Super Bowl LIII didn’t exactly live up to hopes of an exciting experience. With a final score of 13-3, it broke the record for lowest scoring Super Bowl of all time and rewarded Tom Brady and the Patriots with their sixth title in 15 years. But luckily, if you were getting bored with the game, you could turn to the commercials for entertainment. Here are some of the successes and failures of Super Bowl LIII’s advertisements.
Jason Bateman plays the operator on the elevator of life, dropping his riders off at various undesirable floors: jury duty, vegan dinner party, the talk (“your body is changing”). But you won’t have to get off at the car shopping level if you use Hyundai Shopper Assurance to find your car. It was creative and entertaining, with Bateman’s sarcastically upbeat remarks on each floor making it one of the more memorable commercials of the night.
Sprint threw together Bo Jackson, mermaids, keytars, and bird-horses (?) together for this really odd, unfunny ad. I think they were trying to go for the silly randomness Mountain Dew captured in their “Puppy Monkey Baby” ad from Super Bowl L, but it just came off as a desperate attempt to get a chuckle.
Success: Bud Light
The Bud Light King and the Bud Light Knight return for the second year in a row, gracing Super Bowl LIII with two full length commercials as well as two TV spots. First, our Bud Light buddies get a delivery of corn syrup in the mail– a mistake, obviously, since Bud Light doesn’t use corn syrup. They then trek across dangerous terrain to return the purchase to its rightful owners: Miller Lite and Coors Lite. It’s hilarious, but it’s topped by the second commercial, when the Bud Knight is defeated in jousting by the Mountain, the terrifying fighter from HBO’s Game of Thrones, who then proceeds to crush our favorite knight’s skull as a dragon swoops in from the sky. So for all you GOT fans waiting on pins and needles for a trailer, look no further than Dilly Dilly. #ForTheThrone
Failure: Mint Mobile
You think wireless with twenty bucks a month is not right? Nah! You know what’s really not right? Chunky style milk. As in, milk with pasty white chunks in it. I agree with you, Mint Mobile. Chunky style milk is not right. It is also something that I never needed to picture, and that I will now forever associate with your company.
What if anything you asked for was possible just by saying the word? Mercedes-Benz explores that scenario with a man who can make anything he wants– whether that be destroying a parking ticket or freeing a trapped orca– happen with a simple command. You know, just like the Mercedes A Class fulfills requests with natural voice recognition. This was a fun way of connecting the actual car to the commercial, something a lot of vehicle ads struggle with. And it had Wile E Coyote in it– what more do you need?
You know how I said the Mercedes-Benz ad was a car commercial done right? Well, Kia’s ad was a car commercial done wrong, at least in my opinion. It was meant to celebrate the rural Georgians who town where work in which they have been making the Kia Telluride, but it failed on that front. The young boy narrating it emphasized the colorlessness of life in this small town, repeating several times that they are “nobodies” and “unknowns” with the sort of depressed resignation you’d expect from some washed up old man who’s lost all hope for change in his life, not a little kid. It was gloomy and disheartening, emotions that copy over to Kia itself.
I put Budweiser in my failure list last year because of my indignation at the absence of their traditional Clydesdale horses. I was very pleased to see that not only did Budweiser set things right in the world this year with a Clydesdale-drawn wagon, but they made things even better by including a grinning Dalmatian atop that wagon, with his ears blowing in the wind. The reason was that Budweiser is now brewed solely with wind power, but I really couldn’t care less about the reasoning, just as long as they brought my Clydesdales back.
What was with this Super Bowl and robots? Sprint had robots planning its ad campaign, Michelob Ultra tried to use a robot to tug at your heartstrings, and then of course Turbotax had Robochild. Robochild wants only to be a TurboTax live CPA when he grows up, but TurboTax only uses “human beings with real emotions.” So Robochild’s dreams were crushed, and his heart was broken. And he starts laughing because he’s still perfecting emotion. It was supposed to be funny, but it just… wasn’t. Like Sprint’s commercial, it was just random and stupid.
Success: Amazon Alexa
Once again, Amazon Alexa got ahold of a handful of celebrities for the big game, inviting Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, and Mark and Scott Kelly to test out various Alexa products that ultimately don’t end up making the cut. The ad was cute, but what really made it worthy of mention was Ford, who was testing out an Alexa dog collar that automatically ordered dog food every time his French bulldog barked. “I’m not talking to you,” he growls as a delivery truck uses a lift to dump the bags of food in his front yard.
Doritos used to be the supreme leader of clever Super Bowl commercials, but they came up short last year and this year was the same. Here we had Chance the Rapper taking a bite of the brand’s new Flamin’ Hot Nacho flavor and immediately bursting into a rap verse about how great they are, with the Backstreet Boys suddenly popping up to sing the chorus of their 1999 hit “I Want It That Way.” Honestly, it’s not as bad as it could have been, but Doritos is the company behind the Time Machine and the Doritos Dogs, some two of my favorite Super Bowl ads of all time. It’s disappointing that they just can’t seem to live up to them.
Success: 100 years of NFL
But by far the best commercial of the night was the 100-Year Game, which was to get fans excited for the NFL’s upcoming 100th season. The ad consisted of 44 NFL superstars, ranging from current players to old legends, at a party where a football cake topper gets knocked over, causing everyone to jump into a football free-for-all. You’ve got Joe Montana refusing a pass to Michael Irvin (“No can do, cowboy,” he laughs as he fires the ball towards Jerry Rice), Peyton Manning rubbing his shoulder after throwing to LaDainian Tomlinson, Tom Brady ripping off his Super Bowl rings and thrusting them Baker Mayfield, instructing him to watch them for him, and so, so much more. I’ve barely scratched the surface. No joke, this two minute ad was more entertaining than the entirety of the actual Super Bowl, Halftime Show included.Seeing so many amazing players in the same room playing together was a fantastic treat for fans of the game and a perfect way to celebrate the NFL’s fast-approaching 100th birthday.