Every Super Bowl 50 Commercial, Ranked
Super Bowl Sunday was last night, so you know what that means: commercials! Every year, people who don't care about football show up at Super Bowl parties and say, "I'm just here for the commercials." But now, with the help of the internet, you don't even have to watch the game to stay in the loop about why all your co-workers keep saying "Wazzzzup??" to each other like idiots. So, to help you figure out which ones to watch, we went ahead and ranked all the new commercials -- leaving out PSA's, local spots, movie trailers, and old ones that popped up during the broadcast. Look out for those inevitable Budweiser Clydesdales!
When you're watching the Super Bowl, you don't want to think about constipation. Nobody told the makers of this painfully unfunny spot that tries to make the struggle of opioid-induced constipation feel whimsical. This ad only works if you close your eyes and imagine the wannabe Don Draper who pitched it.
No one wants to hear the words "urgent diarrhea" when you're chowing down on some buffalo wings. But no one really wants to see a pink intestine monster running to the bathroom to… what? Shit itself? Stop, Xifaxan. Just stop.
57. Church of Scientology
These guys, again? The Church of Scientology was back at this year's Super Bowl with another vague advertisement that feels like it could be for an electronics company or something. Maybe they should just take the next year -- or decade -- off.
56. SunTrust Banks
A few years ago, it became increasingly common to see Super Bowl ads that would go for a sense of grandeur by cutting between a bunch of different characters in disparate locations, all bathed in a sub-Terrence Malick glow. This SunTrust Banks ad is the epitome of that style. What does this ad make you think of? Smiles. Good times. Family. Banking? Not so much. But maybe that's the point.
Sorry, toes are gross; toenail fungus is even more disgusting. So, at the very least this commercial is as gross as its subject. But that's probably the nicest thing I can say about this generic spot starring a CGI toe that wears a robe and hat. Toes don't wear hats!
Each year Doritos hands out its ad to whoever wins its annual crowd-sourced ad contest, which seems like a great way to get around making a commercial yourself. This year's winner is all about… a fetus that really wants Doritos? Yikes.
The outdoor gear company gets intimate with this delicate portrait of friendship between a camper and his marmot. This one is actually sorta poignant, mostly due to the music by the Flight of the Concords, but the ending doesn't work. Like, why ruin a perfectly sweet commercial with some last minute gay panic humor?
This clip for Acura's new Acura NSX makes creative use of the vocal part of Van Halen's "Runnin' With The Devil," turning David Lee Roth's grunts, moans, and screams into the sounds of car-making. But, let's be honest: the "that's what he said" punchline doesn't really make that much sense. Is Diamond Dave trying to fuck this new Acura?
51. Quicken Loans
I don't know if it's a great idea to get a mortgage from your phone, but I do think it's a great idea to check out Battles, the math rock band that provides the music for this fairly simple spot. The song is called "Atlas" and it's from their debut album Mirrored from 2007. Not sure if it'll help sell mortgages, but it's a pretty awesome song.
SoFi gives loans to people that it considers "great." Or, at least, that's the premise of this slightly smug ad, which labels a bunch of people -- including a little kid -- as "not great." It's all a little too cute. Plus, there's a cheese grater joke that I found a little… grating. Ugh, sorry.
In this intense Hyundai spot, we see a couple frantically using their voice-activated start feature on their Elantra to get away from a couple of wild bears. The twist? The bears are actually talking bears and they seem a lot chiller than you might expect. Between this ad and The Revenant, this is shaping up to be a big year for bears.
The clydesdales are here -- but only for a few seconds! This beer ad really wants to remind you that Budweiser is a tough, no-nonsense product, using text, striking images, and thunderous music. At one point it says, "No ponies." But they also should have said, "Almost no clydesdales." Come on, guys. More horses next time.
Instead of going the super manly route, BMW's Mini brand goes for a more progressive approach in this celebrity-heavy ad. In this stylish spot, we're encouraged by Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, T-Pain, Randy Johnson, Tony Hawk and Harvey Keitel to "defy labels." It's a commercial that makes an argument for individuality, while also saying, "Hey, buy this car and you too can be an individual!"
Pandas can't use the internet, but people seem to love those Kung Fu Panda movies, so Wix.com has joined forces with the Jack Black voiced film franchise for this quick spot. I haven't seen any of the Kung Fu panda movies -- are they about web design? If so, sign me up.
WeatherTech makes car floor mats, which aren't the sexiest product in the world. Until I saw this commercial, which shines a light on the factory workers who make the product, I had never given any thought to a car floor mat. So, I suppose this ad is a success.
Brands really liked The Wolf of Wall Streettrailer, huh? This commercial does its best to make using PayPal seem like badass thing to do, like you're participating in some sort of revolutionary act by using the service.
Steve Harvey will never live down his Miss Universe fail. So, I guess it makes sense that T-Mobile recruited the forgetful comedian for this short ad. The only problem is that the internet culture moves so fast now that a "Steve Harvey reads the wrong name" joke feels old, like it happened a decade ago in meme-time.
This one feels pretty pander-y. You've got a bunch of cute dogs that really want Doritos, which can't be good for dogs, and then the big finale bit is "stacked-things-in-a-trench-coat" gag that wouldn't feel out of place in a Mutts cartoon. Try harder, chip commercial!
Advil edits together a bunch of found footage for this fast-moving, slightly disorienting ad. You've got guys spinning on their heads, people lifting weights, break-dancers, yoga, and a saxophone player. It'll probably make you reach for an Advil.
40. Persil Detergent
You know when you show up to a party and everyone is super dressed up and you're wearing a t-shirt you bought at the Gap. That's what this commercial must've felt like -- even though the guy in the ad is wearing a tuxedo. Persil only had 15 seconds, but even in that short time frame this formulaic spot doesn't really leave much of an impression.
This Bai commercial isn't particularly funny. You've got a guy talking tough in front of a bunch of horses. The healthy drink has the tagline, "None of this makes sense," which really just seems like a cop-out for, "We can't figure out how to sell this drink."
38. Michelob ULTRA
It's always awkward when beer companies try to force a connection between alcohol and fitness. Everyone knows pounding an adult beverage and deadlifting is a good way to end up in the hospital. And, yet, we've got this vaguely sexual heavy-breathing spot for Michelob Ultra, which mostly made me feel tired.
Did you know that Willem Dafoe is actually Marilyn Monroe? At least, that's the premise of this ad that asserts the friendly face you remember from Antichrist can transform into the blonde bombshell if you simply give him a Snickers. Who would he transform into if you gave him a Heath bar? A Twix? Mike and Ike's? The possibilities are endless.
36. Mobile Strike
Shouldn't a mobile game want to team up with a younger celebrity? Look, I have nothing but love for Arnold, but this ad felt a little off. Was Jason Statham busy?
In the ongoing war between cats and dogs, the little pups are inarguably winning the battle for your attention during the Super Bowl. This ad for the condiment empire showcases a bunch of cute canines stampeding through a field dressed as -- you guessed it -- hot dogs! They're on their way to meet human owners dressed like ketchup and, er, wait, what? Are these dogs going to be eaten? This is a weird ad.
34. Dollar Shave Club
Not the best razor commercial of the night, but still a worthy entry in the "inanimate object starts talking to you in the shower" genre. I wish the razor wasn't so creepy but, I mean, he is a dirty razor.
The second Jeep spot of the night goes for the swagger-filled globe-trotting approach. It's pleasant enough, but it's hard to stand out when so many other commercials use the same tactics. How many tightly edited montages of attractive people overcoming obstacles do we really need?
Odell Beckham Jr. and Emily Ratajkowski team up for this playful ad that you probably didn't get if you don't watch football. But, if you get the gag, it works.
The normally bro-tastic body spray tries to get inspirational for this spot, and it almost works. Does it feel a little disingenuous coming from the people who also made ads like this? Of course it does. But the "magic" spot has some energy and personality to it, which is better than most of the listless montage-heavy ads this evening.
It's hard to make the Prius seem cool. This clip at least acknowledges the fact by having a nerdy guy sing a hair-metal song about the badass virtues of the perpetually unhip car. It's pretty silly, but at least the ad commits to the premise. And there's a keytar. Everyone loves a keytar!
29. Mountain Dew
Memes have made us prisoners of our own desires. There's no better proof of that than this funny but also disturbing ad for Mountain Dew's caffeinated juice Kickstart. By combining a puppy, a monkey, and a baby into the Cronenberg-ian puppy-monkey-baby, this ad is clearly aiming for your Tumblr dashboard.
The new campaign from Skittles wants you to "Rock the rainbow," so it's no surprise that the candy brand teamed up with Steven Tyler, Aerosmith's legendary rock god. But does the commercial actually rock? Eh, there's actually more stuff about a painting made of Skittles than, you know, rock star behavior.
Cute animals are one of the easiest ways for brands to win you over during the big game -- but what's more charming than a cute animal? A singing cute animal. In this spot for Honda's new Ridgeline, which features a truck bed audio system, we see a bunch of sheep singing "Someone To Love" while their owner drives away in his truck. It's like Babe meets Wayne's World. So, you know, objectively good.
The Ramone's "Blitzkrieg Bop" goes for a ride in this adventurous GoPro ad, which edits together a bunch of footage that was presumably created by people using GoPro's as they did things like ski, dive into water, and hang out with a bear. Again, this is a big year for bears.
25. LG Electronics
The future looks a lot like Tron in this ad for LG's G6 OLED TV. Taken star Liam Neeson delivers some very Morpheus-like exposition before we get launched into a motorcyle-filled, CGI world of black screens and flashing yellow lights. In the perfect retro-futuristic twist, this spot was directed by Jake Scott, the son of Ridley Scott who brought us the classic 1984 Apple clip during Super Bowl XVIII.
FitBit gets physical in this spot, which makes good use of "Little Demon" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. It's a quick, tightly edited spot that has a couple decent gags and gives you a sense of what FitBit's are for. Not the cleverest or showiest ad out there, but, like a nice morning jog, effective enough.
If you weren't already exhausted by Drake's near constant cultural presence, prepare yourself for new levels of Aubrey Graham fatigue. This quick clip from the phone giant finds the 6 God dancing in the same colorful box and sweater-combo he rocked in the "Hotline Bling" video, but instead of moping all by his lonesome, he's joined by a team of pencil-pushers, giving him annoying notes on the song. It's a clever enough spot, but it's got nothing on those robo-Drake Sprite ads.
If they can't make you laugh, most Super Bowl commercials want to make you cry. Hoping to open up your heart and your wallet, Audi gets super sentimental in this odd clip about a retired astronaut who has space-flashbacks while going for a joy ride in his son's shiny car. To take things to the next tear-jerking level, what song plays over the whole thing? David Bowie's "Starman." Ah, thanks commercial. I will now call my dad and buy a car!
21. Taco Bell
Taco Bell is all about creating new food to test your stomach lining, and their newest concoction, the "Quesalupa," exists in the same tradition. This is a quick, clever spot with some fun, bizarre jokes -- who would've thought a Taco Bell ad would have a shout-out to drones? This would be higher on the list if the Quesalupa didn't look so, uh, terrifying.
Marvel joined forces with Coke for this humorous, action-filled spot, which ends with a sweet meetup between the very tiny Ant-Man and the much bigger Hulk. What do these two have in common? They both love Coke. What a coincidence!
If you have to do the "classy" nostalgia angle, I guess this is the way to do it. By aligning itself with a bunch of black-and-white photos and some somber piano music, along with some crisp copy, Jeep gets to seem like more than a car. It seems like a noble hero! Of course, it's just a car, but the commercial moves fast enough that you might not realize that.
Over-protective dad following his daughter on a date is a pretty tired trope at this point -- it was played out when they did it on Hogan Knows Best -- but Kevin Hart's mugging almost saves this one. And, the helicopter gag is a fun twist on a familiar joke.
As far as candy bars go, Butterfinger doesn't really scream "bold." But this ad did its best to convince you that the crunchy snack is the go-to-treat for risk-takers and thrill-junkies. You've got a cowboy jumping out of a plane on a cow. Yep, pretty bold.
16. Bud Light
This heavily-hyped political campaign spoof features comedy mega-stars Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer, but who ends up stealing the show? The stars of Ant-Man. Both Paul Rudd and Michael Peña make brief, funny cameos in the spot, which also includes an always welcome Independence Day shout-out. It's the ideal antidote to your post-Iowa caucus blues.
In this Hyunda spot, we get an argument against individuality: what if everyone in a town looked like Ryan Reynolds? The erstwhile Van Wilder actor rides a bike, tackles himself in a game of touch football, and walks a giant pack of dogs in this spot that imagines an entire town stacked with Deadpools. Two women drive through the town and seem pretty convinced to stay. Your mileage may vary.
Squarespace: not just making podcast ads anymore! The web company makes the jump to the big time with this Key and Peele featuring spot which finds the pair pursuing their dreams of becoming sports announcers. It's pretty funny, but where's Keanu?
What was the first Super Bowl ad of the year to show up online? Was it something from Budweiser? Maybe something from Pepsi, the half-time sponsor? A car company? Nope. It was an ad with Charizard in it. This surprisingly cinematic clip, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the long-running fighting creature franchise, is filled with pounding drums, kids discovering hidden abilities, and, yes, some Pokémon. Though, sadly, no detective Pikachu. Maybe next year.
Nobody brings the gravitas like Helen Mirren. So, it only makes sense that Budweiser tapped the Oscar-winning actress for this stern but still fun warning against the dangers of drunk-driving. In the increasingly popular "ads that make a big show about sending a positive message" genre, this one isn't particularly egregious. Who wouldn't want to hear some real talk from, as she describes herself, "a notorious frank and uncensored British lady?"
Alec Baldwin can pitch anything. This spot finds the 30 Rock actor trying to sell you Amazon's Echo, which seems like a combination between a Beats By Dr. Dre Pill and Siri. The whole thing takes place at a party where Dan Marino, Jason Schwartzman, and Missy Elliott are hanging out. As a commercial, it's fine, but these four should get more time together. I'd watch them in a Wes Anderson movie.
What if your razor is actually a killer robot? That's the premise of this slick, clever ad about a razor that does battle with the other less cool razor in your bathroom. It really makes you think about what your other toiletries could be hiding. LIke, what's up with toothbrushes? They look suspicious.
Who would have thought that a toothpaste company could get somber? This quick 30-second spot finds the hygiene superpower using their very expensive Super Bowl spot to tell you to turn off the damn faucet already. They've certainly come a long way from shaming kindergarten teachers for having bad teeth.
8. Shock Top
Silicon Valley star T.J. Miller seems like a nice guy, so it's odd that the Shock Top beer logo spends this whole spot firing insults at him. Miller gets a few decent jabs of his own -- that sun logo really does look like a "citrus snowboard instructor" -- but the talking logo ends up getting the last word in. The lesson here: never trade barbs with a talking beer logo.
If you think the second season of The Wire is underrated, this might've been your favorite ad of the night. In it, Pablo Schreiber (Nick Sobotka) and Chris Bauer (Frank Sobotka) play a couple bank robbers getting away in a Prius. It's action-packed and, unlike season two of The Wire, it doesn't have a tragic ending!
Sometimes the best ads are really simple. Here we've got the great Janelle Monáe doing her retro-futuristic thing by dancing her way through different musical eras, including a stop in the '80s to sing Madonna's "Express Yourself" -- and rocking some cool outfits. No gags, no pile-up of celebrity cameos, and no cute animals. Just a talented performer doing her thing and endorsing a caffeinated beverage.
Sir Anthony Hopkins sells out in this self-aware TurboTax ad that basically uses the same schtick Wayne's World did back in 1992. In fact, it's strange to see an ad in a modern Super Bowl that's built on the concept of "selling out." Most commercials don't even bother to be defensive about using actors, musicians, and other artists to sell products anymore.
Software company Intuit typically gives up its highly coveted Super Bowl spot to the winner of its annual "Small Business, Big Game" contest, and the winner this year is New York startup Death Wish Coffee. The clip is pretty strong -- short, clever and to the point -- but is it as strong as the company's coffee, which claims to be the world's strongest? You be the judge.
3. Avocados From Mexico
Maybe you remember the funny "First Draft Ever" ad from last year's Super Bowl? Well, the company behind that one, Avocados From Mexico, is back with a clip that attempts to wring humor from the internet by having goofy-looking aliens crack jokes about emojis, that black and gold dress, and… Scott Baio? OK, that last one doesn't fit as well, but the ad is pretty entertaining.
Writers love puns -- or, at the very least, we know the people who wrote this ad for Kia love puns. In it, we see an agreeable looking guy walk into his "walk-in" closet and discover character actor extraordinaire Christopher Walken! What does any of this have to do with a car? Hard to say. But if you don't at least smile when you see this dancing genius? Well, take a walk-en! (Did I do that right?)
Now this is how you make a celebrity-based ad. First, cast someone super charming like Jeff Goldblum. Next, have him do something fun like play a piano and sing a song. Finally, throw in Lil Wayne and George Washington for a sly reference to The Jeffersons. Does it feel gimmicky and silly? Of course. But this is the Super Bowl. Save the subtlety for PBS.
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