Super Bowl XLIX: Reviewing the Best & Worst Commercials (Watch 'Em Here)

The time is night for the Super Bowl, where every year advertisers pony up big bucks (nowadays, north of $4 million per 30-second spot) 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 many of the commercials from Super Bowl XLIX, and then share your own reviews in Comments.

JURASSIC WORLD | Want now. That is all. [TOUCHDOWN]

ESURANCE, “Sorta Mom” | Reckless wreck Lindsay Lohan seen as the equivalent of a young lad’s mom, at least in some insurers’ eyes. Clever message, once you recognize, “Ohhh… it’s Lindsay Lohan.” [SAFETY]

TOYOYA CAMRY, “How Great I Am” | Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy puts her best feet forward, in multiple and highly impressive ways, though there’s a unarguable disconnect with the auto sell at hand. [SAFETY]

TURBOTAX, “Boston Tea Party” | AKA when a copywriter’s late-night folly of wordplay begets an $8 million ad buy. Oof. [FUMBLE]

GAME OF WAR, “Who I Am” | Supermodel Kate Upton is (barely) poured into a breastplate, in the name of touting a game app/proving she’s no actress. [FUMBLE]

TOMORROWLAND | The Disneyfile in me wants to anticipate this film more than I currently do, though every new teaser certainly helps. At least now we know there’s a rocket ship involved. [FIELD GOAL]

BMW, “Cars/Today Show” | I kinda loved this spot, if only for the flashback to how strange this whole “Internet” thing was some 20 years ago. Points subtracted for the suggested visual of Couric twerking. [SAFETY]

SNICKERS, “The Brady Bunch” | Retro TV goodness + Danny Trejo + seamless dubbing + Steve Buscemi cameo = [TOUCHDOWN]

MINIONS, “Super Fan Spot” | Adorable, indecipherable Minion fun, though without any hint at the plot (which is some sort of time-spanning “origin” tale). Only question is whether my sons will have outgrown these guys by the time it comes out. [SAFETY]

CARNIVAL CRUISE, “Return to the Sea” | Cruise ships take a lotta knocks (for viral outbreaks, spouses pitched over railings, power outages, etc;), so this bit of PR is to be expected. Not sure if it’ll convert skeptics, though. [SAFETY]

T-MOBILE, “Save the Data” | Sure, Kim K. is “in” on the joke (about her own narcissistic rep), but did no one tell her she needs to act the tiniest bit animated when appearing on (a family friendly) video? [SAFETY]

BUDWEISER, “Lost Dog” | Clydesdale’s puppy pal gets lost out in the big, bad world, almost accosted by a big, bad wolf — but the horses gallop to the rescue. A fine addition to the annual series, if a bit dark. [TOUCHDOWN]

NATIONWIDE, “Invisible Mindy” | Mindy Kaling’s insurance company has left her feeling invisible, so she makes the most of it — yet comes up just shy of macking on Matt Damon. A clear message smartly executed. [TOUCHDOWN]

TERMINATOR: GENISYS | It’s ex-governor Arnold vs. young Arnold! Consider this ’80s kid’s curiosity piqued. I’ll be back. [FIELD GOAL]

COCA-COLA, “#MakeItHappy” | A spilled Coke turns allllll of the Internet’s hate into love. If. Only. A beautiful sentiment. [TOUCHDOWN]

FAST & FURIOUS 7 TRAILER | Come for Paul Walker’s farewell performance, stay for the patently ridiculous stunts/set pieces. [FIELD GOAL]

DORITOS, “Middle Seat” | Cute premise — guy wards off possible seat mates, with an eye on a pretty blonde prize — if you forget that airlines by and large are not general admission seating. [SAFETY]

NISSAN, “With Dad” | Aww, geez. As “Cat’s in the Cradle” plays, a kid grows up watching his race car driver dad repeatedly brush up against death on the track — until one day Dad shows up to get him from school. [FIELD GOAL]

NATIONWIDE, “Kid Can’t Grow” | Bring back Mindy. Yeesh. [FUMBLE]

MCDONALD’S, “Starting Tomorrow” | For a college senior thesis, we had to come up with a campaign/idea for Burger King. I really wish we had thought of “Pay With Lovin.'” Just brilliant. [TOUCHDOWN]

ESURANCE, “Sorta Pharmacy” | Like the Lohan spot, ‘cept Greg Your Pharmacist is, in some insurers’ eyes, the same as Walter White. The Breaking Bad sequel we didn’t know we’d get. [TOUCHDOWN]

FIAT, “Pill” | Wayward erection pill lands in Fiat tank, “swells” car into a compact SUV. Female passersby purr. Point made! [SAFETY]

SQUARESPACE, “Ohm” | Presumably just a teaser for a later spot? Or is the sell simply, “You could ostensibly build a website about Jeff Bridges chanting”…? UPDATE: DreamingWithJeff.com is a real website, shilling the actor’s album of get-to-sleep tunes. Or something like that. Still, the ad’s a [FUMBLE]

NOMORE.ORG | This NFL-produced anti-domestic violence PSA is stealthy in its approach, then chilling once the situation becomes clear. (No grade.)

TOYOTA, “My Bold Dad” | Damn… I have sons, yet that was… [Sniffle] Um, anyway, so… Weep-tastic sentiment, for sure, but iffy on the Toyota of it all. [FIELD GOAL]

CARL’S JR., “Au Naturel” | A model seemingly au naturel struts through a farmer’s market, cuing many a Benny Hill-esque sight gag. (The melons are… well, you get it.) But the true distraction is the all-natural product’s improbably gargantuan size. Or does she just have small hands? [FUMBLE]

CLASH OF THE CLANS, “Revenge” | Bested on a gaming app, “Lee-um” Neeson goes all Taken on BigBuffetBoy85. Add in the “Angry Neeson” musical sting, and you get a [TOUCHDOWN]

CHRYSLER, “Dodge Wisdom” | (Mostly) centenarians espouse advice, from sweet and sage to salty and sassy — all tied into Dodge’s 100th birthday. Fun and on-message. [FIELD GOAL]

KIA, “The Perfect Getaway” | Pierce Brosnan is pitched a role… as Kia pitchman, trading 100mph, snipers and explosions for reasonable speeds, owls and fireworks. Another much-needed lighter spot amid the night’s more morbid themes. [FIELD GOAL]

BUDWEISER, “Brewed the Hard Way” | Smart play, focusing on tried-and-true brewing of “golden suds” while the hipsters sip their “pumpkin peach ale.” If you drink beer, Bud makes beer. ‘Nuff said. [FIELD GOAL]

JEEP, “Beautiful Lands” | “This Land Is Your Land” now encompasses not just America but apparently the globe, as illustrated in this spot for the new Renegade compact SUV — the first U.S.-market Jeep to be manufactured abroad (in Italy). Message of global unity, or whiff of PR spin? [FUMBLE]

MOPHIE, “All-Powerless” | What happens when God’s cell runs out of juice? Pigs fly, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! [SAFETY]

LOCTITE, “Positive Feelings” | I had never heard of Loctite, and now I have, and I also know they’re got a fun attitude. What more could one ask for, when speaking to 100 million viewers? [FIELD GOAL]

BUD LIGHT, “Coin” | I grew up in the heat of Pac-Man Fever, so why did this spot feel so flat for me? It just seemed a bit random. But points for the realization of a real-world, life-sized videogame. [FIELD GOAL]

TED 2 | Ted and his girlfriend Tami-Lynn want to make a baby, and apparently they want/need Tom Brady’s sperm to do it. “A perfect spiral!” But for now, just a [SAFETY].

MERCEDES, “Fable” | “Plot twist!” Tortoise bests Hare by jumping into a very sweet-looking Mercedes, as Jon Hamm narrates. [FIELD GOAL]

DORITOS, “When Pigs Fly” | How has this painfully obvious concept not been done 1,000 times before? (Or has it?) [FUMBLE]

SKECHERS, “Pete Rose” | All Pete Rose wants to do is be in “the hall” — at his home — whilst wearing his comfy sneakers. We’ll allow it, even if his wife won’t. [SAFETY]

What were your favorite ads?

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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89 Comments
  1. Cathy says:

    I loved the Camry one, and also the Snickers ad. Budweiser ad hasn’t aired yet, but saw that online and it almost made me cry.

  2. Tran says:

    The Minions ad was hilarious. SWING THOSE PANTS BABY!!

    • Imzadi says:

      I am a lot older than Matt’s sons, and I love the Minions. I can’t wait for the movie and watch every promo I see!

  3. murley says:

    I thought Kim’s deadpan public service announcement tone was perfect. That commercial, along with Steve Buscemi in the Snickers ad and Mindy’s ad are the ones that have made me laugh out loud.

  4. Matty Si. says:

    No commercial ever beats the one with the little boy dressed as Darth Vader who started a car using the force (and his dad pressing the start button on the car key). That one was my favorite of all time!

  5. Tran says:

    The Furious 7 ad was pure edge of your seat entertainment and Jason Statham is so good at being BAD. RIP Paul Walker

  6. As an international viewer (Canada) I can only view the youtube videos.

    Hulu is blocked to Canada.

  7. LADY_in_MD says:

    That nationwide one with the little boy was way morbid
    Loved the esurance ones and of course the Budweiser puppy and horse!

  8. Turbotax was offensive as hell.

  9. JK says:

    The nationwide with the kid should have been a personal foul & ejected. Almost worse than the GoDaddy puppy commercial.

    • Lois says:

      The Nationwide commercial wasn’t bad. I understand the message. There are things people can do to make things safer for their children. They wanted to start a conversation, and it worked. The GoDaddy puppy commercial was awful, seeming to endorse puppy mills.

  10. Ben says:

    Jeff Bridges. Not Daniels.

  11. Jenna says:

    Personally, I liked The Blacklist ad best: ‘I just love when things fall into place.’ Lol. I’ve been missing James Spader. :)

  12. Rick Capano says:

    Nissan Commercial “Cat’s in the Cradle” PRICELESS !

  13. myz says:

    I felt bad because I laughed at the nationwide kid accident one. But it was just so ridiculous. It was trying to force you to feel bad, but it didn’t work. The puppy one was great though for making you feel something. They also missed the Chevy one I think it was before the game started, but it started out looking like your picture had messed up and then talked about how they have wifi in their cars.

  14. Brad says:

    Anybody who has ever taken Southwest thought the Doritos ad was brilliant. That happens n every flight.

  15. Chy says:

    Tmobile commercial was boring. Kim K Really. That commercial would of been better for disfigured body parts. Budweiser was the best..

  16. JJ says:

    I guess this year’s theme is sentimental and thoughtful instead of hilarious. Doritos was the best so far. Too many car and insurance ads that didn’t even make sense for the product! Sad today’s generation can’t even know how good the Super Bowl ads used to be. Go back 20 years or so, there were classics that no one will ever measure up to, the office monkeys, the first Bud ads, those were the days.

  17. dj says:

    I still love the streaking sheep from several years ago….

  18. Aldo says:

    I luked the Fiat “Pill” and Nissan ” with Dad”

  19. Tammy says:

    love this one

  20. Carol C says:

    I’m partial to the Doritos plane ad, but totally loved the Toyota Bold Dad one. Teary, indeed.

  21. Lauren says:

    Just no to the Nationwide ad. We were about to put our toddler to bed when that came on. It was not cool.

  22. Lorrie says:

    The Nationwide commercial was horrifying.

  23. SamCro says:

    What is with all these liberal social engineering commercials, that is not entertaining. Microsoft, never again.

  24. Anandasky says:

    The good news about the Jeff Bridges link … all proceeds go to No Kid Hungry … and you decide the donation. Still – they really make you work to know about this one. Loved the message of #LikeAGirl, Mexican Avocado, Coke and more than a few others. Katy Perry floating around the stadium and the special effects made for a fun halftime.

  25. Katy says:

    Why aren’t you reviewing the always throw like a girl ad???? It was brilliant. Talk about weepy

  26. John says:

    I would never go on a cruise but the commercial by Carnival Cruise about returning to the sea was intriguing and well done. Nice touch adding JFK’s voice in there as well to bring some class back to a mode of travel that has lost that over the years to a lot of trash. Well done!

  27. Phil Finney says:

    A little shoe company beats the giants. Pete Rose unable to stay in his own hall was a laugh riot.

  28. leona says:

    LOVE it!

  29. JJ says:

    Every other ad is for an NBC show or a movie trailer? When did these ads become part of the Super Bowl? Couldn’t NBC sell all the spots so they have to promote themselves?

  30. Tran says:

    Hope Tom Brady deflates TED and not Mark Wahlberg (Patriots fan).

  31. Gaby says:

    Where is the All You Need Is Ecuador commercial?

  32. Tom says:

    Worst by far was the nationwide kids can’t grow one. Way to be a Debbie Downer. Best was the Esurrance one with Bryan Cranston

  33. Karen MT says:

    The Nationwide ad wasn’t a fumble, it was a personal foul, 15 yard penalty.

  34. Timmah says:

    I’m glad they gave us those important lessons about taking domestic violence seriously, being good parents, not making fun of girls, etc. Now it’s time for some good old family entertainment about a glorified serial killer!

  35. Jurassic World? Definitely Touchdown with a 2 point conversion added on. That was awesome… I want it times 1000.

    Minions, love them. Can’t wait until July.

    Nationwide with Mindi? No thanks… and the other one, that was horrifying. And sad. It started out cute then ended up a tear jerker.

    Always love the Budweiser commercial with the puppy and the Clydesdale, so that was definitely a touchdown.

    Fiat, it was great. I wasn’t sure where it was going, and mom thought the blue pill would hit the priest. Which would have been hilarious.

    McDonald’s, it was good. I saw it already in full form since I work there, but it is a cute promotion and hope it does well. We all do need more love in the world.

    Coca Cola, loved it. Wish someone would pour a Coke on someone’s circuit board and all the bad things would just go away.

  36. Jules says:

    Best
    “lost Dog” Budweiser
    The irresistible minions taking off their pants
    TOMMOROWLAND

    Worst
    T-Mobile with KKardachian
    Esurance with LLohan

  37. Marilyn Knox says:

    Loved the lost puppy Bud commercial, Snickers, McDonalds, and Microsoft (both of them)

  38. “ANGRY NEESON! ANGRYNEESON52!”

  39. kateebee says:

    Thanks, no thanks for using all Hulu links. Not only do we not get the commercials live (thank you Canadian simulcasting. Waiting for 2017) now we have to hunt through the YouTubes in another window in order to read the article with reference. GAH!

  40. Josh says:

    I didn’t get the Nissan commercial. IT was like, “Oh he’s an absentee father but he drives a Nissa, so all is good!”

    So strange that Nationwide had my favorite commercial(Mindy Kaling/Matt Damon ) and my least favorite(“I’m dead!”).

  41. K says:

    The Budweiser commercial was my favorite. I also really liked the Coke ad, the Fiat ad, and the Doritos ads.

    The Nationwide commercial was quite possibly the worst thing I have ever seen.

  42. Chloe says:

    The Budweiser Puppy was my favorite. I also liked the T-Mobile ad [NOT the Kardashian one] with Silverman & Handler & the Mercedes one, because they both had possums in them.

    I found the Carnival Cruise one very odd. I can’t imagine JFK ever expected to be plugging for a cruise line.

  43. Fancyfel says:

    Really?? I was born in 1981 and I loved, loved, loved the pacman ad!

  44. Ashley says:

    I thought the Pete Rose ad was better than a safety. It made me LOL.

  45. lkh says:

    The avocado ad. The polar bear looked so hopeful that he’d be chosen for Mexico-but, alas, it was the avocado. :]

  46. radmcawesome says:

    Mindy Kaling is adorable. Kim K on the other hand is terrible. I wanted to like her commercial but she just too wooden.

  47. Grey's Fan says:

    The McDonalds one would’ve been better if they said: “McLovin”

  48. donholley77 says:

    Snickers commercial was the best! ‘Nuff Said.

  49. Lisa says:

    I actually laughed at the Snickers Brady Bunch one Liam Neeson, and the Ickey Woods Geico one. Not to mention, I loved the nerdiness of the Loctite one. Finally, I always love the Budweiser dog & Clydesdales.

  50. Leo says:

    Thought the Chevy commercial before the game was great. Commented to my wife that this is great for our tv to go out before the game even starts.