Last night’s Super Bowl was probably one of the worst in recent memory, if not of all time. Not only did the loathed New England Patriots win (again), but the game itself was a 13-3 snoozefest, ironic given the reputation of the offense on either team. Maroon 5’s lukewarm, forgettable halftime show didn’t help matters, either, although shirtless Adam Levine and his tattoos (straight out of Brentwood!) are not something we’ll soon forget.
To be honest, the Super Bowl ads weren’t that special on the whole, either, which is why I’m only featuring the five best commercials here, leaving some room for the commenters to yell at me for excluding their favorites.
5. Burger King — This simple commercial featuring Andy Warhol eating a Burger King hamburger was immediately arresting, in some part because of audience confusion: Is that really Andy Warhol eating Burger King? Why? What? Google searches for, “Is that really Andy Warhol?” probably skyrocketed in the minutes after the ad aired (along with, “Is that Benedict Cumberbatch playing Julian Assange playing Andy Warhol?”), as viewers sought an explanation for why Andy Warhol would be eating Burger King. That footage comes from Jorgen Leth’s 1982 film “66 Scenes in America,” and the Warhol estate (via Warhol’s son) allowed Burger King to use it. It’s most interesting, however, because that burger doesn’t look particularly appetizing because it has not been souped up for the cameras, and because Warhol would probably approve of this lo-fi pop art. It doesn’t make me want a Burger King hamburger, but it does leave me impressed with the fast-food company’s ad people.
4. Mint Mobile — As far as effectiveness goes, nothing was more effective for me than Mint Mobile’s disgusting chunky milk commercial. The chunky milk has nothing to do with Mint Mobile’s product — $20 text and data plans — but I remembered the brand “Mint Mobile” when I woke up this morning despite the hangover. It was a hell of a way to introduce a product nationwide, and it should capitalize on the country’s obsession with cutting the cord — who wouldn’t want to cancel their AT&T or Verizon service?
3. Google — Someone had to win the “most touching and poignant ad from a giant, world-dominating corporation” last night, and at least it wasn’t Facebook. This ad was terrific.
2. Game of Thrones — From a branding standpoint, I’m not so sure — if I’m HBO — that I would want to associate Game of Thrones with piss water. On the other hand, it was a wildly effective and funny ad. How many Super Bowl watch parties featured people yelling, “What the hell? Bud Light is totally ripping off Game of Thrones! Did they get permission for that?” before realizing that it was a Game of Thrones ad. Also, Super Bowl commercials are expensive, so why not share the costs? Besides, I feel like Game of Thrones isn’t linking itself with Bud Light as much as it was a joking commentary on Budweiser’s domination of the Super Bowl.
1. The Washington Post — This ad was so good, and so goddamn perfect, that I nearly ordered a second subscription to the Post. Not a lot of newspapers can afford to spend millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad, but then again, not a lot of newspapers are owned by Jeff Bezos. On the other hand, those millions of dollars could have paid for a lot of journalists’ salaries the week after 2,000 media jobs were eliminated. Still, this ad probably helped remind Americans of the value not just of The Washington Post, but the journalism industry as a whole during a period in which journalists are under attack from the government.