My overwhelming thought following tonight’s rippling terrain of pricey Super Bowl commercials was that Doritos missed a great cross-promotional opportunity by not joining forces with Calvin Klein. There’s always next year. Below, zip through a bunch of 2013’s most memorable — best AND worst! — Super Bowl ads.
BUDWEISER CLYDESDALES, “REUNION”
Aggggghhhhh. UNSTOPPABLE CUTENESS. Set to the dulcet tones of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” a baby foal (seven days old at the time of filming) leaves his devoted trainer and grows up to roam “free” in the streets of downtown Chicago to find proud papa again! This spot has everything you’d want to happen in a reunion video featuring a lowly human and a near-mythical beast who share the beautiful bond of having their lives enhanced by a beer company. Go hug your horse, if you have a horse. If not, hug yourself because you need one.
JEEP, “AMERICA WILL BE WHOLE AGAIN”
Moments after Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child reminded us how to writhe on the floor and kiiiiick!, Jeep delivered this somber “Operation Safe Return” book-on-tape narrated by Oprah — the Clint Eastwood of the 2013 Super Bowl (at least until the Ram commercial would air later on). It was a little too long and I assumed it was for the army (or the Oprah Winfrey Network), but damn if I didn’t tear up.
SAMSUNG, “THE NEXT BIG THING”
Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and Bob Odenkirk — and all they do is talk? They had us at “a guy named Sam Sung.” Or if you’re a fan of awesomely shaggy hair, “the first moment we saw Paul Rudd.”
VOLKSWAGEN, “GET IN. GET HAPPY.”
Meet Dave, a Minnesotan (“the land of 10 tau-sand lakes!”) with a Jamaican accent. How or why is not the point — I’m pretty sure the point is….huh. That if you own a Volkswagen your coworkers will switch from staring blankly at your antics to plastering smiles on their faces as you all go out for a leisurely lunch? Or, more likely, “People will remember this white guy with a Jamaican accent. Volkswagen.” Of note: Red Stripe beer was quick to follow up with a short spot declaring Volkswagen “not offensive.”
NEXT PAGE: Oreo wins the night, social media-wise…
DORITOS, “GOAT 4 SALE”
Sexiest goat of the Super Bowl by far. I appreciate how Doritos’ aggressively ridiculous Super Bowl commercials have become their own unique brand of terror. Plus, this one was a lot better than Doritos’ other spot, Fashionista Daddy.
OREO, “WHISPER FIGHT”
If your latest cookie-vs.-creme debate re: which part of the Oreo is better didn’t end with police involvement, now you know you just weren’t arguing passionately enough. (I especially like when the cops announce that they’re cops.) Not only was this the only commercial with a “call to Instagram” (Oreo’s Instagram account gained 30,000 more followers throughout the night via its “Choose Your Side” gimmick), but the brand was also quick to tweet out this perfect still-image ad during the game’s half-hour-long power outage. It wasn’t brain surgery, but it was smart. Like all the people who chose “creme.”
TIDE, “MONTANA STAIN”
This is just well-executed goodness: A 49’ers super fan gets a Joe Montana-shaped stain on his jersey, which his Ravens fan wife blissfully washes away. You can actually guess what the product is less than halfway through the commercial. Unheard of!
BEST BUY, “ASKING AMY”
I like this because it’s so low-concept — just a celeb we already know to be funny wondering the things we all wonder about the crazy technology in our lives. “What’s LTE? Is it contagious?” “Can I use a dongle with this?” “Are we in the cloud? What is the cloud?” Actually if anyone here could explain what the cloud is for real, I would love that. Just be sure to do so in a sexy Fifty Shades voice.
NEXT PAGE: God made farmers — and Doritos Locos Tacos
RAM TRUCKS, “GOD MADE A FARMER”
Whoa. I wanna buy a farmer as fast as I can! Audio from Paul Harvey’s 1970s speech “So God Made a Farmer” accompanied still images of hardworking real Americans and appealed to “the farmer in all of us.” It didn’t make me want to buy a Ram, but it did make me cry and respect farmers more. That’s always fun. Here’s Ken Tucker’s take — and Slate.com says the spot derived from a 2011 ad from Farms.com.
These next few I would describe as “gratuitously amusing” — so over-the-top you can’t help but smile.
TACO BELL, “VIVA YOUNG”
I knew this is what seniors got up to in the dark! I am fairly certain this is my future.
M&Ms, “LOVE BALLAD”
Glee‘s Naya Rivera has a new crush and his name is Red M&M. I’m pretty sure Sexy Green M&M wouldn’t have minded being bitten by three giggly teens at once. But we can’t choose the ones we love.
CALVIN KLEIN, “CONCEPT”
Well-oiled machines are out to destroy us. I see your “Concept,” CK, and I’m not mad at it.
WONDERFUL PISTACHIOS, “GET CRACKIN'”
Heyyyyyy… crack your nuts, now! This “Gangnam Style” send-up beats Snooki’s pistachio ad, at least. “Psy does it — why don’t we all go nuts?” Ugh, I still can’t read Psy’s name without sounding it out as two syllables. And I’m still not sick of this song. I hate myself.
NEXT PAGE: The worst!
THE WORST 2013 SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS
GODADDY, “THE KISS”
This is OBVIOUSLY the worst, although in a way it’s also obviously the best because everyone is talking about how gross the kiss was. Marvel (in horror) at what EW’s Darren Franich calls the “positively Cronenbergian” sound effects at play during the vom-inducing smooch between supermodel Bar Refaeli and a stereotypical “nerd.”
BLACKBERRY Z10, THIS OVER-PRODUCED MESS
Uh, thanks for telling us what the new Blackberry can’t do. Huge wasted opportunity.
CENTURY 21, “MINI MART”
It’s hard to say whether I’d rather watch GoDaddy’s “The Kiss” or this guy choking on convenience-store hot dogs on a slow-mo loop for all eternity. What’s even worse is that I’ve spent three minutes pondering that!
STOP SAYING “FEBRU-ANY.” No one can hit it. Just quit it!
Which commercials were your delights…and your horrors? Discuss!