There’s always a little something weird about America’s obsession with Super Bowl commercials. It’s not that they can’t be good — in fact, there’s usually a handful of really great ones each year — it’s that we’re in an awkward position of appreciating commercials for products and brands that are … well, let’s just say there are no underdogs in Super Bowl commercials. It’s multibillion dollar corporations vs. multibillion corporations, terrible product vs. terrible product. In fact, lately, the healthiest product advertised during the Super Bowl — granted, in only one small market — is Old Milwaukee. Will Ferrell’s Old Milwaukee Super Bowl is not an official contender because it was a local commercial only, but how can you not root for this hilarious TV Spot? After all, Old Milwaukee is the healthiest, least destructive product advertised during the Super Bowl. I mean, canned skunk water is has to be better than Doritos, right?
I just love that Ferrell can still surprise us.
10. Time Warner — Walking Dead — Not really that exceptional a commercial, but where celebrity endorsements are involved, I’m going to get a lot more excited about Daryl from “The Walking Dead” than Kaley Cuoco.
9. Doritos — Fashionista Daddy — It was a cute commercial, and the guy with the beard was one of the few genuinely funny moments from last night’s slate of commercials, although the fact that Dorito dust can so convincingly double as lipstick does not exactly make me want to ingest it.
8. Ram Trucks — God Made a Farmer — I don’t know if it was the Southerner in me, or everyone is as equally romanticized by the idealized vision of a farmer, the one that politicians talk about during their stump speeches. I liked this commercial so much I didn’t have the heart to tell Ram Trucks that these farmers they speak of are mostly mythical creatures. I mean, most farmers are either working for a huge corporation, or they are growing food for the farmer’s market, in which case they’re more likely to look like a hippie. Also, probably high, and certainly not driving a Ram Truck.
7. Jeep — Whole Again — Look: I tried to resist. I mean, Oprah? But hell if they didn’t pull out every goddamn heart-pulling string in the book. It was manipulative and treacly as hell, and if this were being graded on the movie scale, it’d fare poorly. But this is the Super Bowl, and big crass jingoistic ads to sell impractical automobiles are always welcome.
6. Samsung Mobile USA - The Next Big Thing — I’m glad the game turned around after the power outage, because it was plain dull up until that point. Many of the people at the Super Bowl party I attended (including myself) left during the outage. But the quick turnaround meant that there were probably 100 million people watching Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd pitch a product there’s no way they use in real life (I mean, come on. They’re both rocking iPhones). Great spot, but Bob Odenkirk stole it.
5. Cars.com — Wolf — Well executed, very funny commercial that managed to actually say something useful about the product. Well done.
4. Audi — Prom — My takeaway from this commercial is that 1) there’s no way that kid couldn’t get a date to prom, and 2) an Audi is just a really, really expensive Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt.
3. Best Buy — Ask Amy — Again, an instance where I appreciate a brand for eschewing a major Hollywood film star like Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt and going with someone in my wheelhouse. It helps that Amy Poehler is also hilarious in the spot. Next time I go to Best Buy to see what the electronics I’m going to buy on Amazon look like before I order them, I will buy a pack of gum or something to help Best Buy stave off its inevitable bankruptcy.
2. Coca Cola — Security Cameras — Truthfully, this was my favorite commercial of the night, although the Facebook and YouTube likes don’t even put it in the top ten among the larger overall audience. I loved everything about it, except the creepy reminder that Big Brother is always watching us, which is why it got busted down to number two.
1. Taco Bell — Viva Young — Old people are the new talking babies, the new talking animals, the new flatulating bears! Next year’s Super Bowl will be nothing but adorable old people doing crazy shit. It’s appropriate that they were all hammered in this spot because that’s the only time Taco Bell is edible.