Best Super Bowl Commercials

Super Bowl Commercials: The Very Best, and Worst, of 2017 (Watch Video)

To air a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl LI, you needed to pony up a cool $5 million. A reasonable price to pay, to reach north of 100 million people?

It all depends on how you make use of that precious seconds. As this year’s contest between the Patriots and Falcons plays out in Houston, TVLine is singling out the spots that were winning plays, and the few that were costly fumbles. (Anything not listed — e.g. Skittles, Avocados, Tide — was neither here nor there.)

By the end of the night, this list will be left with only the very best, and a few of the worst, that Madison Avenue had to offer. Refresh for updates, and feel free to comment on any ads that landed in the “meh” middle.

WINNING PLAYS

84 Lumber, “The Entire Journey” | Super Bowl viewers only saw 90 seconds of this short, immigration-themed film from a building materials supplier (whose owner voted for Trump, natch), which met some resistance from Fox. The full, online version shows the mother and American flag-weaving daughter met by the wall… as we realize the workers were actually building a door for them to pass through, legally.

It’s a 10 Haircare, “Super Bowl Commercial” | You had me at, “America, we’re in for at least four years of awful hair.”

Squarespace, “Calling JohnMalkovich.com” | The in-game spot continued the pre-game commercial’s narrative, in which the John Malkovich struggles to wrest his eponymous domain from a…. fish blogger.

Snickers, “Live Super Bowl Commercial” | Maybe not the strongest of the “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, but major points for “destroying” an Old West town, live. Also: Kylo Ren!

Audi, “Daughter” | The auto manufacturer says it elected to “speak to American emotionally” with this year’s spot, by tapping into the “culturally engaging topic” of gender equality in the work place. And it did so with just the right firmness of touch.

Michelin, “I Need You” | Warm/fuzzy vignettes in which people rush to the side of loved ones, perhaps a bit more assuredly on Michelin tires.

Intel, “Brady Everyday” | An effective, fun demo of the Big Game’s 360-degree camera technology, reminding you that Intel makes more than PC chips.

Airbnb, “#weaccept” | A timely message spot that almost challenged you to identify its sponsor.



Buick, “Big Game Spot With Cam Newton and Miranda Kerr” |
Started off a bit similar to the Snickers spots, with the body swapping and all, but once #19 got rifled backwards by Cam’s pass, big laughs.

Honda, “Yearbooks” | Perhaps not the strongest sell for any car, but the assemblage of celebs, retrofitted (and talking) as their teenage selves, is mesmerizing.

Bai, “Big Game Ad Starring Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken” | If only because Walken reciting any dialogue, let alone JT lyrics out of context, is always a winner.

TurboTax, “Humpty Hospital” | Some have found this series unsettling, but damn if they don’t stick with the yolk, er, joke to the very end.

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FUMBLES

Bud Light, “Ghost Spuds” | It’s been a while, so remind me: Has Spuds ever spoken before? And with that voice? Add in a dog apparently dangling from wires and it’s just wrong.

Mr. Clean, “Cleaner of Your Dreams” | This one is starting to grow on us, with the about-to-be-ravaged shlubby hubby at the end, but still — sexualized CGI makes you feel a bit dirty.

H&R Block, “Future” | On the heels of entertaining-enough January spots starring Mad man Jon Hamm, the tax prep service takes a sharp left turn with an almost eerie tout of the IBM Watson computer’s ability to find you every deduction.

Busch, “BUSCHHHHH” | Silly.

T-Mobile, “#UnlimitedMoves” | Wouldn’t it be hilarious if we put bad boy Bieber in a tuxedo and spectacles? Answer: no.

Michelob Ultra, “Our Bar” | When I heard Michelob was doing a “fitness”-themed spot, my eyes rolled so hard I burned 95 calories. Know what people who work out like a beast actually drink? Lots of water. True story.

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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33 Comments
  1. 90sbaby says:

    Do they not show any promos for shows/movies?

    • Chris says:

      There’s been at least five movie trailers I think and empire and 24 spots in the first half

    • bryce says:

      I watched on the Fox Sports Go app on my Roku, so I don’t know how accurate my ad viewing experience was, but the entire first half was ads for Empire and 24 and Transformers.

  2. Wrstlgirl says:

    That Logan trailer was the bomb!!

  3. CourtTV says:

    Bai and Buick were the best so far (2nd quarter). Busch was odd.

  4. BrightLight says:

    If Christopher Walken put out a spoken word album in which he read lyrics to the worst songs of all time, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  5. Kevin says:

    The Fate Of The Furious spot was awesome.

  6. Cynthia says:

    I loved the Skittles commercial hands down so far but I’very only seen the commercials up to half time.

  7. Laura says:

    84Lumber ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  8. PatriciaLee says:

    We don’t drink, but the A&B ship one grabbed me. I wasn’t expecting something so well done. That’s a writer, director and editor to put on one’s short list. Of course, the actors were super fantastic, too! The husband liked the Bradshaw Tide one. He says that was funny, and no better praise.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Anheuser-Busch created a superior ad, filled with heart and hope. The husband and I experienced family tragedies due to alcoholism, but I have to say that my grandfather seemed to manage his for years with one bottle of beer a day, sprinkling a dash of salt down the bottle neck (for whatever reason).

  9. tallsy says:

    Disagree. Thought the Ghost Spuds ad was great.

  10. Tahoe Mike says:

    What best of?? That was the lamest bunch of ad’s ever. No babes, no monkeys, no talking babies or animals, no laughs, NO SALE.

  11. Gwen says:

    We loved the Honda yearbook commercial!

  12. Greg Cantin says:

    I laughed the loudest at Melissa McCarthy’s Kia commercial. And, btw, even my wife thought the Audi one sucked. As did I.

  13. Kristen Schaal’s “50 Shades of Verizon” T-Mobile commercials had me rolling. As did Melissa McCarthy trying to save the whales!

  14. Josh says:

    I hated that wall commercial. I’m sorry but a door to legally let people through is just as gross as the wall itself. I rather the wall get torn down.

    The whole, “oh look there is a door” plays right into Trump.

  15. PJnGA says:

    Did you notice there were no Doritoes commercial this year? Whats up with that? They usually have some of the best!!!

    • LADY_in_MD says:

      They came out and said they were not doing any commercials this year I think they have shifted their focus on advertising more through social media

  16. kirads09 says:

    RE Snickers: My dream for “you’re not yourself when you are hungry” has long been for Tatiana Maslany to do one – as the entire clone club. They haven’t listened to me on that one yet though!

  17. Charles says:

    The 84 lumber was boring and too political. There was a report out this morning that the test audience gave it a very low mark, did not move up or down on the dials.
    either you are a globalists and follow their one world agenda and loved it or if you believe the US is a sovereign state, you hated it.

  18. Brian says:

    Hands down the Buick ad with Cam Newton was the best of the game.

  19. Jenn says:

    No one has even mentioned the 15 second AMC Walking Dead spot. That had me laughing hard.

  20. Bonnie Headington says:

    How could you leave out the NFL babies???

  21. Steve F. says:

    I really missed the Doritos ads this year (how could they top last year’s baby birth one?) – and no mention of the Super Bowl Babies, Melissa McCarthy’s Kia ad, Budweiser’s Anheuser-Busch meeting, and the Wix ad with Jason Statham and Gal Gadot?

    • Steve F. says:

      Oh, and the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 5 trailers – though what is it with classic rock/country songs being used in trailers lately?

  22. canadian ninja says:

    The avocado commercial – its full length version – was fast paced and funny and probably would have been the best. The short one they showed was just too short.

    Out of what was shown I’d pick the Einstein playing Gaga ad that ran right after the half-time show.

  23. Thought the Kia ad was great and the TMO ad was at least entertaining.

  24. “If that’s a Buick, I’m Miranda Kerr!” (Looks in mirror hopefully)