Ultra/Lance Armstrong.
Careerbuilder/Casual Friday. Looks eerily similar to this “Bud Light” ad that we posted a couple weeks ago.
GoDaddy/Danica’s Massage. Gets bump exclusively for the ad’s opening line, “You’re so tight.”
Jack In The Box/Jump. I probably overvalued this one, but when you serve breakfast all day, you get the benefit of the doubt.
Volkswagen/Stevie Wonder and Tracy Morgan.
Homeaway/The Griswolds. Unlike the GoDaddy ads, there is no uncensored version to see. And that’s fine. I saw “the real story” in 1985 when it was called European Vacation.
Dante’s Inferno (video game). It’s no Call of Duty 2, but impressed visually.
Hyundai/Brett Favre 2020 MVP. I liked it better when it was an ad for Sears. Cool trophy, though.
Intel/Geoffrey. Even robots hate working in an office.
Focus On The Family/The Tebows. Gets a bump only for the two weeks of discussion it generated leading into the Super Bowl. As an ad itself, it left nothing for opponents of the advocacy group to complain about. Plus Tebow’s mom is kinda hot. You know, for someone that grew up during the Civil War.
Doritos/Dog collar. My wife was at the bar watching the game, and after this ad she yelled, “I’m calling the People for the Ethical Treatment of People.”
Honda Accord Crosstour/Squirrely. That squirrel used to drive a Toyota.
E*TRADE/Milkoholics Anonymous. Two-timing baby is greater than five babies inexplicably gathered in front of a laptop.
NFL/Reggie Bush. “Thanks for buying all of our crap…Suckers!”
Motorola Blur/Megan Fox. Gets a bump for the gay guy slapping the other gay guy. Having Megan Fox in a bathtub didn’t hurt, either.
Bud Light/House of cans. “Oh, they’re not empty.” Awesome.
Hyundai Sonata/Built by hand. Isn’t that the Sonata’s third body style in ten years? Not bad for what it was, an ad for a car company run by people eager to escape communist oppression.
Doritos/”Keep Yo Hands Off My Mama…” Easily the best Doritos ad of the night.
Dr. Pepper/Keep It Short, Stupid. Would have been funnier if Kiss had been the ones dressing up as midgets.
Coca-Cola/Mild Kingdom in Africa. Bumped for the African landscapes, which were impressive, but the who narritive–dude walks across Africa for a bottle of Coke–was a bit of a letdown. And who the hell still sells Coke in glass bottles, anyway?
Denny’s/”Birthday” Chicken. The last Denny’s ad was pretty solid, but some people that didn’t enjoy the chicken gag from the onset were probably left unimpressed. I was not one of those people.
VIZIO internet apps/Ode to the internet. Leave the internet alone! I was happy to see that Gary Brolsma is still getting mileage out of that Numa Numa wave.
NFL Full Contact/Troy Polamalu. “Six more weeks of football!” I wish. Where have you gone, XFL?
Denny’s/Chicken in Space. It was a good day to be a chicken in a restaurant ad.
Monster/Beaver recital. Bumped for double entendre; I’m not sure if a beaver playing a violin is a perfect parallel for a job search site, but the ad was well-executed. Heh. Beaver.
Snickers/Betty White and Abe Vigoda. Easily the leader of water cooler conversations this morning. Betty White coming back with “That’s not what your girlfriend said,” couldn’t be topped all night. I thought that that ad would catch a bit of figure skater syndrome and people would forget about it since it was the first ad after kickoff. But it held up nicely.
Kia Sorento/Yo dawg, I heard you like the robot. Sock Monkey and friends were the best surprise of the night. I personally enjoyed the stitched-in Sock Monkey tattoo. I found the red dildo-looking dude to be a little bit creepy. The ampitheatre at the Hard Rock where I watched the game erupted when they rolled into Vegas.
Google. Obviously a personal bias here; I was blown away that they could tell a story about a guy going to Paris, falling in love, getting married and having a baby…all from their silly, simple homepage. I wonder if the people that did the Dove Men+Care ad, but do it entirely from their generic home page.
ASYLUM POLL: Which was your favorite Super Bowl commercial?