From a mysterious Intuit ad to a Zack Ryder promoting Doritos, the Super Bowl ads this year were high-concept, often ridiculous, and packed with celebrities
T-Mobile featuring Drake
Drake’s just a natural pitchman. That smile. Those pearly white teeth. That turtleneck. He looks like he should be hawking handkerchiefs on the Home Shopping Network with Joy Mangano or Suzanne Pleshette. If this rap thing doesn’t work out, there’s always a high-tech vacuum cleaner that needs selling. Or maybe Champagne Papi brand white wine spritzers. Good luck, Drizz! I know you can do it.
Super Bowl Babies
So, the NFL makes people horny, eh? I have to say it’s kind of gross thinking about all those kids’ parents having sex after watching a football game. After the Super Bowl is over, I’m usually bloated, a bit drunk, and incapable of doing much more than waddling to the bathroom every 20 minutes. The Super Bowl is not an erotic event, despite what Roger Goodell might want you think. It’s America’s favorite excuse to roll around on a couch passing gas for three hours. The only person getting turned on by the Super Bowl is Jim Nantz while watching Peyton Manning dropping back to pass.
Doritos are not just a delicious cheese-flavored triangle snack. It’s also so delicious that it can force a premature birth. The chances of that baby lasting outside the womb even one second is slim to none. Furthermore, if that baby is aware of a chip being eaten outside the womb, that means Doritos believes that life starts at conception, not birth. My God, the implications are terrifying. This could be the Super Bowl ad that finally brings down Roe v Wade.
Mountain Dew Puppymonkey Baby
Leave it to the surrealists behind Mountain Dew’s Kickstart campaign to combine three of the most ubiquitous elements in Super Bowl advertising: puppies, monkeys, and babies. Americans just can’t get enough of tiny creatures that don’t speak English. Imagine if this deranged creature ran for president. Not even Donald Trump could beat this grotesque monstrosity. If the puppymonkeybaby kicked its dad in the crotch and farted immediately afterward, we might elect it permanent emperor of the galaxy.
Kung Fu Panda
Your old pal the Kung Fu Panda is back and now he’s creating websites with WIX.com. How he is able to type with those meaty paws is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he hired an actual human being with fingers to type for him. WIX.com: even a dumb animal can use it.
Doritos (with Zack Snyder)
I can’t believe that the Warner Bros studio tour guide actually said “Batman v Superman,” like just the letter V. Not “Batman versus Superman.” Someone clearly gave him that note after the first take. “Um, yeah. Can you say V? That’s the, like, actual title to this film. Thanks.” Also, I can’t wait for this commercial to launch the career of whomever wins this contest. What a prestigious honor to sell chips by making dogs dress up like people. People!
Bud Light featuring Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer
You know what else everyone loves besides beer? Cameos! Michael Peña! Paul Rudd! A horse! They’re all here for this commercial! I will honestly say that I enjoyed Seth Rogen quoting Independence Day. For a moment, I even entertained the idea that Bill Pullman would pop up from the bottom of the frame for the ultimate self-referential cameo, but I suppose he was very, very, very busy.
I hate these commercials. First of all, if you’re going to spend millions of dollars just to buy the airtime to screen a commercial, you should at least spend millions of dollars to make the damn thing entertaining. Don’t farm this thing out under the guise of a “contest”. I understand your game here, Intuit. It’s not working. Second, what the hell is this for? What’s the product? What’s Intuit? I get what Chubbies shorts are – they’re shorts for idiots. I get what Death Wish Coffee is – it’s coffee. Vidlers 5 & 10? It’s a store that sells stuff I don’t need. But what’s Intuit? I’m not even going to Google it because that just means they win. I don’t want them to win. I want them to stop wasting my time.
You’re right, PayPal. “New money” is not a dirty word. In fact, it’s two words! Speaking of money, why do you still charge me a fee to send money to my friends and family? Venmo doesn’t do that. Now, I’m not shilling for Venmo here, but I am still totally perturbed that they do this. New money is YOUR money, PayPal. You jerks.
Mini wants you to know that people think their cars are stupid. That’s not exactly what they’re implying with this ad, but they certainly aren’t shy about turning into the skid, so to speak. I don’t see how this is supposed to make me want to buy a Mini, though. OK, THEY don’t care if you make fun of their car, but guess who does? Me. Do you think I want to drive around in a vehicle that makes me the object of ridicule? Absolutely not. Congrats to all those famous people who are fine driving around in a car made for rich circus clowns. They can handle embarrassment better than I can.
Budweiser featuring Helen Mirren
You know, if I have to be shamed into not driving drunk today (or any day) it might as well be by Helen Mirren. Even though this is a commercial airing during the most highly scrutinized television program of the year, I really thought she was going to use another C-word besides “coward”. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the inevitable Funny or Die parody video starring Dame Judi Dench.
Hyundai featuring Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart is 36 years old. His daugher in this commercial must be about 16. That means the character he played in this commercial probably had this child when he was around 20. You’d think such a spry, successful man would busy himself with other things besides crawling into a pile of stuffed animals to scare his daughter’s date. You’d think. Besides the weird imaginary timeline I’ve just created for this story, I will say I actually kind of enjoyed this commercial. I am not ashamed to admit that I like Kevin Hart.
Shock Top featuring TJ Miller
This is a poignant one, eh? A rising comedic star walks into a bar, clearly inebriated already. Through his drunken haze, he enters into a conversation with an inanimate object, in this case, the decorative handle on the tap of Shock Top beer. Except, this isn’t a normal conversation. You see, the drunk celebrity isn’t just hallucinating. He’s also, in some ways, talking to a mirror image of himself. All of his self-loathing, fear of failure, body image issues, and anxiety comes pouring out, manifesting itself as a talking orange wearing sunglasses and a mohawk. In essence, this orange represents everything the comedian hates about himself: he’s glib, rude, dismissive, incapable of a real conversation, and the sort of guy who wears sunglasses indoors. Finally, after the hellish creature overcomes the real man, they bond over the realization that they are one and the same. They share a touching moment of mutual understanding before the celebrity passes out. He’s finally hit rock bottom. Pretty edgy for a Super Bowl commercial, guys.
Nothing can compare to the feeling of leaving the safety of Earth’s gravitational field, rocketing through the atmosphere, traversing the infinite black abyss of space and landing on the Moon. Only a rare few have accomplished this noble journey and can attest to the feeling of awe that accompanies such a moment in one’s life. There is truly no equal ... except for the jaw-dropping twists and turns of a sexy little Audi! It’s like Viagra on wheels for this old coot! Go out and buy your depressed granddad a luxury automobile immediately. Nevermind that he might fall asleep at the wheel because he’s 70. This vehicle will change his life and make him forget all about the fact that he too will die one day! Be sure to fill it up with premium, old timer!
Skittles featuring Steven Tyler
Why is Steven Tyler in this? Do the good people at Skittles think he’s still relevant? Is his presence in this commercial so astonishing that millions of people will immediately drop what they’re doing and buy a bag of candy? I should also point out that the portrait of Steven Tyler made of Skittles actually looks more like the guy from Counting Crows.
Between this 80s hair metal parody song and the Mini Cooper’s “Defy Labels” commercial, it seems that 2016 is the year that car companies attempt to prove to skeptical consumers that their practical automobiles can be cool. Watch in stunned amazement as the Prius stops on a dime, skids into a parking lot, and does other things that no Prius will ever actually do in real life! Also, look at that guy with the guitar! My final verdict for this commercial is that it would have been 100 times better if it starred Weird Al Yankovic instead.
Apparently, the title of this commercial is Weiner Stampede, which was also the name of my Van Halen cover band in high school. Wow, this takes me back. You should have seen our version of Hot for Teacher. I did the splits and everything. Anyway, this commercial features some dogs licking people in condiment costumes, proving that even dogs love mustard. Is that an endorsement of their products? Dogs will eat their own excrement under certain circumstances.
Kia featuring Christopher Walken
Stop telling me I need a car to stand out. I don’t. A car, especially one that’s a mass-market object like a Kia, doesn’t change me. It doesn’t make me special. If I go to my local Whole Foods, there’s 10 Priuses, eight Kias, three Minis and maybe one PT Cruiser driven by the neighbourhood laughing stock. We’re all the same. We’re all driving the same car that’s slowly poisoning our planet with black smoke, that runs on a fuel that people murder each other over. It’s just a freaking car! I don’t care how many crazy faces Christopher Walken pulls. It’s just a car! Leave me alone! I’m buying a bicycle just to shut you people up.
LG featuring Liam Neeson
“The future is now” in this bizarre Tron ripoff advert for LG flat glass televisions starring Liam Neeson. If Neeson’s ominous voiceover is to be believed, nefarious enemies of progress intend to prevent the dude who looks like an unpleasant combination of Orlando Bloom and Jason Segal from purchasing a super-thin TV. Those bastards. Who do they think they are? I can buy any TV I want, even one as completely impractical and absurd as this one. Thank you, Liam Neeson, for lending your face and voice to such a noble cause. Hopefully these anti-glass TV agitators will be discussed in the next presidential debate.
Apartments.com featuring Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum is no longer an actor. Like William Shatner, Nicolas Cage, Christopher Walken, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the guy who played Mini-Me, he’s become a caricature of himself. That’s great for selling me a product like Apartments.com or any number of self-reverential cameos in movies and TV shows, but can you ever take the man seriously in an actual movie that requires him to play a real character? Could you, for instance, accept Jeff Goldblum as an unemployed insurance salesman or a suburban dentist? Could he even play Seth Brundle From The Fly today if he had to without making the entire audience giggle because “lol it’s jeff goldblum from those commercials”? I wish he’d go away for five years and come back to do some real acting, though I suppose he probably has a boat to pay for somewhere.
Here comes nanny state Colgate to tell me that I have to turn the faucet off when I brush my teeth. This is how it starts, people. First Colgate comes into your bathroom. Then, it’s the bedroom. Who do you think you are, Colgate? My mom? Huh? Huh? I also run the shower while I’m on the toilet. I like the sound. It relaxes me. I’m American. It’s my right to waste water. I’m pretty sure that’s in the constitution, right next to the right to a militia and the right to as many free samples at Costco as you want.
Snickers featuring Willem Dafoe
Nothing makes me want to grab a candy bar more than the nightmare image of Willem Dafoe dressed like Marilyn Monroe. It’s worth pointing out that these Snickers commercials contain the implicit message that the famous actors that star in them are ugly. Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi and Danny Trejo aren’t exactly the Baldwin brothers. I kinda feel bad for these guys. It must be at least a bit humiliating to know deep down that you’re trading on your unconventional appearance for the sake of a few extra dollars. It’s sort of like when a character in a film or TV show is cast because of their weight. Is it fun to have a casting director hire you because you’re fat? I guess I’ll never know unless I take up acting. Or get really fat.
This article was written by Dave Schilling, for theguardian.com on Monday 8th February 2016 08.09 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010