When I was a kid, the Super Bowl meant two things: The NFC team would blow out the AFC team, with the game usually decided well before the end of the game. It also meant great commercials. Michael and Larry playing horse. Frogs that say “Bud. Weis. Er.” Cindy Crawford drinking a Pepsi.
In recent years, the games have been pretty good. The commercials, though … yikes. There have been a couple hits—the mini-Darth Vader two years ago was a highlight—but I’m just not as amused by Super Bowl commercials as I once was. Maybe I’ve become more of a discerning consumer, or maybe those stupid beer ads are aimed at children.
Besides the power outage, the 2013 Super Bowl was pretty much like those of recent years: The game was good, and the ads were pretty forgetful. Nonetheless, here’s a list of my five best, five worst and a few other Super Bowl commercials of note this year.
5 Best Super Bowl Commercials
This ad actually makes sense: The Rock is WWE Champion again, and by law the professional wrestling champion is required to provide assistance in getting cats out of trees, foiling bank robberies, fighting aliens, etc. I also really enjoyed the way Rock sort of posed with the milk as he walked away with it. Well-directed ad! Now why does milk need to advertise?
Every year GoDaddy.com has the worst ads. They usually feature Danica Patrick about to be humiliated in a skimpy outfit by some big lug, and then we’re directed to the Internet so we can presumably watch Patrick get naked, or maybe the dude get slimed or register a domain or whatever. Like everyone else, I’ve never tuned in online to see the end of the ad. The only people who would want to tune in to to see the end of the ad would be children, who (a) already know where to find actual porn online and (b) don’t register many domains. The kids who register domains, incidentally, are geeks who would use a much better registrar than GoDaddy.com.
And now: An actual Super Bowl ad! It’s kinda funny—”sky waitress” isn’t bad, and Danica flying the plane is clever—and it gets extra points for being a good ad from GoDaddy.
3. NFL Network
This ad is funny and clever and well made. And it is made 10,000 times funnier because it’s Andy Reid drafting Leon Sandcastle.
I realize this ad is supposed to be funny, but to me it is completely and utterly plausible.
5. Wonderful Pistachios
See, the Super Bowl commercials were so bad this year I put one with Psy in my top five.
5 Worst Super Bowl Commercials
I know I’m probably in the minority on this one, but, man, do I hate inspirational commercials. I don’t care if Coca-Cola loves the spirit of Christmas or Starbucks brings mothers and daughters together or Budweiser facilitates a man-on-horse love story. I don’t even like horses. They’re ugly and they shit all over Old City and, okay, I guess it’s nice AB InBev owns a bunch of them, but do they really fit with the rest of the company’s portfolio?
I’m so sick of inspirational bullshit attempting to get me to buy a product primarily designed to get me drunk. This is why I drink whiskey. Their commercials are about conspicuous consumption!
The only good part of this incredibly creepy commercial is that the babies don’t talk. Sex! Just tell your kid babies come from sex! He can deal with it!
I know there are little dumb disclaimers at the bottom of every weird commercial, but the best part of this ad is the “Fictional” marker at the bottom.
I hate you, E*TRADE Baby.
5. Cure Auto Insurance
This probably aired in Philadelphia (and at halftime), and it’s aired before, but the Eagles’ terrible, always-injured quarterback was in his stupid press conference commercial for cut-rate auto insurance and it reminded me that the Eagles went 4-12 this year and, ugh. Congratulations, Baltimore friends.
5 Other Super Bowl Commercials That Got My Attention
I don’t mind this ad, but the kids say “I wish I was” instead of the correct “I wish I were,” which ruins it for me. Hypothetical subjunctive, c’mon! Good to see Skee-Lo still getting some residuals, though.
In a vacuum, this commercial would be pretty funny. Fun.’s “We Are Young” is covered in Latin, and a bunch of old heads get together and perform childish pranks! But in the age of scores of rapping grannies available on YouTube, this is pretty stale. However, I do like this commercial, because Taco Bell gets away with advertising itself as a post-boozing food source because they use old people.
Like the Budweiser ad, this is inspirational BS, but it’s way better because it’s about humans rather than horses. Now, to go purchase some wheat.
During the third- and fourth-quarter breaks, we got a local spot for Gwynedd-Mercy College! When I watch the Super Bowl, I’m always also looking for an institution of higher learning to attend, so this makes sense.
World War Z
For a movie filmed in Glasgow, Scotland, this does a pretty nice job of looking like Philadelphia. Our traffic lights don’t look like that, but that one building even kinda looks like City Hall! Can you believe that, thanks to uncertainty over film tax credits a while back, we missed out on getting Brad Pitt hanging in Philadelphia?! So disappointing.