It cost around $5.6 million for a 30 second spot at the Super Bowl this year! That’s up from last year, as usual. The game was certainly tight enough to keep people tuned in through most of it. (I am not a football person and wasn’t rooting for anyone, but I was happy for Kansas City – spoilers.) My favorite commercials were the funny ones from Tide Pods and from Doritos. Hyundai also had a clever ad that made me want that car. Honorable mention is Reese’s Take 5 bar. The worst ads were the schmaltzy, emotionally manipulative ones from Verizon but the best emotional ads focused on one person’s story, like the ads from Kia and Microsoft. Some commercials crammed so much into one spot it was hard to know what to pay attention to, those included the Hard Rock Cafe, Heinz and Proctor and Gamble. Here are most of the commercials minus the movie trailers and political ads. I’ve included the ones I didn’t feature here as links at the end.
Tide Pods featuring Charlie Day
Charlie Day got a Buffalo wings handprint on his shirt during the Super Bowl. His girlfriend (not his real one, he’s married to Mary Elizabeth Ellis, also from Always Sunny) tells him he can take care of it later and he keeps asking when that is. The first slot would be a more effective commercial if the product was featured earlier. I thought it was a beer commercial until the end. It turns out there was a Bud Light Commercial crossover, as shown in a later ad where Charlie went to the middle ages and got mocked for his stained shirt. After Halftime they had a Wonder Woman 1984 crossover ad which was genius! Plus there was a Masked Singer crossover and an ad where Charlie and his girlfriend were both old. This must have cost a fortune but it made me think that Tide gets out baked-in stains.
Rocket Mortgage featuring skinny bald Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa dodges paparazzi to get to his house in the Hollywood Hills, where he takes off his muscles, six pack and hair to reveal a really skinny old-looking hippie guy. It’s still him, just without his key features. The best part is the end where he struggles to do one bench press with an empty bar, held by Lisa Bonet.
Mountain Dew Zero featuring Bryan Cranston as Jack Torrance in The Shining
Bryan Cranston and Tracee Ellis Ross star in this commercial for Mountain Dew Zero, which I’m only learning about now and want to try. It’s a simple concept, he’s Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining and she’s Shelley Duvall, and it works. The best part is the end where Bryan is the evil ghost twins. Mountain Dew Zero just came out earlier this month.
Squarespace featuring Winona Ryder in Winona
Squarespace puts Winona Ryder in Winona, Minnesota in a commercial that feels straight out of a Coen brother’s movie. She tries to build a website in the snow and it’s all very chill, for lack of a better word. Plus it makes website building seem so easy you can do it in a snowback. This is all quite on brand for Winona, I don’t know about the town.
Hyundai Sonata Smaht Park with Chris Evans, John Krasinski and Rachel Dratch
Hyundai got three celebrities from Boston to put on their hometown accents and exclaim how awesome their new car is. After seeing the car park itself into a tight space without anyone in the driver’s seat I want one now. It’s a “Ghost Cahr!” There’s even a bonus appearance by David Ortiz of the Red Sox at the end.
Cheetos popcorn with MC Hammer
We already saw MC Hammer’s origin story for Cheetos Popcorn, which involved the inspiration for his hit “Can’t Touch This.” In this commercial he’s popping up to explain why a guy with Cheetos popcorn dust can’t help anyone who needs a hand.
Olay Make Space for Women
Katie Couric, Taraji P Henson, Busy Philipps, Lilly Singh and real astronaut Nicole Stott star in this space-themed ad for Olay. The concept is whether women belong in space, and Olay is donating a dollar to Girls Who Code for every tweet with the hashtag #MakeSpaceforWomen, up to $500,000. It’s a decent idea, but it seems a little muddied. It’s basic feminism, repackaged for marketing.
Avocados from Mexico featuring Molly Ringwald
The Avocado lobby (is that what this is) usually puts out an inventive Super Bowl ad. This year it’s a cute concept about buying accessories for your avocado like its a baby or pet. This is so clever and it’s not even that bizarre.
Hard Rock Cafe featuring Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo’s bling cup gets stolen from the top of the Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas by DJ Khaled rappelling off the building in an Alex Rodriguez mask covered by another black mask. It’s a very weird heist commercial with a bunch of celebrities in it. This was directed by Michael Bay, which is why it makes about as much sense as his movies.
Pringles featuring Rick and Morty
I don’t know if anyone except Rick and Morty fans would realize that this bonkers Pringles ad is pretty typical for that show. If you’ve seen Rick and Morty you might get the fact that it’s an ad for their new flavors, otherwise you might get lost in all the robot clones. I can’t remember what the new flavors are exactly.
Genesis featuring Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend star in this commercial for a car brand I’ve never heard of called Genesis. They pull up at a fancy party and Chrissy introduces us to all the partygoer stereotypes, implying that they’re about to break the mold. Then John pulls up in the car and I wonder what the hype is about.
Coke Energy featuring Jonah Hill and Martin Scorsese
In this relatable ad Martin Scorsese texts Jonah Hill to come to a party as Jonah just looks tired on the couch. It becomes a thing, with the world watching the ellipses on Scorsese’s phone until Jonah the new coke energy drink. This makes me glad I have an Android now.
Planters announced that their original ad, featuring Mr. Peanut sacrificing himself for his friends
Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes, would not air in the wake of Kobe’s death. Instead they featured this ad in which other commercial icons, including Mr. Clean and The Kool Aid man, attend his funeral. The Kool Aid Man’s tears create a baby Mr. Peanut, he’s adorable and he pranks everyone by talking dolphin. Someone noticed the publicity Baby Yoda has been getting.
Google tugs at the heartstrings with a guy googling “how to not forget” and getting shown photos of his departed wife. He tells Google what he wants to remember about her and it’s full of little details like her favorite flower and trips they took together. At the end some home movies play and it’s too much. I want Google to remind me to water the plants, not hold all my precious memories. That’s what all those bits of paper spread out over three shoeboxes are for.
WeatherTech Lucky Dog
The beautiful golden retriever, Scout, from last year’s WeatherTech commercial puts in a plug for the veterinary program at the University of Wisconsin that saved his life last July by removing a tumor from his heart. WeatherTech, which creates car accessories, is barely plugged and it’s all about Scout’s true story. They have a whole background video on Scott’s tumor and treatment if you’re interested. Scout got chemo and radiation at the University of Wisconsin and WeatherTech is raising money through this commercial to further cancer research there and fun other pets’ treatments.
Walmart United Towns
Walmart has some nerve running this commercial given how they’ve changed the landscape of America. That’s all I’m going to say about that. AliceInBlunderland on Twitter said: They should’ve shown clips of all the boarded up Mom and Pop stores they’ve forced out of business by entering these small towns.”
Sodastream don’t drink the Mars water
I thought this was another Olay ad at first, but it was for Sodastream. Water is discovered on Mars and a clueless astronaut uses a Sodastream to make it into seltzer. If they have a follow up ad where an alien comes out of his butt or stomach that would be genius, but as is it’s just ok.
Pepsi Zero featuring H.E.R and Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott and H.E.R star in this rocking ad for Pepsi Zero Sugar, which is apparently the new name for Diet Pepsi Max. I love the music, but as someone who drank Diet Pepsi up until they switched to sucralose, they screwed themselves by changing the formula. Also Coke Zero is the best and it’s not full of caffeine like Pepsi Zero. Thank you for coming to my diet soda TedX Talk.
Heinz find the goodness
In this ad featuring four panels, people go to very weird and uncomfortable places, all to feel comfortable when Heinz is served. I would like this, but I don’t know which quadrant of the ad to focus on.
Bud Light Seltzer PostyStore featuring Post Malone
Post Malone goes into a store and we get a very weird look into his brain, controlled by 1970s technology and a team of people with tattoos on their faces. They’re arguing in his brain whether he should buy the new Budweiser Seltzer or a regular case of Bud Light. He ends up wrecking the place and it’s weird. There’s also a version in a bar. Honestly I love seltzer and the boozy seltzer came out after I quit drinking, so sometimes these ads are hard for me to watch.
Doritos featuring Sam Elliott and Lil Nas X
This Doritos ad is my pick for the best ad of the Super Bowl! Sam Elliott and Lil Nas X have a dance off instead of a shoot out in the Wild West. The winner gets a bag of Doritos. I laughed out loud a few times. This would be even better if Sam Elliott’s dancing was real instead of CGI. I wish Doritos had splurged on a series of ads like Tide. They did have awesome bonus clips online like this one of Sam Elliott walking into a bar and reciting lines from Old Town Road.
Kia featuring Josh Jacobs
I didn’t know the story of Josh Jacobs, the running back for the Raiders who grew up homeless. He gives his younger self a ride and tells him that life will be hard but to push himself. This commercial is great because it’s moving and simple but doesn’t lay it on too thick.
Reese’s Take 5
In this goofy ad, an office worker uses common sayings to wonder why a coworker has never heard of Reese’s Take 5 bar, which has been around since 2004 apparently. I’ve never heard of it. We see different scenarios played out in the office, like “raised by wolves,” “from another planet,” and “head in the sand.” She never says the last saying, but it’s pretty clear what it is.
Alexa featuring Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres asks her partner Portia what people did before Alexa and it involves scenes of incompetent servants, bad entertainment and peasants giving incorrect facts. The minute Ellen said “What do you think people did before Alexa” it should have stopped whatever it was doing and lit up. You can’t just talk about it without using a code word. We call it “the device” in our house.
Michelob Ultra featuring Jimmy Fallon and John Cena
Jimmy Fallon gets shown the fun side of fitness by workout buddy John Cena in this Michelob Ultra commercial featuring The Roots and sports stars Usain Bolt, Brooks Koepka, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat. It’s cute, entertaining and fast-paced.
Toyota Highlander featuring Cobie Smulders
Cobie rescues people stranded in various doomsday scenarios in her Toyota SUV, ending up with her teenager outside a rainy movie theater. This is cute and kept me entertained.
T-Mobile featuring Anthony Anderson and his mom
Anthony had his mom switch from Verizon to T-Mobile and she calls him from everywhere, including the movies to see if it works. The best part is when she calls him from the club when he’s home in bed.
Budweiser: typical Americans
Budweiser shows so many inspiring scenes of diversity, heroism, dissent, and general awesomeness, all with a cynical voiceover. They show people from all walks of life and backgrounds and you come away thinking Budweiser is one of the good guys and that they’re trying to be on the right side of history.
Proctor and Gamble featuring Sofia Vergara and so many brands
This ad is a celebration of Proctor and Gamble’s brands including Bounty, Charmin, Old Spice and more. It’s just a mess though and needs to be tighter. Ads are trying to cram too much into one slot.
Microsoft featuring Katie Sowers
49ers coach Katie Sowers is the first female coach in the Super Bowl and she explains her position so well that it’s inspiring. She said men have been learning from women their whole lives and that “all it takes is one [woman] and that opens the door for so many.”
Jeep featuring Bill Murray
Bill Murray reprises his role in Groudhog Day in this cute ad for Jeep. The star is really the cgi groundhog though.
Audi featuring Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams drives away from the traffic and stress in an electric Audi while singing “Let it Go” from Frozen. It’s cute and makes me want one, but I’ve always liked Audis.
(Note: I wrote this ahead of time and loved this commercial, but did not see it air during the game.)
Snickers Fix the World
(Note: I missed this during the game which is why it’s not in order.) Snickers spoofs the Coke Teach The World To Sing ad with this commercial about how everything sucks and they’re going to fix it by feeding the world Snickers. A giant Snickers is dropped in a hole and I guess it’s supposed to grow. The best part is when the influencers fall in. This reminds me a little of US and Hands Across America, which is probably the point.
Other Super Bowl Commercials
Turbotax All people are tax people
Quibi bank heist
Walmart Famous grocery pickup
New York Life Insurance with Greek lessons
Michelob Ultra Pure Gold 6 for a 6 pack
Turbotax: All people are tax people 2
Sabra Hummus How I Mus
Verizon what 5G won’t Do
Pop-Tarts pretzel flavor featuring Jonathan Van Ness
Little Caesars featuring Rainn Wilson
Discover “No” with movie clips
Discover “Yes” with movie clips
Facebook groups featuring Chris Rock
Porsche The Heist
Adidas Change is a Team sport
Dashlane password paradise
Tom Brady for Hulu