This year, dozens of advertisers ponied up some $4 million for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial — but if you’re going to drop such coin, try not to fumble the opportunity.
As this year’s big game enters the second half, TVLine is taking stock of the funny, frantic and warm-and-fuzzy spots that are waving advertisers’ wares before 100 million people. Which companies opted for cute critters? Who signed splashy celebs to do their shilling? And who’s employing tried-and-true S-E-X to arrest eyeballs?
Read our quick take on the commercials from the 2nd half of Super Bowl XLVIII — refresh for updates! — beneath this handy gizmo for playing back your faves, then share your own reviews in Comments. (Ratings from the 1st half are here.)
AUDI, “Doberhuahua” | What visual fun, as packs of Doberman-headed Chihuahua hybrids struggle with cones of shame and attack a well-meaning Sarah McLachlan. The car sell could have come in a few seconds sooner, but the “We hate compromise too” line stuck the landing. [TOUCHDOWN]
INTUIT, “Goldie Blox” | Intuit’s QuickBooks product touts its support of the Goldie Blox toy phenom. I’d rather a full-on proper commercial for the stereotype-shattering toy product, but this’ll do. [FIELD GOAL, if only for building awareness]
T-MOBILE | Tebow also rides bulls, performs hair metal and gets wrapped in circa-1980s cop shows. Clever pool-outs and a game celeb upgrade this campaign to a FIELD GOAL.
24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY | During the first half, we got a tease of fire. Now, Jack Bauer cocking his pistol. Actual footage would be too much to hope for* (wink-wink) barely two weeks into filming, so we’ll be generous with a TOUCHDOWN.
AXE | I know, the stuff reeks, especially when the guys who wear it wear too much. But this spot knew precisely how tongue-in-cheeky it was, and the twist with the fireworks “button” was fun. [FIELD GOAL]
CHOBANI, “Ransacked” | Huge bear storms a country store to get his paws on a yogurt made from natural ingredients. Or something. At least those with “Furry Animals” on their Super Bowl Ad bingo card are having a great day. [FUMBLE]
KIA, “The Truth” | Huge Matrix fan here. Totally on board through the blue key/red key choice. WTF OPERA SINGING? Did I miss a sequel?? [FUMBLE]
HONDA | “Great game, right?” Bruce. It’s 29-0 right now. But we’ll hug our loves ones and/or Fred Armisen anyway. Point about auto safety made. [FIELD GOAL]
BUDWEISER, “A Hero’s Welcome” | What if a corporation sponsored an Afghanistan war vet’s surprise welcome home parade? Yes, you’d still pump some tears. (And yes, it was a real hero/surprise.) [TOUCHDOWN]
CHRYSLER | A very badly looped Bob Dylan espouses on how you can get your phone from Japan or your beer from Germany, but there is no importing American pride and workmanship when it comes to building cars to traverse U.S. roads. “We will build your car.” A fine sentiment, if a tad overdone. [SAFETY]
TIME WARNER CABLE | P. Diddy takes Sookie and
Eric Bill on a tour of the “new” TWC, featuring cameos from the likes of Drake, the Duck Dynasty dudes and Ray Donovan‘s Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight. Thing is, the ad played not long after TWC subs in Los Angeles had missed an hour of the Super Bowl (including the halftime show) due to an outage. [FUMBLE]
COCA-COLA, “Going All the Way” | Pint-size benchwarmer seizes the day when the football lands in his arms, running it in for a TD… all the way down the street, at Lambeau Field. Sweet, if a bit slight. [FIELD GOAL]
BUTTERFINGER | Peanut Butter and Chocolate (or as the ‘shippers call them, “NutButt and Choco”) are having a relationship problem, so the shrink invites them to have a three-way with Mr. Butterfinger (which just might have been the title of a porno I saw in college). [SAFETY, though the new Butterfinger Cups do look good....]
MICROSOFT | Former NFL player/ALS patient Steve Gleason speaks through a computer to narrate this powerful essay on the ways technology lets those who might not otherwise be able to communicate do just that. [TOUCHDOWN]
JAGUAR, “British Villains Rendezvous” | Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong have fun with the big screen’s tendency to cast baddies who are British, yet thus boast an eye for detail and style and power. [TOUCHDOWN]
OIKOS GREEK YOGURT | John Stamos gets schlock-blocked when Full House pals Bob Saget and Dave Coulier interrupt his swapping of yogurt with a hottie. I knew this reunion was coming, yet still got surprised. [FIELD GOAL]
SODASTREAM | There was some nontroversy about this ad this past week, not sure what it entailed — I guess ScarJo originally name-checked Coke or Pepsi or something? With the edits, the spot works fine, and as a pop fan I support its ecological message though I’m skeptical about the product. Willing to hear reviews! [FIELD GOAL]
BUDWEISER, “Puppy Love” | Majestic Clydesdale? Good. Yipping puppy? Good. Mix ‘em together with a schmaltzy tune and you have advertising gold. One demerit, however, for lack of closure on the neighbor ranchers’ inferred budding romance. WHY LEAVE US HANGING?! [FIELD GOAL]
GODADDY | It’s a wondrous day aka “go time” for Selena (hey, it’s the A.N.T. Farm lady!), when mobs of golden boys (and a few women) storm her spray tanning boutique. [SAFETY, for minimal product demo.]
DORITOS | “Kids, can I get some help?” “I dunno, can you?” OK, I was rolling. (I get punchy after 3-3/4 quarters of lopsided football.) But the poorly CGI’d kid-on-dog lost me. [FUMBLE]
ESURANCE | This was kinda brilliant, buying the first commercial after the game and thus saving “about 30 percent” to tout how Esurance can save you about 30 percent. Plus: Jim Halpert! [TOUCHDOWN]
And that’s a wrap on this year’s reviews. Check back later for a poll, to vote on your THREE FAVORITES.