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The Definitive Consumer’s Guide To Superbowl Ads

 

BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY That game was pretty good. I was rooting for Baltimore, so I’m happy. On to the commercials. They only count if they air during the game (kickoff-to-final gun, no halftime). I’ve thrown out the car ads, movie trailers and CBS promos and rated everything else that tried to be funny or cool. With a nod to the old axiom, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I’ve changed the grading system from a 10-point scale to letter grades. The past three years have played out thusly:

1st QUARTER

Budweiser Black Crown: Four years in and I’ve realized that Bud always gets the leadoff spot. This year they used it to position their new marketing gimmick as an elitist must-have. Grade: D-
M&M Anything for Love: I do like M&Ms…and meatloaf. But not necessarily Meatloaf. Grade: C
Audi Prom: Kid going to the prom by himself oozes confidence because he’s driving his parents’ Audi. Plants a kiss on the girl and ends up with a black eye. Sets the “violence is funny” tone. OK for a car commercial, I guess. Grade: C
Hyundai Come Back When You Have a Team: Cute kids, revenge plot. Just a hint of violence. Grade: B-
GoDaddy Bar Refaeli kisses Geek: I couldn’t help but think what a score this commercial is for “Walter” (the nerd that kisses the girl). And I must admit I chuckled at the over-aggressive slurping noises. Best GoDaddy ad since…since GoDaddy. Grade: B
Doritos Goat For Sale: That goat really loves Doritos. In a psychotic, violent way. I bet some Cool Ranch would really blow its mind. Grade: B
Pepsi Next Parents Crash Party: Terrible parenting. Grade: D-
Best Buy with Amy Pohler: Meh. Next. Grade: C
Budweiser Black Crown #2: Ultra-Hip people who wear black party exceptionally at secret locations with other beautiful people and we’re not invited. Ah, but if we drink Budweiser Black Crap that could change. Grade: F
Coca-Cola Security Cameras: At least it focuses at the positive. Grade: B+
Oreo Library Fight: Everyone keeps their voices down because it’s a library. Minus a half-grade for the rampant violence. Grade: B-
Toyota Rav4 Genie: A little bit funny, although I take umbrage at the Dad being the butt of the jokes. I had to watch it twice to figure out that he was jogging in order to get rid of his spare tire. Poor Dad. Grade: B

2nd QUARTER

Doritos Princess dress-up: Burly dudes in dresses and makeup are funny. Beards will help you with retention of Dorito crumbs. Daughters are to be ignored unless they have Doritos. Grade: B
Cars.com Wolves: That mother wolf is about three seconds from ripping that cute ethnic couple to shreds. Grade: F
Bud Light Voodoo Dolls: I’m lost. First of all, you can’t pluck grass from an Astroturf field. Who was the guy in white? And I guess they couldn’t be voodoo dolls because each fan had one from his own team. I hope they didn’t pay much for those crappy dolls…drinking Bud Light should be sacrifice enough. Grade: D+
GoDaddy Big Idea: Thank goodness GoDaddy has moved beyond tame smut. And this commercial actually did something to try to sell their product (imagine!). Grade: C
Milk with The Rock: The timeworn story of a hyper-muscular dude who will ignore any danger or distraction to get his hands on some motherfuckin milk. Grade: C-
Hyundai Sonata Turbo: Driver uses car’s turbo power to pass vehicles he doesn’t want to be behind. I laughed when the fat dude on the motorcycle blew a kiss at the lady. Grade: C+
Volkswagon Jamaica Talker: White dude is so happy with his car that he talks with a Jamaican accent. I liked this one; could have been better. Grade: B+
Coca-Cola Mirage in Desert: Various groups race across the sand towards a giant Coke bottle. Pretty stupid. Grade: C-
Subway 15 Years of Jared: Freeze this commercial for the one second Jared is actually onscreen. You can see 15 years of eating Subway in his pained grimace. Grade: D
Taco Bell Old People: Crusty old people are funny. Actually, the antics of these geriatric partiers played 2nd fiddle to the much funnier Spanish version of “We Are Young” that played in the background. Quality. Grade: A-
Sketchers Dude catches cheetah: That could never happen. Grade: C
NFL Evolution.com: I let the first of these ads go by (the one that exploited youth football star Samantha Gordon to make us feel good about exposing children to traumatic brain injury). The point of this nostalgic spot is to show how proactive the NFL is about player safety. I couldn’t help but think that the NFL is really just proactive about getting their PR machine cranked up on this issue. Grade: D

3rd QUARTER

Century 21 Wedding: Groom faints at prospect of moving in with in-laws. Bride seeks Century 21 agent to help. Here at my house, halftime alcohol consumption has kicked in and I have no patience for stupidity like this. Grade: F
Blackberry What it Can’t Do: I JUST SAID I HAVE NO PATIENCE FOR STUPID ADS. Grade: F
ETrade Talking Bady: Jesus Christ what kind of commercial hell have I fallen into? Talking babies are creepy. Just like last year. And the year before. How have they stopped that baby from aging? Grade: F+
Subway FebruAny: OK, it’s called FebruAny, but “many” of their footlongs are $5, although some are not. Then they should have called it “FebruMany”, which also would have been much easier to say. Assholes. Grade: F
Bud Light Lucky Chair: The voodoo guy in the white tux is back, but this time there’s a foxy chick. Grade: C+
Subway FebruAny: I just saw this ad. Grade: Still F
Bud Light Lucky Chair: The power goes out and CBS can’t call a commercial audible…they just replay the same ads from the last break? CBS Grade for Keeping Me Entertained: F
Axe Apollo Nothing Beats an Astronaut: Lifeguard punches out a shark and saves the girl but she goes for scrawny guy in spacesuit. A tie-in to some contest they are running. Not bad. Grade: B
Mio Fit with either Tracy Morgan or Kenan Thompson: Commercial with jokes. Not terrible jokes. Explains the product! Grade: B
NFL Evolution.com: The Kennedys used to play football, and they were awesome, and therefore football is awesome and really should not be questioned by anyone. Grade: appalled
Kia Robot Girl: Sexy robot girl is all smiles as guy checks out car. Then he kicks the tire and she pummels him. Wedgie included. Why do we find bullying and physical violence amusing? Or maybe the question is Why to advertisers think we do? Grade: F
Gildan Favorite T-Shirt: Guy is trying to creep out the morning after without waking girl, but goes back to try to peel favorite T-shirt off her. I’ve seen better Gildan ads. Grade: C
Wonderful Pistacios Gangnam Style: Psy, in a pistachio-green tux, dancing Gangnam Style and hawkin’ nuts. Good ‘ol Psy. Milk it, baby! Grade: B+
Speed Stick Laudromat: Age-old story. Guy takes girl’s clothes out of dryer, girl falls in love with guy, guys says something stupid, guy is less stinky than he otherwise would be  because he uses deodorant in question. I was fine with this until they asked me to tweet my “Handle It” moment now. I will not. Grade: C
Beck’s Sapphire: This was a weird one, with a black fish floating on air and singing to a black beer bottle. Beck’s must have felt really stupid after seeing Bud Crown make an ass of themselves earlier in the telecast with their new black beer ad. This Beck’s version is made with special German Sapphire Hops (not a real thing). Dumb product, but I didn’t hate the ad. Grade: C
Budweiser Clydesdales: Budweisder uses big budget and Fleetwood Mac soundtrack to forge emotional connection between consumer and horse, with said horse having been previously connected to noxious swill. Whomever was in charge of minding that horse at the end needs be fired. Grade: C+

4th QUARTER

NFL Network Leon Sandcastle: Deion Sanders poses as rookie to…I’m not sure. Grade: B
Toyota Camry College Girlfriend: Guy runs into crazy old girlfriend, realizes he made a good decision, just like he did with his car. Uninspired. Grade: C (link is to a longer version that what aired during the game)
Gwynedd-Mercy College: I swear to God there was a Gwynedd-Mercy College ad during the Super Bowl. I swear to God Gwynedd-Mercy College is a real place. Grade: incomplete
NJ Lotto: Loved the part about what the rock musician thinks when he scratches one off. Not so much the pet lover. Grade: B-
Dodge Ram God Made a Farmer: This is the kind of commercial that you like until you realize it’s for a car company. Grade: C-
Kia Sorrento Where Do Babies Come From: This was pretty good for a while, I liked the planet Babylandia. Has nothing to do with the car… Grade: C+
Tide Montana Miracle Stain: Super Bowl 47 needs an ad to be proud of. Could this be it? Clever, absurd. And the Ravens get the last laugh. Will the game turn out the same way? Grade: A
Soda Stream: So it’s a machine that makes soda? Count me in. Grade: intrigued
Mercedes-Benz Deal with the Devil: It bugged me that I couldn’t place that actor playing the Devil. You know…the guy from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Grade: C
Samsung Galaxy with Seth Rogan and, I think, Paul Rudd?: There were a few laughs in this one, but it was also, like, four minutes long, so Samsung had to pay eight times as much. Grade: B-

And the winner is….Montana Miracle Stain. Overall, counting everything better than a “C” as funny, everything worse than a “C” as unfunny, the final score is: Funny 20, Unfunny 16. This first-ever victory for Funny can only be a result of the new grading system, and therefore must demonstrate something profound about our educational system and/or standardized evaluation process. I’m sure it’s not because the ads were better; they were not. And by far the biggest travesty about this year’s crop of advertisements…NO MONKEYS!!?!

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