As a whole, this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials turned out to be more disappointing than the game itself (at least from a non-blowout standpoint).
With the amount of cash spent on these thirty-second ads (an average of $4 million dollars per 30-second commercial), you’d think these companies would produce top-notch entertainment, but most stunk worse than an offensive guard’s socks.
But at any rate, there were some winners out there; here are my top ten choices with grades and commentary:
10. Wonderful Pistachios With Stephen Colbert B-
Lots of people love Stephen Colbert. I’m not much of a fan, but I can admit he’s a funny dude. For this commercial, the ad writers went the Old Spice route with lots of absurdity… but for me, it wasn’t absurd enough.
However, I do like the ending when Colbert splits his head open; partially because this was one of the only over-the-top, silly commercials offered on this day.
9. Godaddy Bodybuilder Spray Tan B
This commercial was intriguing and it had my attention from the start. Watching a gaggle of muscle-bound folks jogging down the street definitely peaks the viewers’ curiosity. And the spray tan payoff was worth a laugh.
But seeing Danica Patrick as a pumped-up woman was weirder than seeing her actually win a car race. Ouch.
What surprised me is this is a Go Daddy commercial. They left their typical ‘sexy woman formula’ for something different, and although I liked it, I do miss Danica Patrick and her beautiful, scantily clad friends.
8. Volkswagen: Wings & Rainbows B
I admit—this is a clever commercial. Volkswagen does a great job of getting the point across (having the most cars on the road with 100,000+ miles) while also having an entertaining ad.
The restroom ‘wing comparison’ along with some of the other silly moments earned a few chuckles and a spot on this list.
7. Diet Mountain Dew ‘Dale Call’ B
This commercial was ridiculous, but it had me laughing. For one, the idea of a ‘Dale Call’ is downright clever. And having Dale Earnhardt Jr. spinning tire to scare out the ducks is entertaining to watch.
This is one of those commercials that has absolutely nothing to do with the product but is entertaining nonetheless.
6. RadioShack: The 1980s B
What I like about this commercial is it’s nostalgia at its finest.
As a child of the 1980s, I can appreciate what RadioShack has done—it brought back my favorite people and characters of my favorite decade. And this commercial does touch on the company’s message—that RadioShack stores have been updated. It’s an entertaining commercial—not great—but decent.
And I like the character choices—especially Hulk Hugan, Cliff (from Cheers) Jason Voorhees, Q-Bert and Slimer.
5. Terry Crews and the Muppets B
When you have Terry Crews in a commercial, you expect a lot of hilarity. After all, the guy absolutely OWNS the Old Spice ads he stars in. But having him play the serious guy in a Toyota commercial just doesn’t feel right.
Yet this ad ranks high on this list in part because I love my Toyota and because this commercial is chalk full of Muppets.
It’s a feel-good commercial that brings me back to a time when I didn’t have to pay bills and deal with bullshit. Ah, memories….
4. Ellen’s Fairy Tale B+
Ellen DeGeneres is a cool lady—she’s her own person and she tends to be very quirky. I think most people like her, which makes her a great choice for a commercial role.
Aside from a dancing Ellen, I also love the cool-ass animals in this ad.
And dancing with clothed animals looks fun as hell; this commercial definitely struck a childhood fairytale chord with a modern spin and I find the Goldilocks angle to be clever.
3. Tim Tebow—No Contract A
Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl play might have been dismal, but Denver’s former quarterback, Tim Tebow, had a great Sunday performance .
Tebow is one of those guys people either love or hate; but he absolutely nailed his two commercials while poking fun at the fact no NFL team signed him this year.
Aside from being entertaining, the commercial successfully presents a message—T-Mobile doesn’t make you sign a contract. I got it. Good job, commercial writers!
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger Playing Table Tennis: An Epic Adventure A
It’s tough to make a great beer commercial. After all—it’s against the law for a beer company to picture a person actually drinking their product in an ad.
Yet Bud Light has created a masterful commercial. It takes a random guy named Ian and puts him in a ridiculously humorous—yet awesome—situation.
The idea so over the top and although it has nothing to do with the beer itself, it’s a winner as far as entertainment goes; yet I can hardly remember which beer company made the commercial (despite the ending where the narrator states “Bud Light is the perfect beer for whatever happens.”
I also enjoy the idea of watching a guy who goes to a bar alone—it begins as an uneventful evening and it turns into a night he’ll never forget.
1. A Hero’s Welcome A+
This is far and away my favorite commercial of Super Bowl 2014. Ever since I can remember, members of our U.S. Military have been showcased at The Super Bowl—whether on the field prior to kickoff or through a broadcast clip of our troops watching the game as they’re stationed across the globe.
We owe our freedom to these guys and gals, so remembering (and appreciating) them on this day of celebration is something all of us should do, which is why I love this commercial.
I enjoy the visuals and the little touches we see—Lieutenant Nadd’s mom in the crowd waving the U.S. flag, older military veterans cheering for him, and also I like the ‘small town America’ vibe we experience.
There’s no doubt this commercial choked up a lot of viewers. I only wish all members of our armed services could have a welcome home party similar to Lieutenant Nadd’s.
Well, that’s my list! I hope you enjoyed the experience. And until next year’s Super Bowl, stay safe and be healthy!