In the spirit of Sunday’s between-snaps endeavors, here are exactly 36 sentences about 32 Super Bowl ads. Happy early Ad-Nerd Prom Day, everyone!
(Thanks to the invaluable iSpot.TV for compiling all the ads in one place and presenting them in a manner that is readily intelligible. In ads as in content-mongering, appeals to common sense are underrated.)
Tide Teaser, "Gronk Sorta Gets It Out": Now that ad teasers have become a thing, next year a brand should unveil a series of elaborate teasers prior to the game and then not bother advertising during it.
Budweiser, “Born the Hard Way”: Ladies and gentlemen, start your think pieces!
King’s Hawaiian, “False Cabinet”: This is the closest thing to a normal, clever, non-Super-sized ad you’ll see this Sunday, which means the entire King’s Hawaiian marketing team will probably be pink-slipped on Monday.
Audi, “Daughter”: A Super Bowl commercial break wouldn’t appear to be the easiest or most welcoming environment for a nuanced, cleverly staged message about gender disparity, so good on Audi for bucking the conventional wisdom.
T-Mobile, #UnlimitedMoves: I have no problem with Justin Bieber and I don’t care who knows it.
Honda CR-V, “Yearbooks”: If Vegas starts accepting bets on which ad will top the USA Today Super-Bowl Ad Deluxe Like-O-Meter on Monday, put all your disposable cash on this one.
Bud Light, “Ghost Spuds”: Say what you want about the U.S. of A., but the fact remains that we still pay people actual, valid currency to sell beer via half-assed twists on “It’s a Wonderful Life” featuring a discarded and reviled corporate mascot.
Febreze, “Halftime Bathroom Break Is Coming”: Just FYI.
Wonderful Pistachios, “Ernie Gets Physical”: I pity everyone associated with this, especially the CGI elephant.
Kia teaser, “Melissa McCarthy Uses Heated Seats”: The title of this ad teaser reveals a substantial percentage of the information one might need to understand and appreciate the thinking behind it.
Busch, “BUSCHHHHH”: Stupid pitches that self-referentially wink at stupid pitches from the past are still stupid.
Buick, “Not So Pee Wee Football”: Good luck getting past the absence of appropriate hyphenation in the title.
Mr. Clean, “Cleaner of Your Dreams”: Finally, an ad that appeals to the long-ignored community of Mr. Clean fetishists. It’s about damn time.
Nintendo Switch, “Believer”: This shows me the product and it shows me how the product is different from similar products and oh lord now I want a Nintendo Switch but my birthday isn’t until the summer so I’m going to go yell at my parents.
Avocados From Mexico, “Secret Society”: I would read a Ringer oral history on the genesis of/philosophy underlining these breathtaking avocado ads.
LIFE WTR, “Inspiration Drops”: LIFE WTF?
Persil ProClean teaser, “A Certain Science Guy Makes a Mess”: Spoiler: the “Science Guy” to whom the title refers is Jenny McCarthy.
“Ghost in the Shell” trailer: Sure, why not. Separately, this exercise/concept is exhausting.
84 Lumber, “The Journey Begins”: Awareness-generation plays are a lot more effective when you give viewers some idea of who/what they’re being made aware of.
Squarespace, “Calling JohnMalkovich.com”: It’s not outside the realm of possibility that John Malkovich actually needs the JohnMalkovich.com domain for his new menswear business, so I interpreted this ad as a cry for help.
GoDaddy, “The Internet Wants You”: GoDaddy remains supremely unlikable even after ditching the infantile titillation of its previous Super ads - which, when you think about it, says a whole lot about the power of branding.
Wix.com, “Chez Felix”: One action sequence is plenty, thanks.
Sprint, “No Need For Extreme Measures”: On the list of “people who, if I happened upon them on the street or in some other public setting, I would strongly consider tackling and pummeling in such a manner as not to clear the felony-assault bar,” the once-Verizon-now-Sprint pitchman ranks below Jimmy Fallon and Ted Cruz but ahead of Kanye West and Mel Gibson.
KFC teaser, “Real Colonel”: I have that very chair in which Colonel-on-the-left sits, and I recommend it to all lovers of sophisticated yet practical reclining-based technology.
Ford, “Go Further”: “People given no choice but to deal with unfortunate circumstances” is quite the metaphor for advertising in general.
Pepsi teaser, “Countdown”: This pumped me up, less for the Halftime Show itself than for the spellbindingly exaggerated enthusiasm of the “fans” who rush the field at the start of it. Run, Forrest, run! I’ll never get tired of this.
WeatherTech teaser, “Tech Team”: I hate to be the one that breaks this to the believers, but weather mats are neither sexy nor technologically sophisticated.
Mercedes, “Easy Driver”: I’d follow the Coen boys to the end of the universe, but an “Easy Rider” reference in 2017 ranks as the 34,563rd most clever bit with which they’ve associated themselves.
Skittles, “Romance”: Synonyms and near-synonyms for “zany” include “cockeyed,” “screwball,” “wacky,” “farcical” and “clownish.”
Top Games, “Battle of Evony”: Hey, that’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan!
TurboTax, “Humpty Fall”: Just because you can do everything on your phone doesn’t mean that you should.Lexus, “Man and Machine”: If we’re not still referring to whatever the guy in the video is doing as “breakdancing,” the terrorists have already won.