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

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 are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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73 Comments
  1. Guy says:

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

  2. Babybop says:

    Loved the M&M one, but my favorite so far was the Best Buy one with Amy Poehler!

  3. ben says:

    Jesse Heiman! As if he didn’t turn up everywhere already, he’s now in a superbowl ad too!

  4. EJ says:

    The Rav 4 commercial was hilarious

  5. anna says:

    Oreos commercial was the best. M&M’s, Best Buy and Doritos goat were good. GoDaddy.com commercials are always horrible & tasteless

  6. Toia says:

    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!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    And of course Amy Poehler kills it just playing herself. I demand she do every commercial from now on.

  8. tracyg36 says:

    GoDaddy was the worst. They should change the name to GoTasteless. *shakes head*

    • Ace says:

      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.

    • The letter J says:

      So this. I about threw up watching Bar Rafeili kiss that geek.

  9. Jared says:

    Amy Poehler for the touchdown!!!!!

  10. GeoDiva says:

    Best Buy, M&Ms, Audi are my favorites so far….

  11. Jay says:

    The Calvin Klein ad gave me a funny feeling. Down there.

  12. Linda says:

    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.

  13. nal says:

    I love the M&Ms commercial.

  14. Missyd says:

    Godaddy definetely the worst. So disgusting. Coca cola webcam was neat. Doritos are always very creative. I like mms naya rivera though

  15. Kris says:

    Best Buy wins!!

  16. K says:

    The Go Daddy one was gross. Did we really need the sound effects?

  17. rebecca says:

    Naya Riveras M&M commercial hands down yummeh #MeltsInYourMouth

  18. Mike says:

    The M&M and Best Buy ad have been the highlights so fat.

  19. Md says:

    I don’t find anything funny about voodo dolls and the message that anything is okay if there is a possibility it might work.

    • Deena says:

      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.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      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).

  20. Jay says:

    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!!!

  21. Tony S says:

    Thanks for posting these. All my favorite Showtime and HBO shows are reruns tonight, so this will give me something to do.

  22. Kate says:

    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!

  23. Catherine says:

    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.

    • Callie says:

      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.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      They ended up needing 42 takes (totally serious)! The kid in it really IS a genius ;).

  24. taliesin says:

    I liked The Big Bang Theory spot: Leonard wearing the football gear incorrectly. :)

  25. Jamie Genoa says:

    Best Buy and Amy Poehler for the clear win!! Can her and Tina Fey just do everything from now on?

  26. Alex says:

    They’re commercials, so by definition, they all suck. But they pay the bills!

  27. Christa says:

    I have to say Oreo since I won a iPod shuffle through it!

  28. Barb says:

    The AUDI commercial was AWESOME!!!

  29. Tran says:

    Fast & Furious Six Big Game Spot = SUPER AWESOME!! Can’t wait to go see it on Memorial Day weekend. :-)

  30. marsbar says:

    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.

  31. Sheri says:

    Where is the military commercial?

    • Deena says:

      The jeep one with Oprah doing the VoiceOver? It aired right after halftime so I guess it’s considered a 2nd half spot.

  32. Jay says:

    Amy Poehler/Best Buy all the way! ARE WE IN THE CLOUD NOW?!

  33. Liana in San Diego says:

    My fave is one you didn’t mention – Rhys Ifans and Voodoo Mama…. hilarious, so well done. All time fave.

  34. tvaddict says:

    Amy Poehler’s best buy commercial was by far my favorite!

  35. Mark says:

    I thought the Calvin Klein commercial to be particularly well made.

  36. Kate says:

    You gave GoDaddy a field goal? You’re probably one of those people that thought “Are You There, Chelsea?” was “witty” and “ground-breaking.”

  37. Rachel says:

    Best Buy & Oreos were my favorites from the first half. That said, I used to work in a library…that made it way funnier!

  38. Lindsey says:

    I buy Skechers for performance!!!! Mine are the most lightweight, comfortable running shoes I have ever owned! Love em!

  39. Rissa says:

    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!

  40. Lori says:

    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.

  41. Trish says:

    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!!

  42. Geoff says:

    Farmer was hands down the best

  43. Marianne says:

    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.

  44. dandilyons says:

    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…

  45. Tom Charles says:

    Wasn’t really overly impressed with any of the ads this year honestly

  46. AT says:

    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.

  47. tracyg36 says:

    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.)

  48. Nicole says:

    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.

  49. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    The Doritos goat FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Trouty Mouth says:

    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!!!

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