Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials

Steve PrudenteCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2009

The NFL always tries to justify why you should still watch the big game even if your team isn't in it. This laundry list includes love of the sport, the halftime show, the fact that its the last meaningful game for months, yadda yadda yadda...

But unless your team is in the game, you know why you're watching: the commercials!

And when ad space costs approximately $100,000 per second, or about $3 million per 30 seconds, you know the folks that are shelling out the money are going to make it worth their while. For the most part, they did. Here are my picks for the best and worst Super Bowl XLIII commercials.


10. NBC "LMAO Syndrome"—This only gets number 10 because it's not fair that the network should beat anyone else, but had it been anyone else it would rank higher.

NBC promoted its comedy lineup by having people show up at a doctor's office with their rear ends in plastic bags asking for them to be reattached. An instant classic that actually made me want to laugh my ass off.

9. Cheetos "Pigeon Bait"—You've been in this situation before: at a public restaurant, someone is talking loudly and obnoxiously on their phone, and it takes everything in you not to bull rush them and destroy their existence.

In this Cheetos ad, a young woman senses a man's displeasure in this exact situation, and tosses a few cheese curls near the offending party. Said party is attacked by pigeons. Tell me you don't feel like going out and doing this to someone.

8. Pepsi Max "I'm Good"—Tons of physical comedy in this one. Any time you see guys getting hit with boards, bowling balls, golf clubs, a parking garage overpass, and yes even electrocution, you know you have a funny commercial on your hands.

After each instance, every guy says "I'm good." even if he's not. Every guy knows this feeling.

7. "Need a New Job?"—The spot opens showing a lush office with a beautiful mounted moose head on the wall above a CEO or chairman of some sort.

The camera then moves to the room directly behind the office, revealing that the moose head isn't mounted, but rather it's a live moose with it's rear end sticking out of the other side and some poor sap stuck working underneath it. A little predictable, but funny nonetheless.

6. Coca-Cola "Heist"—Definitely one of the most creative commercials of the year. Essentially a variety of backyard bugs disrupt a picnic to steal a bottle of Coke, but it's much more complex than that when you actually watch it.

5. Bridgestone "Taters"—Another situation you've been in, on either side: you and your significant other are driving, and "she" is making disparaging remarks about "his" driving. Play out this scenario with Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead, and it's instantly funny.

The two happen upon a herd of sheep and Mr. is forced to slam on the brakes, which in turn forces Mrs.' mouth to fly off into oblivion, creating every man's fantasy: a woman who can't insult him verbally. My girlfriend didn't like this one...can't imagine why.

4. Budweiser "Fetch"—Ah the good old Clydesdales...where would American advertising be without them? There were a few good ones this year.

My favorite was the one where the dalmation fetches a stick and recieves a lot of praise from a farm hand. Not wanting to be outdone, a jealous Clydesdale runs off and fetches a stick of his own, only it's a huge limb. Not only is it funny, but it also has that cute factor that makes it popular among all ages and genders.

3. Doritos "Crystal Ball"—A little predictable, but again, physical comedy is always a hit. An office worker is standing near a vending machine holding a crystal ball and it "tells" him that he's going to get free Doritos at lunch.

He then proceeds to hurl the ball at the vending machine, breaking it open and getting his "free" Doritos. Taking from this example, his co-worker asks the ball if he is getting a promotion and throws it, but ends up nailing his boss right in the family jewels.

2. Denny's "Thugs"—Parodizing almost every mob movie ever created, several men are seated at a table in a diner discussing whether or not one of their colleagues "talked" to anybody important about their "activities."

One decides that they should make him pay, but as he's saying his most serious line, the waitress interrupts him by putting whipped cream onto his pancakes. I was laughing so hard I don't remember the rest of the ad.

1. Bud Light "Swedish"—You knew this had to be number one. Late night staple Conan O'Brien is given a proposition for a commercial. He says he doesn't "do" them for fear of being made an idiot, but reluctantly agrees because the spot is supposed to air only in Sweden.

The ad ends up featuring Conan advertising...something...while wearing drag. Of course, it gets out, and Times Square visitors are seen jeering and taunting the popular talk show host. Jaw-droppingly hysterical. Does anyone know if he had a hand in writing this ad? My instinct tells me he did.


10. Any movie promo—If you're going to spend three million dollars, why not put it into making the movie better instead of playing a trailer that people are going to see 10 times a night, five nights a week?

9.—And if you're going to spend 3 million dollars, why not go the extra mile and make a fresh, new ad instead of recycling an old one?

8. H&R Block "Death and Taxes"—While they get creativity points for using "death" and taxes in the same commercial, their point didn't come across as planned.

7. E-trade "Talking Babies"—They found a way to make babies both not cute and not funny.

6. Hyundai "Angry Bosses"—I highly doubt that German luxury car makers are that concerned that an economy car won "car of the year" from one magazine.

5. "David Abernathy"—A child prodigy accomplishes everything he wants to, but he can't buy a car. Come on. If he's that smart he probably doesn't need to drive.

4. Teleflora "Talking Flowers"—Let me get this straight...if I go to a florist and buy flowers, I don't know what I'm getting. So I'm supposed to call or go online and order flowers that I can't see until I get them. SOLD!

3. Audi "Chase"—If you're starring in an action movie, this is the car for you.

2. Toyota "Killer Heat"—Yet another ridiculous Tundra commercial with that annoying voice. New for this year, the truck is now fire proof.

1. Castrol Edge "Monkeys"—The only thing more surprising than E-trade using babies and making them not funny was this abomination of an advertisement. This defies the laws of comedy. There were monkeys in the commercial, and they were not funny. Maybe I missed something.


Of course, there wasn't enough room on these lists for every commercial. These commercials were good, but lacked that extra something to push them into the top 10:

Bud Light "Staff Meeting"—Ah yes, the annual first Super Bowl commercial from Bud Light. The staff of a company is seen in a board meeting trying to figure out how to save money. One member suggests not buying Bud Light for every meeting, and is then thrown out of the office...literally. They toss him, chair and all, out of a fourth story window.

Doritos "Power of Crunch"—A man takes a bite of a chip, and the girl he is looking at loses all her clothes (except underwear). He turns and looks at an ATM, takes a bite, and money comes pouring out. You get the idea.

Good ad, but it was done by Pepsi first. But they went all out and paid for Justin Timberlake and Jeff Gordon to appear. "Bling and Boozer"—Carlos Boozer shows kids that the most precious piece of jewelry is the one you earn (his Olympic gold medal), not the one you buy. Kind of a counterproductive approach.

G "Champions"—A good commercial showcasing championship caliber athletes. What ruined it was Peyton Manning's emotionless ending. "Tips"—Any time you can work a Koala punch into a commercial you've got something. Minus points for the guy in the speedo.

Pepsi Max "I'm Good"—Tons of physical comedy in this one

I know I've probably missed some, and of course these are always a hot topic for debate, but overall this year's crop was pretty entertaining.

And, for a change, so was the game.


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