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This was not the best Super Bowl for commercials (or football)! You know it’s an off year when two of the most memorable spots involve Greek yogurt. That’s just a rather bleak landscape in general, “live culture” notwithstanding. Meanwhile, my favorite healthy snacks Doritos and M&Ms, which usually bring it hard for the Super Bowl, barely registered. Below, 2014’s Best and Worst ads:


Radio Shack, “The Phone Call”: ’80s celebs like Hulk Hogan, Mary Lou Retton, Dee Snider, Kid ‘n Play, John Ratzenberger, Chucky, Alf, and even the California Raisins storm the store to reclaim their old stuff and make way for the future. What the future of a store with “Radio” in its name looks like is anyone’s guess, but the spot gets major funny points for its self-awareness.

Cheerios, “Gracie”: A girl with the best “Dad, please, I can play with my food, too” face ever bargains her way into a pet puppy as her parents use Cheerios to illustrate that a new baby brother’s on the way. Simple and not too sweet, just like the cereal (agh, what am I doing?).

Dannon Oikos, “The Spill”: You cannot throw yogurt lothario John Stamos’ Full House costars Dave Coulier and Bob Saget into a commercial and not have it land in a pop culture blog’s “best” list. Jesse Katsopolis, Joey Gladstone, and Danny Tanner, and are together again? Have mercy/Cut it out/Clean out your refrigerator (of other yogurt products), thanks.

Audi’s “Doberhuahua”: When a couple dreams up a staggeringly disproportionate canine hybrid, not even gentle animal-loving ASPCA spokeswoman Sarah McLachlan has the patience for it. Sometimes you build a mystery and then it eats your guitar and craps all over everything. Buy an Audi, which is not a scary dog-monster.

Budweiser’s “Puppy Love”: Bud’s surefire hit, released early, has something for dog fans, horse fans, and hot farmer fans alike. Its mere existence is like a firewall against cynicism. These #BestBuds dare you to dislike them!

This Bud’s on them, too: “A Hero’s Welcome”:

Coca-cola’s “America the Beautiful”: Look, not everyone speaks English, okay? Cue outrage.

Microsoft’s “Empowering”: Try not to cry as former NFL player Steve Gleason uses Technology to communicate with his son.


Chrysler: “Things Have Changed,” indeed, if Bob Dylan is SELLING something!

Axe: This global, sweeping, solve-the-world’s-problems-with-hearts saga seemed almost romantic until you realize it’s a commercial for Axe Body Spray. Or as EW’s Darren Franich put it, “That Axe ad was one horrific Tom Hanks accent away from just literally being Cloud Atlas.”

Chevy: Here’s a rancher taking his bull to get laid, basically.

Maserati: Beasts of the Southern Wild fans may have gotten really psyched for an apparent sequel to the film before realizing they’d just watched a 90-second ad for a luxury auto (starring the ever-fierce Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis).

Subway: No one believes all these athletes eat the Frito Chicken Enchilada Melt, dude! Well, except maybe one of them, but he’s like a merman; he can eat anything. Every year the commercials seem specifically designed to make the Worst lists. Hey, any press is good press.

Which ads spoke to you (or hammered you over the head) tonight? Discuss!