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

Super Bowl Best Commercials

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.


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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]


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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]


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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]


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]

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]

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]

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