Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials – 2014

Welcome to the eighth annual T Dog Media Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials review. The ads were featured in Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, televised by Fox for the seventh time in its history.

This was a more subdued presentation this time around, with puppies, Army heroes, and classic TV reunions as opposed to naked men sliding out of windows, acts of violence, and farting horses in the past.

Here’s are the five best and five worst ads, picked by yours truly. To see the ad, click on its title.

Ads too good to be skipped with a DVR

1. Radioshack, “The Phone Call.” Remember the days when Radio Shack sold those Tandy Computers and those cordless phones? Well, a bunch of ’80’s icons wanted those things back in a very effective and amusing ad (too bad they didn’t use the retro logo.)

2. T-Mobile-Time Tebow Ads. Former NFL QB Tim Tebow mocks himself in these surprisingly amusing ads. You can view them here and here.

3. Cheerios, “Gracie.” This ad caused controversy because it featured an interracial couple and a biracial daughter (get over it, this is 2014.) It’s a cute ad featuring Gracie finding out she’s going to have a baby brother – and getting a puppy.

4. Budweiser, “Hero’s Welcome.” A real sweet, touching ad featuring a soldier coming home to a hero’s welcome. Now let’s party!

5. Dannon Oikos, “The Spill.” John Stamos nearly has sex while eating yogurt with a woman, and guess who barges in? Danny and Uncle Joey from Full House! (Or that guy who used to host that Funniest Home Videos show and Alanis Morisette’s ex, who alledgly wrote a song about him.)

Honorable Entry:

Met Life, “National Anthem” (featuring the Peanuts gang.) The ad wasn’t included here because it aired before the Super Bowl started. But what a great way to welcome viewers to the game with Schroeder playing the national anthem.

Another Honorable Entry: 

Jamie Casino, Injury Lawyer: “Casino’s Law”. This was actually a local ad airing over Fox affiliate WTGS in Savannah during the Super Bowl, but this has to be the most awesome commercial ever – would easily finish first had this been a national ad.  And it’s touching, too.

Other Honorable Mentions: M&Ms (Delivery), GoDaddy (The Epic Quit), Beats (The Right Music, with Ellen DeGeneres)

Get these ads off my DVR!

1. Heinz, “Hum”. Happiness is Heinz? Sorry, the Happiness Is… business is operated by the schulz estate. How about bringing back the ad with Matt LeBlanc while “Jane’s Getting Serious” playing in the background – even if its putting ketchup on a hot dog?

2. H&M, “Undercovered”. Judging by all those tattoos, does David Beckham play soccer or for the NBA?

3. Any Doritos Ad. A Time Machine, a child riding a dog? Oh Ali Laundry, where have you gone?

4. Squarespace, “A Better Ad Awaits.” No it doesn’t. At least not this one.

5. Carmax, “Slow Clap.” What’s the deal with this ad? Your watching to see whether or not the people standing around would break out in applause. Pointless, just as much as CarMax is.

Most disappointing: Goes to a pair of Bud Light commercials. You expect a night on the town and you ride in a limo – only to find your playing ping-pong with a former Governor of California.

Entries that also stunk: Audi (Doberhuahua); Intuit Quickenbooks (Come On Bring The Toys), TurboTax (Love Hurts)

Halftime Show: Bruno Mars took the stage in the Super Bowl Halftime Show with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Unlike the forgettable performances over the last few years (The Who, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Black Eyed Peas), Mars rocked it on stage in a memorable, Grammy-like performance. And yours truly wasn’t a Bruno Mars fan.

Other Thoughts: Overall, Fox presented a rather impressive production, as opposed to CBS’ lackluster one last year. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were on their game and the post-game ceremony didn’t drag on, enabling Fox to start Super Bowl lead-out New Girl only 20 minutes late. The Declaration Of Independence reading was just outstanding, and NBC and CBS should follow Fox’s lead on this when they air future Super Bowls.

On the downside was a crass attempt to inject politics on a day to celebrate football, with Bill O’Reilly interviewing President Obama, in a segment live at the White House.

How intense was this interview? There would be less tension if you put Omorosa and Bethenny Frankel in the same room.

No doubt this was ordered from the top by 21st Century Fox head Rupert Murdoch. The interview could have aired anywhere else on the schedule or on Fox News. I hate it when they mix politics with football coverage. Shame on Fox for this ridiculous stunt.

Further reading/viewing:

– For the 26th consecutive year, USA Today monitored Super Bowl ads through its Ad Meter, which is topped generally by animals and kids every year. Quality not exactly a prerequisite to win here.

– For the eighth consecutive year in the row, YouTube is rating the ads with its Super Bowl Ad Blitz, where you can vote for your favorite. Voting ends next Monday.

– Ad Age has a review of every Super Bowl ad, ranked from a half-a-star to four.

– Looking for a local perspective? The Chicago Sun-Times Lori Rackl and Chicago Business Journal’s Lewis Lazare have their thoughts.

– Finally, if you’re looking for past Super Bowl Ad reviews from T Dog Media dating back to 2007, I’m got ’em all in one place – click here.