The Superbowl commercials cost so much this year, a whopping $5.1 – $5.3 million, that even Coca Cola decided not to run their spot during the game and have opted for a pregame slot. Given how boring the game was, and what a snooze the halftime show was, they made the right decision. My heart doesn’t bleed for these huge companies, but the bar is set higher for newer and smaller brands that want to make an impression. (I still remember Locktite!) This year my favorite commercial was also from a newcomer, Mint Mobile, whose ad for chunky milk was simple and funny. Bud Light tried to win the night with lots of medieval-themed ads, but they weren’t that funny and the Game of Thrones crossover was bizarre. Here are the commercials that made an impression, with more at the end as links. (Note that I don’t include any of the movie trailers or show promos! For most of the ads I didn’t like, like Verizon’s manipulative ones featuring first responders and survivors, I didn’t write about them.)
M&Ms Bad Passengers with Christina Applegate
This play on a mom yelling at her kids to stop fighting in the backseat of the minivan is a little too close to home. Also the way she threatens The M&Ms is just scary.
Bumble featuring Serena Williams
I enjoyed this Bumble ad featuring Serena Williams. It’s matter-of-fact, it’s inspiring and it’s not trying to hype the service or sell it as more than it is. It’s about letting women make choices in career and love and Serena is the perfect spokesperson for this.
Hyundai: Jason Bateman nightmare elevator
The horrible scenarios in this commercial are so spot on that it’s hard to watch. Flying, going to the dentist, attending a vegan dinner party, and having jury duty are all bad, but buying a Hyundai isn’t, get it? It’s only a day, sell me on the car itself.
Olay killer skin with Sarah Michelle Gellar
This ad is awesome. It’s a play on horror movies featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar being unable to unlock her phone using facial recognition because her skin has changed so much! I have the same fear about not being able to unlock my phone when I gain weight. I never imagined a life or death situation, but now I am.
Doritos mashup featuring Chance the Rapper and Backstreet Boys
This is a fun ad with bright colored cars and jets, choreographed dancing and a mashup with Chance the Rapper and The Backstreet Boys. I’m into it. This reminds me of the end of This is The End, but they did a different song in that.
Weathertech Pet Comfort
There’s a real lack of animals in commercials this year but Weathertech combines patriotism and pets for a formulaic but winning ad.
Bud Light Corn Syrup Delivery
This is a ridiculous and mildly funny ad featuring a medieval delivery of corn syrup. Bud Light’s team travels to give it to Miller Light, which already has enough corn syrup. Coors Light ultimately accepts the delivery. The point is that Bud Light doesn’t have corn syrup. I’m sitting here eating Doritos with bright yellow nacho cheese, why would I care about this?
Expensify with 2 Chainz and Adam Scott
This is Expensify’s first Super Bowl ad. It has 2 Chainz doing a video with a frozen convertible and Adam Scott swooping in as the accountant looking for expense reports. 2 Chainz shows the app and how easy it is.
Pepsi “more than OK” with Steve Carell, Cardi B and Lil Jon
As a Coke drinker who is still salty over Diet Pepsi changing their formula, Pepsi is not convincing me it’s “more than OK” as an alternative. The bedazzled Pepsi can which Cardi B struts in with is awesome though. They should do a giveaway for those.
Simplisafe Fear is Everywhere
I am a Simplisafe customer, I appreciate how easy it was to install (they didn’t pay me but if they want to sponsor our podcast I’m game) and this commercial is true. The service is super easy to use and it does give peace of mind.
Audi Presents Cashew
I love these commercials that spoof schmaltzy commercials. This one is especially good.
Avocados from Mexico dog show featuring Kristin Chenoweth
It takes a while to get the concept of this, which is dogs at a dog show turning into people who want to eat guacamole. I don’t think I get it yet, they should have stuck with the dogs.
Bud Light and Game of Thrones
I don’t know what the hell is happening here and it wasn’t until I saw a tweet about this that I realized it was a commercial for both Bud Light AND Game of Thrones, I thought I must have been confused when I first saw it.
Pringles sad device
An Alexa-like device becomes despondent and contemplates existence because she can’t eat Pringles. The dudes eating Pringles stop her and tell her to play Funky Town. This is simple, clear and it works.
T-Mobile and Taco Bell
This was arguably a better crossover ad than Bud Light and GoT. This features a very common texting AND decision-making dilemma – what to eat. They decide on tacos, Taco Bell is mentioned and it’s effective and simple. Here’s a link to their earlier ad, featuring a too-long wall of text from a friend.
Toyota “Toni” ad featuring football player Toni Harris
Toyota has been bringing the inspirational sports commercials and this year is no different. They feature Toni Harris, the “first female football player who does not play a specialist position… to be offered football college scholarships.” This is an effective ad for their new hybrid car.
Planters featuring Charlie Sheen and Alex Rodriguez
I once saw an Oscar Meyer weinermobile and it absolutely made my day. So it’s smart for Planters to have a peanutmobile and to continue to lean into the Mr. Peanut character. This ad makes him out to be like an action star or something. This first Super Bowl commercial from Platners is not the most memorable, but it did make me want peanuts. (Although I love peanuts.) It features Charlie Sheen and Alex Rodriguez, with Sheen making the one line joke “And people think I’m nuts.” Hope he put that commercial money toward his child support.
Mint Mobile Chunky Style Milk
This made me laugh so hard. Mint mobile makes their Super Bowl Commercial debut with this cute little ad featuring a fake commercial for chunky style milk. Best line “save some chunks for me.” This won the night for me.
I use Turbotax but this ad is such a misfire I’m regretting that. So there’s a robot who wants to be a Turbotax CPA but it can’t because it doesn’t have emotions. I don’t get it, is the robot supposed to be adorable and are we supposed to feel sorry for it or smug that it can never be human?
Stella Artois featuring Carrie from SATC and The Dude from Big Lebowski
There was a lot of advance hype over this ad, especially for an appearance by Jeff Bridges as the Dude. I would rather just see him, they didn’t need to shoehorn Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sex and the City character in there. Both order Stella Artois instead of their signature drinks of a cosmopolitan or white Russian, with The Dude adorably mispronouncing Stella Artois.
NFL 100 pre halftime commercial
— NFL (@NFL) January 28, 2019
I didn’t know who had the ball or when and I didn’t recognize all these guys, but this was so much fun.
Michael Bublé for Bubly
This is such a simple concept involving the difference in how you pronounce Bublé and Bubly (bubbly) sparkling water and yet it made it laugh. This is a very cute little commercial and I’ll remember this brand.
Devour Food Pr0n
This starts out clever and funny, but soon turns creepy when they take the food pr0n metaphor too far. It’s too on the nose. Interesting that this got the cut for Super Bowls ads but medical marijuana ads are not allowed.
Michelob Ultra robots
What if robots were part of our society? Wouldn’t they want to drink beer too? I guess that’s what they’re going for here but I don’t think the robots would wandering around like us, they would be working for us and then rebelling and killing us. The only realistic robot is the spinning instructor.
Bud Light Medieval Barbers
Bud light nailed the bowl cut with this scenario. They also had it uploaded to YouTube within a minute of airing so points for that.
Microsoft: We All Win
Microsoft highlights adaptive controllers for XBox featuring kid gamers who don’t have use of both of their hands. This is a moving ad made more impactful by parents talking about what it means to them.
Ram Cowboys Talking
This is a smart twist on a traditional Super Bowl commercial. It features cowboys talking about big game commercials and how they’re memorable for the gimmicks but not the product they’re supposed to be advertising.
Michelob Ultra Pure featuring Zoe Kravitz doing ASMR
Am I the only one who can’t stand ASMR? I have misophonia, it’s a thing where you have an emotional response to chewing and mouth sounds, and this whispering trend gets on my last nerve. Plus this just makes me think she’s drinking water, which is true of a lot of these light beers. So pure you may as well be drinking water with a shot of vodka in it.
Amazon not everything makes the cut
This is such a clever commercial featuring fake Alexa fails. Forrest Whitaker brushes his teeth with an Alexa toothbrush, Harrison Ford’s dog orders food with an an Alexa dog collar, the Alexa hot tub becomes a foundation and the whole planet is taken over by Alexa. Maybe they shouldn’t have included that part, it’s probably in their master plan.
Moon Pie did not shell out for a Super Bowl Commercial so this is an honorable mention for being awesome and weird. They have two more commercials on their Twitter account.
— MoonPie (@MoonPie) February 3, 2019
A Coke is a Coke
Bon and Viv Spiked Seltzer The Pitch
Turkish Airlines: A Ridley Scott film #TheJourney
Norwegian Cruise Line
Google 100 Billion Words
Sprint Best of Both Worlds
Persil The Deep Clean Level
Toyota Supra Pinball Wizard
Kia Give it Everything
Wix featuring Karlie Kloss
Google Job Search for Veterans
Colgate: Luke Wilson is a close talker
Skechers: Easy featuring Tony Romo
Budweiser featuring Bob Dylan singing Blowing in The Wind
Old Spice Running on Empty Jeep Big Game Blitz featuring One Republic
Bud Light – Trojan Horse Occupants
Jeep Gladiator Crusher
Verizon The Team that Wouldn’t Be Here
Ram featuring Jeremy Renner
YellowTail Tastes Like Happy