For most Super Bowls, the commercials are the star of the show. But last night the New England Patriots made a historic comeback, toppling the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. Ad breaks had to be used as they were originally intended: to visit the bathroom, grab drinks, and refill your plate with hot wings, celery, and those tiny hot dogs lathered in BBQ sauce.
And we awoke this morning — perhaps a smidgen hungover from light beer or Hawaiian Punch — without a favorite Super Bowl ad. With the rest of the 9AM water cooler crowd, we checked our watch, searched for something to say, and grumbled about how we can “Never count out touchdown Tom.” We then filed back to our laptops, collected ourselves, and assembled this list.
We will not be humiliated in the cafeteria. We will be the Super Bowl commercial experts. And you, dear reader, will share this title with us.
Your favorite absurdist candy brand takes a classic suburban romance tactic (throwing stones at your sweetheart’s window) and turns the Rubik’s Cube a few times until everyone’s having a midnight snack on the Skittle-thrower’s dime. “Everyone” here includes Sarah’s mom, Sarah’s grandma, a masked burglar, a cop, and a beaver. —Lizzie Plaugic
Hyundai tapped director Peter Berg to shoot its ad during the game. The shot begins with a helicopter flying over a US military base in Poland, noting that Americans couldn’t watch the Super Bowl without the troops serving in harms way. Soldiers watch the first quarter of the game, before several are pulled from the group and taken into a mysterious room.
Then, thanks to 360-degree cameras placed in several seats at the stadium, the soldiers get to “attend” the game with their families thousands of miles away. It’s incredibly sappy, and we didn’t see a single car during the shot. But deployed soldiers got to visit their families at the Super Bowl — with the help of some internet connections and fancy cameras only an ad budget can provide. Nice work, Hyundai. —Jordan Golson
This commercial for beer reminds us that one of its founders immigrated from Germany to the US in the 1800s, ostensibly indicating that without immigrants, we wouldn’t have Budweiser. That’s one way to shove yourself into a timely political conversation. —Lizzie Plaugic
Avocados from Mexico
Is this an exemplary Super Bowl commercial? Not really. Does it star Jon Lovitz? It sure does. Is this an excuse to embed a clip from The Critic. You’re darn right, it is. —Chris Plante
In this spot for the Kia Niro, Melissa McCarthy shows the plight of the eco-warrior, trying to save the whales and trees and icebergs, with unfortunate results. It’s funny, but the tagline — “It’s hard to be an eco warrior, but it’s easy to drive like one.” — may just be insulting. —Jordan Golson
Lest we forget that Ford is about more than just building cars, the company ran this spot to remind us that the company is all about mobility. Whether it’s ride-sharing or supercars or bicycles or apps or whatever, Ford is there to help you get unstuck and on your way. Or something. Look, it has a great song and that goes a long way. —Jordan Golson
In my opinion, Alfa’s trio of ads for the new Giulia sports sedan were the best of all the car spots. Alfa Romeo is back — and every other luxury carmaker (and their customers) should sit up and take notice. —Jordan Golson
Truly, we have found the bottom of the uncanny valley. The animated celebrity portraits are inhuman, threatening to escape the screen and wreak havoc upon the Earth. Hide the ones you love from this new age of movie monster. —Chris Plante
Finally, a sexualized cleaning product! Thank you, bald man in tight clothes! —Lizzie Plaugic
This ad was inevitable. The generic wine you drink in college because it’s cheap rips off the advertising tropes of the generic beer you drink in college because it’s cheap. And the ad acts like kangaroos are cute. Kangaroos aren’t cute. They’re terrifying. —Chris Plante