Super Bowl 50 disappointed most of us not high on the Rocky Mountains. However, the event did excel in its secondary function as a royal rumble between the world's largest brands and commercial factories.
This years ads felt fresh compared to the crops of years past. The "dead child" count was kept to a zero, and the obligatory drunk driving commercial was fine — actually, it was good!
I've compiled my picks for the 10 best ads, below, and tagged on the two worst for good measure. Share your favorites in the comments.
10. Amazon Echo - #baldwinbowl
This isn't an especially good ad. But, it features Missy Elliott and Jason Schwartzman, and I will watch both of them read the phone book. In fact, Netflix should greenlight that asap: "Missy & Jason Conquer the Yellow Pages." Get Michel Gondry to direct and we have ourselves a hit.
9. Hyundai - First Date
Kevin Hart's humor is built for the commercial medium. His hammy acting grabs your attention from the chips and salsa. Once his over-the-top schtick has worn out its welcome, the commercial's over and you've bought a new Hyundai.
8. Pepsi - Joy of Pepsi
Janelle Monae gives the no-frills Pepsi ad a splash of panache. Monae is a gift to the world, and any company that introduces her to more potential fans is doing a little bit of good alongside their self-interested pursuit of customers.
7. Mountain Dew - Puppymonkeybaby
I can't defend this choice, but I'll try. You see, this puppy is also a monkey and a baby, and that's funny. Okay, maybe funny isn't the right word. It's hypnotic. Yeah, hypnotic, that's what it is!
6. Mini - Defy Labels
A commercial with a message, "Defy Labels" connected with a lot of folks in my Twitter stream. Here's Eater's Ryan Sutton:
Mini Cooper on defying labels = A+ car commercial and best Super Bowl commercial so far.— ryan sutton (@qualityrye) February 8, 2016
5. Skittles - The Portrait
Steven Tyler can do no wrong, no matter how hard he tries.
4. Avocados from Mexico - #Avosinspace
I'm reluctant to describe a company that advertises in the Super Bowl as an "underdog," but Avocados from Mexico doesn't have the fandom of Budweiser's Clydesdales or a car company's A-list celebrity endorsement.
This is specific to my weird brain, but I enjoyed the Scott Baio appearance, if only because it reminded me of a high school friend's band: Baiowolf. It's a play on Scott Baio and Double Dragon-star Scott Wolf.
3. Independence Day: Resurgence - Trailer
Is it summer yet? Am I crazy to think that, after years of countless superhero films, an Independence Day sequel rolls over me like a cool breeze of originality?
2. Coca Cola - Ant-Man / Hulk
When I buy a ticket to a Marvel film, I'm not paying for the convoluted plots. What the superhero machine does best is action spectacle and oddball friendships. This commercial delivered as much for free in under a minute. Okay, what if instead of Marvel movies, we get a new commercial each week following our favorite character mash-ups? I'm okay with it, if y'all are okay with it.
1. Heinz - Wiener Stampede
Small dogs in cute costumes running in slow-motion: it's a cliche for a reason. Is it the most original commercial? Not at all. Is it the best? Yes. And you can prove me wrong in the comments.
2. NFL - Super Bowl Babies Choir
"Data suggests nine months after a Super Bowl victory, winning cities see a rise in births." So begins the NFL's ad for itself, a sweet-as-it-is-creepy collection of "Super Bowl babies" singing about their moment of conception. But I can't get past that opening line. When has the NFL cared what data suggests? Data shows that "96 percent of former NFL players whose brains were studied tested positive for a degenerative brain disease."
1. T-Mobile - Restricted Bling
Why, Drake? Why?