As someone who rarely, if ever, watched football, I always make it a point to tune into its season finale every year. The Super Bowl is always one of the most highly watched television events of the year and while I can’t tell you anything about how the game is played, I can most certainly talk your ear off about the commercials that air during it!
Regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of whichever sportsball team is playing in the big game, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be treated to some fun, some weird, some ingenious, and some frankly terrible commercials. Companies will pay millions upon millions just to be featured during this time slot and while some commercials succeed and become iconic, like this legendary one with ‘Mean’ Joe Greene, some commercials are Puppymonkeybaby.
The slate of commercials this year were… let’s be honest, they weren’t all that good. Compared to previous years there weren’t any brilliant ads that had me talk and there weren’t even that many ads that left me confused or bored. A lot of the major companies that usually make Super Bowl ads opted out this year, which is a shame since their absence was definitely notable. I can’t remember the last time I watched a Super Bowl without seeing a Pepsi ad. But even in a solid D year of commercials, there were still some standouts worth talking about, so let’s just lean back and watch some good ‘ole fashioned commercials.
Best: Old trailer
Of course, there had to be at least one film trailer to make this list and while I can’t say I was personally invested in the F9 or Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer, Old was right up my alley. What started off as a nice little vacation turns into a strange horror movie with a solid concept. A family rapidly ages for unknown reasons on this mysterious island, eventually aging to death.
In case you couldn’t tell, this is an M. Night Shyamalan film and while the man isn’t exactly what I would call a reliable filmmaker, his movies are at least interesting enough to warrant a watch. I have no idea what the twist is going to be here (Matt says that the twist will be that this is the island from Lost), but I know that I’ll be thinking of this trailer long after the game is done.
Worst: Moutain Dew Major Melon bottle count
Is this what a bad trip is like? Cause I’m pretty sure that bright pinks and greens with giant bottles of Moutain Dew, a watermelon dog, a man turning into a bottle of Mountain Dew, and a deranged looking John Cena daring you to count all of the bottles of Mountain Dew in this commercial is some definition of hell. A part of me wants to count all of the bottles, but it hurts my eyes too much to even attempt that. Mountain Dew tastes like lemonade mixed with crack and testosterone anyway, so I think I’ll take a pass on this contest John.
Best: Reddit buys a 5 second ad
This was a literal blink and you’ll miss it moment, but major props to Reddit for buying up a five-second slot just to flash this image. Eagle-eyed viewers were able to catch this post and unless you have incredible reading comprehension skills, you probably had no idea what the text even said.
So here it is in all of its glory. Making reference to the Gamestop and r/Wallstreetbets saga last week, which will be made into a film by Netflix, this commercial reinforces the idea that anything is possible. Reddit could literally change the world thanks to its community and even if your ad lasts five seconds, it can still make one hell of an impact.
Worst: Wayne’s World/Uber Eats
Wayne’s World has, and always will be, a relic of the 90s and I don’t mean that as a negative. While I personally don’t have much nostalgia for the early 90s when this Saturday Night Live sketch was at the peak of popularity, it’s endured in the halls of SNL legend as being popular enough to get two spin-off films. At first, I was happy to see Wayne and Garth back on screen, but to call this forced would be a huge understatement.
I know that there was a whole selling out joke in the first film, one that I think holds up well, but this is the polar opposite of that. Instead of having a funny and satirical point like in that film where they were ironically advertising products in a farcical manner, this is a commercial, and the goal of the commercial is, of course, to make you buy something. At first the parody elements are fine, like the flashing subliminal messages, which is right up the duo’s alley, but then to feature celebrity cameos, Tiktok dances, and the two aging local access TV stars cashing in on modern trends is the literal definition of selling out. Congratulations Uber Eats, you recreated a three-decade-old joke with none of the nuances that it originally had.
Best: “The Neighborhood” Doordash
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to please me. Does your commercial feature Sesame Street? Does it have Daveed Diggs singing a catchy tune? Does it have Cookie Monster eating cookies? If you answered yes to all three questions, then your commercial is good! Moving on.
Worst: Jason Alexander Hoodie
So Super Bowl commercials try to go off the wall with their bizarre sense of humor to hitch onto that meme crowd. Or maybe it’s the “LOLZ SO RANDOM” crowd. Either way, this commercial sucks. Jason Alexander is a hoodie who gets continuously abused by not being cleaned, so we get to watch Jason Alexander make a bunch of weird faces while the theme song to The Greatest American Hero plays. I mean, points for originality, but when the previous Tide commercials featured sexy Mr. Clean and the massive twist that every commercial ever made is secretly a Tide commercial, dirty Jason Alexander just can’t compare.
Best: Paramount+ gives us “Sweet Victory”
Last year we were introduced to Quibi at the Super Bowl. Quibi is now dead, but I’m pretty sure that Paramount+ has a higher chance of succeeding. In this series of commercials, all advertising content coming to Paramount’s relaunched/rebranded streaming service, it’s easy to see what content is going to be coming to the service. There’s Paw Patrol, Star Trek, Young Sheldon, and countless others, all climbing the eponymous mountain in Paramount’s logo. And what’s waiting for our group of explorers at the top of the mountain? Patrick Stewart dancing to “Sweet Victory,” two years after fans demanding the song play at the Super Bowl in honor of the passing of Steven Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob. It may be two years late, but we finally did it, boys. We got “Sweet Victory” at the Super Bowl. VICTORY SCREECH!