Super Bowl Best Commercials

Super Bowl Commercials: Reviewing the Best, Worst and Many In Between

The time is nigh for the Super Bowl, where every year advertisers toss big bucks (now a solid $5 million per 30-second spot!) to wave their wares in front of 110 million viewers.

Who drafted famous faces to shill? Who played it for laughs? Who went for waterworks? And which advertisers still believe that S-E-X sells?

Read our quick take on many of the commercials from Super Bowl 50, ranked from TOUCHDOWNS to FUMBLES, and then share your own reviews in Comments.

TOUCHDOWNS

T-MOBILE, “Restricted Bling” | Wireless service suits give Drake (a lot of) notes on changing his “Hotline Bling” lyrics, underscoring how other carriers “ruin everything.” Very clever, pointed. [TOUCHDOWN]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMWzX0RC7f4

BUDWEISER, “Give a Damn” | Strongly worded condemnation about DWI carries extra weight from a classy Dame such as Helen Mirren. Plus, you probably just learned the word “pillock.” [TOUCHDOWN]

JEEP, “Portraits” | “I’ve seen things that no man should bear…,” starts a voiceover, as black-and-white images from wartime and happier times, people famous and otherwise faceless flash across the screen, representing the lives Jeep has been a part of. A simple, “We Don’t Make Jeep. You do” tag ties it up perfectly. [TOUCHDOWN]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKn5K5V7tRo

HYUNDAI, “Ryanville” | Two young women in a Hyundai find themselves very distracted by a town populated entirely by Ryan Reynoldses. Luckily, their car has auto-emergency braking. Buzzy, with ultimately a clear product demo. [TOUCHDOWN]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih4VYnbm6Sw

JASON BOURNE, “First Look” | Matt Damon’s “perfect weapon” remembers everything — which, he is cautioned, doesn’t mean he knows everything, in this first look at the summer sequel. Leaves us wanting more. [TOUCHDOWN]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gBnmKOixDM

SHOCK TOP, “Unfiltered Talk” | T.J. Miller trades some truly excellent insults with the beer’s Mohawk-wearing orange-wedge mascot. At the very least, makes you wonder about the Belgian ale’s chutzpah. [TOUCHDOWN]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDDfEIq9kI4

MOUNTAIN DEW KICKSTART, “PuppyMonkeyBaby” | Exactly what it says— a puppy/monkey/baby hybrid serves the new Dew/juice/caffeine mix to a trio of nonplussed pals. Unsettling yes, but thematically, it’s on point. [TOUCHDOWN]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql7uY36-LwA
BETTER YET:
https://twitter.com/SleepyHollowFOX/status/696491490374103040

AUDI R8, “Commander” | Father/son bonding, as a retired astronaut rediscovers that visceral thrill via the titular sports car, as David Bowie’s “Starman” swells. [TOUCHDOWN]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diU_09jb4bI

FIELD GOALS

KIA, “Walken Closet” | Christopher Walken urges a bland man to trade in his beige socks for the Optima sedan, which he likens to “the world’s most exciting pair of socks.” The actor’s hand-puppetry alone earns a: [FIELD GOAL]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r0FrXXKeiA

LG, “Man from the Future” | Liam Neeson and his brogue intrigue a young bar patron with card tricks and a heads-up about “the future” — as in the company’s wafer-thin 4K OLED TV. Perfect marriage of talent and elegant product. [FIELD GOAL]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzLfPx-8OuM

XIFAXAN | Did an adorable, animated pink intestine just steal the show, touting the anti-IBS product? [FIELD GOAL]

PRIUS, “The Longest Chase” | In a pinch, bank robbers use a Prius for their getaway, leading to an epic chase, national news coverage and ever some ‘shipping by superfans. Sexy spin on oft-mocked vehicle, or an ethically odd message? Entertaining, either way. [FIELD GOAL]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYeM-8hO3hM

ACURA NSX, “What He Said” | Van Halen’s “Runnin’ With the Devil” scores the slow birth of what you have to admit is a hella snazzy-looking Acura. [FIELD GOAL]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSlPxMLDP-Q

AVOCADOS FROM MEXICO, “#AvosInSpace” | Aliens touring a museum of Earthly wonders are schooled on the blue/white dress that started a civil war, Scott Baio and the in-season-year-round fruit. Points for clever details. [FIELD GOAL]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ndPEQCoSzk

SNICKERS, “Marilyn” | A year ago, hangry Marcia Brady channeled Danny Trejo. This time, Willem Dafoe dissolves into archival Marilyn Monroe, to good effect. Provided we can ever unsee his knobby knees. [FIELD GOAL]
https://twitter.com/SNICKERS/status/694883012270370816

HYUNDAI, “First Date” | Kevin Hart stars as an overprotective dad whose job is made somewhat easier by the GPS-tracking Car Finder feature. The comedian’s mugging washes away any icky stalker-y feelings. [FIELD GOAL]

SAFETIES

TURBOTAX, “Never a Sellout” | Sir Anthony Hopkins — as he sips from a branded teacup and calls out to his dog “TurboTax” — dismisses the idea that he has sold out, seeing as the company’s “Absolute Zero” product is free. Meta, but still a bit sad. [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6T3F69oK30

BMW MINI, “#DefyLabels” | A parade of celebs — tall, tiny, not-cute, tough, gay — shrug off the labels one might lob at the Mini Clubman, which in the end is left to be judges by a glimpse at its looks. [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9XqYAzbmTI

COCA-COLA, “Hulk vs. Ant-Man” | Ant-Man just about gets away with stealing Dr. Banner’s pop, but ultimately opts not to make the big green guy any angrier. Fun, but a bit cheesy. [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlZqBR3yTiw

T-MOBILE, “Ballogize” | Steve Harvey makes light of his Miss Universe mix-up by “correcting” some misinformation spread during the T-Mobile/Verizon war. For those who don’t keep tabs on the cell service clashes: [SAFETY]
https://twitter.com/TMobile/status/696493370424709125

BUD LIGHT, “The Bud Light Party” | Love-’em-or-hate-’em comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen have founded a new political party, touting a (ahem) caucus that is large but not too much to handle. Add in a Paul Rudd cameo and you get a: [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JohgwbpQuy8

QUICKEN LOANS, “#RocketMortgage” | A provocative sell, if an oversell — that a simple-to-use app can hasten the mortgage process and, in turn, give the real estate market and thus the entire home goods economy a kick in the pants. [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlRm6Y5iVfw

SQUARESPACE, “Real Talk With Key & Peele” | A wasted use of talent, this spot assumes the viewer knows more than they do about the product, instead expecting you to find the time to hunt down the follow-ups. [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nG_wVxO7EM

TACO BELL, “Quesalupa” | There’s. Cheese. In the. Shell! How big a deal is that? A series of scenarios attempt to illustrate the magnitude, though the product demo falls short of savory. [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krdKB-lrfGI

DORITOS, ‘Ultrasound” | An unborn child is seen being grabby for his oafish dad’s chips — to the point that, in a harrowing twist, the wee one seems to make an early break for it! To be continued..? [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH2LsFcWOFY

APARTMENTS.COM, “Moving Day” | All you were thinking was, “How much was Jeff Goldblum paid?” — until the “Movin’ on Up” theme delivered on its Jeffersons joke, in the form of George (Washington) and Weezy (aka Lil Wayne). Minimal noise, zero sell. [SAFETY]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6OmHbZ2vHs

MICHELOB ULTRA, “Breathe” | Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), this spot posits that if you’re a workout fiend, this is the brew to waste 95 calories on — versus the zero of, you know, water. [SAFETY]
https://twitter.com/MichelobULTRA/status/695264305944608768

FUMBLES

DORITOS, “Dogs” | Who covets finger-staining snack food more than an unborn fetus? Dogs, of course! (Why animals desiring something is supposed to nudge human purchase escapes me every single Super Bowl ad season.) [FUMBLE]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZfo7wfojeQ

SKITTLES, “The Portrait” | Steven Tyler beholds a portrait of himself… made entirely of Skittles… and then shattered upon attempting the “Dream On” high note. What’s the overlap in the Aerosmith/Skittles target market Venn diagram…? [FUMBLE]

BUICK, “The Big Game Meets the Big Day” | A bridesmaid (“Blurred Lines” bombshell Emily Ratajkowski} “totally Odells it” when nabbing a thrown bouquet — impressing all but OBJ himself. The car itself gets lost in the shuffle. [FUMBLE]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYyWq_Vads8

MARMOT, “Campfire” | A camper bonds with the Marmot mascot… until things go a bit too far. A) Did you know what Marmot sells before this ad? B) Do you know now? [FUMBLE]

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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

32 Comments
  1. Kate says:

    Nothing good so far. That Doritos one was particularly lame.

  2. BrightLight says:

    OMG, #PuppyMonkeyBaby was creepier on TV than it was on my computer screen!

  3. Tom says:

    Not impressed with the commercails by and large.

    And they’d be a lot more impressive if we hadn’t seen them.

  4. amy says:

    no good commercials yet

  5. Sharon says:

    PuppyMonkeyBaby is a personal FOUL

  6. Kathy says:

    Sorry, but #PuppyMonkeyBaby was so creepy! I’m going to have nightmares!

  7. BrightLight says:

    How sad is it that one of my fave commercials so far is the “The Good Wife: The FINAL Season” commercial?

  8. hayes says:

    They just ran a promo of The Good Wife’s FINAL SEASON. I am happy and not surprised. Here’s to hoping we get a satisfying ending.

  9. TVRocks says:

    Lackluster commercials but Doritos is the best of those so far

  10. big cheddar says:

    The Prius 4 commercial made me laugh.

  11. Mr. Tran K says:

    The Jason Bourne spot was awesome. Can’t wait to go see it.

  12. Bill says:

    How did a TV website not notice the Prius commercial staged a season two Wire reunion?

  13. JJ says:

    I will never buy a Prius as long as I live. Do they know that there have been people killed and homes destroyed by criminals involved in car chases with police? They thought we’d find this humorous and want their car? Their ad people are sickos if this is their best. And Budweiser, way to let us down with no iconic ad this year. Very disappointing.

    • KCC says:

      Do you know how many people are killed and homes destroyed because of the use of alcohol? And you’re disappointed by the Budweiser ad with Helen Mirren about drinking and driving. I guess you never watch a TV show or movie with a car chase in it either.

    • Bonnie W says:

      I resented the fact that bank robbers stole a car and thwarted the police and got away with it. Terrible commercial.

  14. Allie says:

    doritos ultrasound won the night. Ryan Reynolds – I’d move into that neighborhood tomorrow. Kinda liked the hot dog commercial too but that’s only because we have one… the rest were just ok.

  15. energy awesomeness says:

    Pokemon was best commercial in the reality, one of best in history.

  16. Hmm says:

    You very sadly missed a touchdown in Heinz’s hot dog spot. C’mon, TV Line.

  17. Ethel says:

    Heard on the news tonight viewers voted the Kevin Hart commercial the best of all of them

  18. George H. says:

    PuppyMonkeyBaby was so stupid that it actually made me forget what the commercial was advertising.

    The Doritos and baby in womb one made me crack up when she threw the Dorito at the end.

    And OMG! Jason Bourne looks effing awesome.

  19. Sara says:

    What made the Prius commercial so great for me was the fact that they were actors from the second season of The Wire! I had to rewind it and make sure I was seeing it correctly.

  20. Pat says:

    I thought the Mexican avocado was funny. I was so disappointed in Budweiser. Yes, the one with Helen Mirren was fantastic as a message about drinking and driving but where was that one commercial of theirs that gave us that cutesy feel good moment, You know, puppies and Clydesdales together???? As for the Creepy Puppy Monkey Baby it must have been a heck of a Psychedelic trip they were all on when they came up with this but then again everybody is talking about it.

  21. Cate says:

    The Prius commercial won the night for me for one reason- sobotka family reunion! The Wire FTW

  22. kay says:

    For me this year the commercials sucked! Out of 4 hours their was maybe 3 good ones!

  23. Allison says:

    Totally disagree on the Doritos dog ad, at the party I was at we loved that one, we all laughed. I would have put the other Doritos one a little higher too as well as the avacado ad, that was funny. Also disagree on the Man From the Future, I thought that was stupid, I can’t believe they actually showed it twice! Drake was one of if not the best so agree on that one, I also liked the Ryan Reynolds ad. The Prius ads were pretty good but I didn’t care for most of the other car ads. I can’t believe you have the Mountain Dew one so high but it sounds like people either really liked that one really didn’t so I guess you fall in the really liked it category.

  24. hopemullinax says:

    I’m surprised you don’t have the Pokemon 20 commercial on this list. It was done like it could be a Nike spot, but it was filled with a slew of Easter eggs for fans. Brilliant!