Super Bowl 2013: Reviewing the Commercials (From the 1st Half) — Plus: Rewatch Them Here!

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BestBuy_PoehlerIt’s time for the Super Bowl (airing on CBS), where every year advertisers pony up big bucks to wave their wares in front of 100 million viewers.

Who drafted big stars to shill? Who went for laughs? Who tugged at heartstrings? And who went out of their way to remind us with a sledgehammer, “Sex sells”?

Read our quick take on the commercials from the 1st half of Super Bowl XLVII — refresh for updates! — beneath this handy gizmo for playing back your faves (or ones you missed whilst hitting the loo), then share your own reviews in Comments. (Ads from the 2nd half are reviewed here.)

Budweiser Black Crown | If I may borrow from my review of last year’s Bud spot, for something called “Platinum”: Do we need another beer SKU on the market? The answer, 360-plus days later is: Apparently yes. Black Crown is seemingly targeting douches, with the tagline: “Here’s to taste. Here’s to our kind of beer.” Grade: FUMBLE (A second pool-out using the catchy 2 Broke Girls theme improves nothing.)

M&Ms | The red M&M will do anything for love, he sings — especially when it involves Glee goddess Naya Rivera. He does however draw the line at licking his candy shell, whipped cream and other indignities. This MM loves anything M&M, so: TOUCHDOWN.

Audi | Borrowing dad’s car gives stag prom kid the gusto to lay one on the prom queen prom kid, black eye or no. The “Bravery. It’s what defines us” slogan seems random, but still: FIELD GOAL.

Hyundai | This may be a local/regional spot, but ’twas a cute one, as a wimpy kid rounds up a ragtag team of football players. Grade: FIELD GOAL, if only for when the snotty kid gets blown back by the football toss.

GoDaddy | Supermodel Bar Rafeili very audiblly swaps spit with supergeeky Walter, illustrating the “magic” that happens when GoDaddy’s sexy and business sides meet. Clever, for the usually inane and ham-handed GoDaddy. FIELD GOAL

Doritos | Man buys goat. Goat eats all his Doritos. Guy hides Doritos. Goat gets very, very angry. Something about it was just creepy enough to downgrade the grade to SAFETY.

Pepsi Next | Parents catch son having a house party, but because he’s (allegedly only) serving Pepsi Next aka “real cola taste” with fewer calories, they’ll look past the friend duck-taped to the ceiling. SAFETY

Best Buy | AKA hopefully the first of many ads featuring Amy Poehler. “Which one fits my face? Does it make you uncomfortable when I use the word ‘dongle’? Are we in the cloud now?!” TOUCHDOWN, all the way.

Oz, the Great and Powerful | I am still not quite sold on the raison d’etre for this prequel (?), but there are enough nods to the original — including a swarm of flying monkeys — to make me overlook the James Franco factor. Plus: Michelle Williams! SAFETY

Coca-Cola | This sweet spot serves only to note that the world’s increasingly omnipresent security cameras also capture wonderful, reaffirming moments. Since its warm-fuzziness also lightly touches on the pop’s “happiness” theme, it gets a FIELD GOAL.

Oreo | A very quiet ruckus breaks out in a library as people very quietly argue over their fave part of the Nabisco snack — the cookie or the creme. Absurd premise, but the whispered “fire!” and muted police bullhorn earn it an upgrade to SAFETY.

Fast & Furious 6 | I had no idea yet another F&F motion picture was coming our way until Jordana Brewster started tweeting about it — so I consider myself warned. So much high-octane testosterone on display, up to and including Vin Diesel driving a car through and out of the belly of a crashing military transport. Resurrected Ana Lucia scores this a SAFETY.

Toyota Rav IV |  Big Bang star Kaley Cuoco is a genie dealing out wishes to a suburban family, ranging from endless chocolate to princess dreams to talking animals. Sadly, it has precious little to do with the car. Only Kaley’s delivery of the, “I heard ‘witches’” line saves it from a total fumble. Grade: SAFETY.

Doritos | Daughter bribes dad with finger-staining chips to drag it up for her princess fashion show; soon enough, his buddies join in, all of them caught by the lady of the house. FUMBLE

Calvin Klein | I wear Calvins when running and working out, but apparently I’m supposed to wear nothing else. Who knew? The visuals and boasts of “360 seamless technology” probably does what needs be done, so: SAFETY.

Cars.com | A couple missing out on the “drama” of car-buying are handed a wolf pup, then introduced to its highly protective, growling mother. Point made! FIELD GOAL

Bud Light | I admit, a lot of this one was lost on me. Net-net, guys with Ravens/49ers voodoo dolls end up seated next to each other at the Big Game. FUMBLE

GoDaddy.co | Did I ever tell you that I had the idea for putting Walkman earbuds into earmuffs, back when I was attending bitter-cold Syracuse U.? Never acted on it, though. This spot ably drives home the point that if you don’t get your idea out there first, you’re last. FIELD GOAL for the smart execution.

Star Trek Into Darkness | Wow, barely any (if any) new footage, though I am convinced more than ever that Benedict Cumberbatch is not playing Khan. But: Spuhura smooch! FIELD GOAL

Milk | Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson forsakes his usual action-hero antics in the pursuit of protein-packed cow juice, then gets to work saving kittens and fighting aliens. SAFETY

Hyundai | This spot amusingly demonstrates how “It’s just better to be in front” of fireworks trucks, leaking toxic tankers and slobbering dogs, with a turbo-enhanced vehicle. Really terrific payoff scores a TOUCHDOWN.

Volkswagen | Some labored to drum up controversy over the “white guy using Jamaican patois” premise, but it’s a nontroversy, truly, since it effectively sells the light, blissful “Get happy” premise. TOUCHDOWN

Coca-Cola | Characters evoking Lawrence of Arabia, rootin’-tootin’ Westerns, Mad Max and… showgirls on a bus?… race across the desert toward a Coca-Cola oasis. Only to find out they have 50 more miles to go! Fun interplay between the rival “gangs” earns this a FIELD GOAL.

Subway | Apparently, the infamous Jared took it off and kept it off for 15 years now, thanks to his Subway “fit” diet. I love a foot-long BMT as much as the next guy, but: Who cares? FUMBLE

Taco Bell | Another college memory: Remind me to show you the near-identical storyboard I did for my Advertising Campaigns course, but for Burger King, showing retirement home folk sneaking out for a fast food fix. I’ll overlook that theft, though, since the “Goldblatt” tattoo gave a chuckle. Add in “We Are Young” en Espanol and you get a FIELD GOAL

Skechers | Cheetah chases innocent gazelle. Guy in Skechers chases, catches and hogties the predator, thus saving the day. Earns fist bump from gazelle. Mad amounts of puffery, of course, and is anyone really buying Skechers for performance? Or am I out of the loop? FUMBLE

Scientology | I was keystroking/half-listening when this first came on, had to hit replay to realize — since the word was never said, only shown at the very end — that it was for Scientology, inviting free-thinkers to discover “what’s true, for you.” For a commercial facing the tricky task of selling a belief system amidst beer and taco ads, I’ll give it a SAFETY.



Comments (72)

  • Everyone keeps talking about the M&Ms one and I it’s the only one Hulu hasn’t put up!

    Comment by Guy – February 3, 2013 04:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved the M&M one, but my favorite so far was the Best Buy one with Amy Poehler!

    Comment by Babybop – February 3, 2013 04:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jesse Heiman! As if he didn’t turn up everywhere already, he’s now in a superbowl ad too!

    Comment by ben – February 3, 2013 04:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Rav 4 commercial was hilarious

    Comment by EJ – February 3, 2013 04:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oreos commercial was the best. M&M’s, Best Buy and Doritos goat were good. GoDaddy.com commercials are always horrible & tasteless

    Comment by anna – February 3, 2013 04:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best Buy wins. I think I would tie Budwiser and GoDaddy as loosers simply because they are so unneeded and obvious at this point. I mean every year they come out with a new beer no one drinks and a commercial that tries to sell sex in a way that is so ham fisted it is sad. They should learn from Best Buy all you need is the a funny blonde lady, well a specific one!

    Comment by Toia – February 3, 2013 04:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • And of course Amy Poehler kills it just playing herself. I demand she do every commercial from now on.

    Comment by Elizabeth – February 3, 2013 04:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • GoDaddy was the worst. They should change the name to GoTasteless. *shakes head*

    Comment by tracyg36 – February 3, 2013 04:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They really need a new ad department. They consistently have the worst commercials during the Super Bowl. I dont know if that’s what they’re going for or if they think “all publicity is good publicity” but they’re garbage.

      Comment by Ace – February 3, 2013 04:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • So this. I about threw up watching Bar Rafeili kiss that geek.

      Comment by The letter J – February 3, 2013 05:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Amy Poehler for the touchdown!!!!!

    Comment by Jared – February 3, 2013 04:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best Buy, M&Ms, Audi are my favorites so far….

    Comment by GeoDiva – February 3, 2013 04:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agree whole heartily!

      Comment by tp – February 3, 2013 08:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Calvin Klein ad gave me a funny feeling. Down there.

    Comment by Jay – February 3, 2013 04:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have to view this post on my kindle because when I do it online it goes straight to hulu Toyota adzone page and its freaking annoying.

    Comment by Linda – February 3, 2013 04:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Amen! Please fix this so we can view it on a computer!

      Comment by Jacquelyn – February 3, 2013 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love the M&Ms commercial.

    Comment by nal – February 3, 2013 04:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Godaddy definetely the worst. So disgusting. Coca cola webcam was neat. Doritos are always very creative. I like mms naya rivera though

    Comment by Missyd – February 3, 2013 04:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best Buy wins!!

    Comment by Kris – February 3, 2013 04:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Go Daddy one was gross. Did we really need the sound effects?

    Comment by K – February 3, 2013 04:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Naya Riveras M&M commercial hands down yummeh #MeltsInYourMouth

    Comment by rebecca – February 3, 2013 04:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The M&M and Best Buy ad have been the highlights so fat.

    Comment by Mike – February 3, 2013 04:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t find anything funny about voodo dolls and the message that anything is okay if there is a possibility it might work.

    Comment by Md – February 3, 2013 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It was only playing off of how superstitious sports fans are, especially since the game is in NO. It’s funny what people will do. I laugh at myself but I swear it works.

      Comment by Deena – February 3, 2013 06:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Wow, come on relax a bit. They are just messing about sports fans superstitions and having fun with silly voodoo dolls and it fits in with the Big Easy (granted all that stuff is real, of course, but whatever).

      Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – February 4, 2013 12:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The guys on the Bud Light Comm. should have been holding dolls from the opposit teams of the jerseys that they were wearing. Spent all that $ and couldn’t get it right!!!

    Comment by Jay – February 3, 2013 04:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Stevie wonder is evil like that!

      Comment by Joy – February 4, 2013 03:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks for posting these. All my favorite Showtime and HBO shows are reruns tonight, so this will give me something to do.

    Comment by Tony S – February 3, 2013 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t know if it’s a new commercial since it’s not listed but I thought the Taco Bell commercial with the old people sneaking out was adorable!

    Comment by Kate – February 3, 2013 05:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Never mind, they updated the list after I posted!

      Comment by Kate – February 3, 2013 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Go Daddy was beyond gross, hope to the model’s sake, they only did one take. ugh and BTW just what the hell is GoDaddy? no brand recognition at all.

    Comment by Catherine – February 3, 2013 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Took me around 4 years of Super Bowl commercials to realize WHAT THE HELL godaddy is. It’s apparently a website domain selling site? Something like that. Idk, their commercials have always been disgusting and tasteless and don’t actually tell you what the product is. There are always bad commercials, but without fail, godaddy commercials are my least favorite part of the Super Bowl.

      Comment by Callie – February 3, 2013 05:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They ended up needing 42 takes (totally serious)! The kid in it really IS a genius ;).

      Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – February 4, 2013 12:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I liked The Big Bang Theory spot: Leonard wearing the football gear incorrectly. :)

    Comment by taliesin – February 3, 2013 05:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best Buy and Amy Poehler for the clear win!! Can her and Tina Fey just do everything from now on?

    Comment by Jamie Genoa – February 3, 2013 05:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They’re commercials, so by definition, they all suck. But they pay the bills!

    Comment by Alex – February 3, 2013 05:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have to say Oreo since I won a iPod shuffle through it!

    Comment by Christa – February 3, 2013 05:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The AUDI commercial was AWESOME!!!

    Comment by Barb – February 3, 2013 05:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Fast & Furious Six Big Game Spot = SUPER AWESOME!! Can’t wait to go see it on Memorial Day weekend. :-)

    Comment by Tran – February 3, 2013 05:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Memorial day can’t get here fast enough.

      Comment by tp – February 3, 2013 08:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My…aren’t we all easily amused. Poehler or not…a great big “meh” this year. All are trying way…too…hard w/ no actual brilliance.

    VW is the least of all evils.

    Comment by marsbar – February 3, 2013 05:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Where is the military commercial?

    Comment by Sheri – February 3, 2013 05:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The jeep one with Oprah doing the VoiceOver? It aired right after halftime so I guess it’s considered a 2nd half spot.

      Comment by Deena – February 3, 2013 07:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Amy Poehler/Best Buy all the way! ARE WE IN THE CLOUD NOW?!

    Comment by Jay – February 3, 2013 05:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My fave is one you didn’t mention – Rhys Ifans and Voodoo Mama…. hilarious, so well done. All time fave.

    Comment by Liana in San Diego – February 3, 2013 06:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Amy Poehler’s best buy commercial was by far my favorite!

    Comment by tvaddict – February 3, 2013 06:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought the Calvin Klein commercial to be particularly well made.

    Comment by Mark – February 3, 2013 07:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You gave GoDaddy a field goal? You’re probably one of those people that thought “Are You There, Chelsea?” was “witty” and “ground-breaking.”

    Comment by Kate – February 3, 2013 07:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best Buy & Oreos were my favorites from the first half. That said, I used to work in a library…that made it way funnier!

    Comment by Rachel – February 3, 2013 07:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I buy Skechers for performance!!!! Mine are the most lightweight, comfortable running shoes I have ever owned! Love em!

    Comment by Lindsey – February 3, 2013 08:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The security camera video from Coca-Cola touched my heart! :) What better song to use than Roger Hodgson’s “Give A Little Bit”, a song with a powerful and timeless message that we should always give our love to others whenever we can. A nice way to remind us of the good we can all do!

    Comment by Rissa – February 3, 2013 08:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I liked the Dodge – Paul Harvey “God Made a Farmer”. They don’t just do the 9 to 5, they work non stop and feed you all so you can watch the big game with FOOD and they grow the BARLEY for the BEER.

    Comment by Lori – February 3, 2013 08:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Has to be Dodge’s commercial quoting Paul Harvey about American Values and what is really important!! Anything that brings back our American values works for me!!! Go Dodge!!

    Comment by Trish – February 3, 2013 08:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Farmer was hands down the best

    Comment by Geoff – February 3, 2013 08:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Coke commercial with the Showgirls on the bus in the desert was supposed to be like Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Look it up if you don’t know the movie or musical.

    Comment by Marianne – February 3, 2013 08:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • GoDaddy gets a field goal? Are you kidding me? It wasn’t clever in the slightest, and the sound effects were atrocious. What I want to know is how that company makes enough revenue to afford putting out crappy Super Bowl commercials every year…

    Comment by dandilyons – February 3, 2013 09:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wasn’t really overly impressed with any of the ads this year honestly

    Comment by Tom Charles – February 3, 2013 09:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I seriously almost threw up at the GoDaddy commercial. It seriously looked like that guy had never kissed anyone in his life and the sounds… *shudder* So gross.

    Comment by AT – February 3, 2013 10:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And now he has kissed a supermodel 42 times hah.

      Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – February 4, 2013 12:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As a professional translator and native speaker, the “translation” of “We Are Young” in the Taco Bell commercial was downright insulting. There’s a reason automatic online translators don’t work; this just proved why (it’s not word by word – there’s grammar and variations to adjust for.)

    Comment by tracyg36 – February 3, 2013 11:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t remember what the commercial was for but it had football fans wining the chance to have their favorite player come to their house. Clay Matthews from Green Bay and someone from the eagles were in the commercial
    I liked the Doritos one with the goat. I feel that way with my dog sometimes I have to hide when I eat or he will stare me down.

    Comment by Nicole – February 4, 2013 12:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Doritos goat FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – February 4, 2013 12:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • M&Ms was almost perfect, except for one thing: that red M&M is being licked by the sexiest woman alive. Show some appreciation, man!!!

    Comment by Trouty Mouth – February 4, 2013 03:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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