Commercials and the game itself fall flat
In common lore, thirteen is considered an “unlucky” number.
Well, the thirteenth edition of T Dog Media’s Super Bowl Commercial roundup certainly hit the sour spot as most of the ads in this game were bland, stupid, boring, and awful – just like the game itself, as the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams played amazingly bad football for almost the entire game – punts and dropped passes, in all.
In fact, this entire Super Bowl was unlucky as many viewers planned not to tune in for one reason (Colin Kapernick being blackballed from the NFL) or another (New Orleans and St. Louis’ fans objections to the Rams advancing to the Super Bowl.)
Sadly, some of the brands with recent entertaining Super Bowl Commercials – particularly Tide and Mountain Dew – were not in this year’s big game, and their presence were sorely missed.
A common theme in this year’s ads were robots and technology – and at times, how much we can make fun of them for not enjoying things humans do (prevalent in THREE ads, from Pringles, TurboTax, and Michelob.) Based on these ads, I expect an upcoming robot uprising soon to doom us all. Maybe they can take out the Sprint guy first.
As there were so many bad Super Bowl ads this year, the number of Best Super Bowl ads were cut to eight. Promos and movie trailers do not count, and some of the videos on this page could soon become unavailable, so you might see gray boxes if you come across this article in the future.
I had a hard time selecting eight good ones, let alone ten. But here goes:
1. Washington Post, “Democracy Dies In Darkness”. This spot hands down was the winner. It reminds us without journalism, democracy does indeed die in darkness – especially given who is currently in The White House.
2. Verizon, “The Coach Who Wouldn’t Be Here”. Touching ad reminds us how important first responders are in our lives. Features Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who was saved by a first responder after an automobile accident in 2005.
3. NFL, “The 100-Year Game”. Well-received, awesome commercial featuring NFL Players – past and present doing what they do best at a gala. Of note is this commercial had the highest score in USA Today’s Ad Meter.
4. Bud Light/HBO “Joust”. This was an unique twist on an ad – selling Bud Light and cross-promoting the new season of Game of Thrones. Clever on HBO’s part given the premium channel doesn’t sell advertising.
5. Olay, “Killer Skin”. Sarah Michelle Gellar in an funny ad parodying all those scary movies she was in.
6. Amazon Alexa, “Not Everything Makes The Cut”. Some Alexa ideas aren’t good ones, like Harrison Ford’s dog ordering 200 pounds worth of dog food or someone getting blasted out of a hot tub.
7. Hyundai, “The Elevator”. Jason Bateman as a elevator operator. if you look closely, one stop on the elevator tour was to Judge Judy’s courtroom. And the person who arrived on “The Talk’s” floor was actually relived it wasn’t the set of the CBS daytime talk show.
8. Burger King “Eat Like Andy”. Andy Warhol eats a Whopper, a real-life excerpt from an 1981 art film. Clever ad, but it ranked at the bottom of USA Today’s Ad Meter.
Where to begin? As I noted above, this was not the best year for Super Bowl ads. As a result, I’ve expanded this section also to eight. And they are (click on link to watch):
1. Devour, “Food Porn”. Yes, it’s another “hipster boyfriend” ad, featuring a guy who is addicted to terrible TV dinners. His intervention is Wednesday night at Jenny Craig.
2. MintMobile “Chunky Style Milk”. We’re unfortunate Susan from Seinfeld was nowhere nearby as a family was downing expired milk if it were Long Island Iced Teas.
3. TurboTaxLive “Robochild”. Imagine if a Hollywood producer developed a sitcom around this creepy robot girl. They can name it…oh, I don’t know, Small Wonder.
4. Stella Arotis “Change Up The Usual”. I never watched a minute of Sex In The City so I’m not familiar with The Dude. But the Most Interesting Man In The World was there, sitting next to The Guy.
5. Audi, “Cashew”. Guy dreams he’s inherited an Audi but wakes up choking on a cashew in his office cubicle, where we all want to be in life.
6. Bud Light, “Special Delivery”. This commercial caused quite a stir as Bud Light accused rivals Miller Lite and Coors Light of using corn syrup in their product. Oddly enough, Anheuser-Busch does use corn syrup in its other beers., including…Budweiser. Also: Miller Lite and Coors Light are made by the same freaking company.
.@BudLight America’s corn farmers are disappointed in you. Our office is right down the road! We would love to discuss with you the many benefits of corn! Thanks @MillerLight and @CoorsLite for supporting our industry. https://t.co/6fIWtRdeeM
— National Corn (NCGA) (@NationalCorn) February 4, 2019
7. Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer, “The Pitch”. I don’t know what the heck this was. Do you?
8. ADT, “Trust The Pros”. The ad was forgettable, but more interesting was CBS-owned WBBM-TV’s local newscast hours later profiling several angry customers who were ripped off by an ADT dealer. To have a awful Super Bowl Ad AND get slammed for deceptive practices on the local news the same night isn’t exactly winning.
On a local note, not one Chicago mayoral candidate bought adtime during the game. While it is a missed opportunity for them (too expensive?), it’s relief for Chicagoland TV viewers already suffering through the commercials and an even worse game. And Advocate Health Care’s new campaign ripping off The Partridge Family theme song would top this worst list if it ran nationally. Let’s all get healthy by joining Andy at Burger King and downing a couple of Whoppers.
This year’s halftime show featured Maroon 5, performing with Big Boi and Travis Scott. As you probably know, several African-American performers turned down invitations to perform due to the NFL’s alleged collusion against Kapernick, who hasn’t played in the league since 2016 due to his decision to kneel during the national anthem. Many also felt the show missed an opportunity to celebrate Atlanta’s rich musical heritage.
Predictably, Maroon 5 – the band everyone pegs as “safe and non-threatening” – fell flat on the stage, performing hits no one wants to hear anymore (Harder to Breathe, Moves Like Jagger, etc.), while Big Boi and Travis Scott added nothing to the presentation and neither did an odd placement of an animated SpongeBob Squarepants cameo.
Everyone seemed to agree as social media users panned the halftime show and the Tribune’s Greg Kot gave it one of the harshest reviews I can remember outside of Nipplegate. It might be time for the NFL to finally retire this concept as this gimmick has broken no new ground in the last few years.
Eric Deggans of NPR gives his take on the Super Bowl ads here.
Ad Age also reviews all the Super Bowl ads, and you can see more here.
As I noted at the top of this article, this is the thirteenth consecutive year T Dog Media has done a Super Bowl Commercial roundup. For past reviews dating back to 2007, click here (older videos posted in those reviews may no longer be available.)