It’s Not Just About Football: The Winners and Losers in Commercials

Victoria Cubera and Paul Kasabian

Super Bowl XLIII was one of the best championship contests in recent memory, but did the commercials live up to the hype as well? While The Boss certainly kept all eyes on him during halftime, the ads punctuating the play included some serious Adrian “I just killed the holder” Wilson-style hits and a few extraordinary misses akin to every Cardinal defender attempting-and failing-to sack playground quarterback extraordinaire Ben Roethlisberger. So here are our picks for funniest, weirdest, best and worst commercials from the night.

Funniest (VC): My vote for funniest ad has to go to CareerBuilders.com. From the moment I saw the distressed businesswoman riding some sort of sea mammal in the ocean, I was sold. I have no idea if that creature was supposed to be a seal or a manatee or a dolphin, but I loved it. The repetitive structure of this commercial worked for me,and gave me time to enjoy its humor. However, on a side note, I do not endorse violence against koalas.

Funniest (PK): I have a confession to make. I am 20 years old, and I have been laughing at people getting hit in the testicles with hard objects all my life. Furthermore, I don’t think I will ever stop laughing at such acts when I’m 70. So naturally, I thought the Doritos Crystal Ball commercial was hilarious. Couple that gag with the overacting of the smarmy protagonist, and Doritos had a win-win situation on their hands.

Funniest (Consensus): We couldn’t agree on what the funniest commercial was, but our consensus is that the Bridgestone Tires commercial on the Moon was the funniest out of the rest. We loved seeing astronauts dancing to “Jump Around.” As junior Scott Konicki said, “House of Pain is one of the most underrated 90’s bands.”

Weirdest (VC): The weirdest commercial slot goes to Teleflora. Singing flowers telling a woman that no one wants to see her naked? Not really the most captivating ad I’ve ever seen. I don’t mind getting flowers in boxes, or in person or left at my doorstep-I enjoy receiving flowers, period. The box really doesn’t matter, and I’m not alone in advocating flower sending in all forms. Junior Lindsay Ward denounced this ad as a commercial for “bitter, divorced 35-year old men.” Two thumbs down.

Weirdest (PK): I’ve always thought that the SoBe Life Water commercials were pretty bizarre, but their latest contribution to society tops the list. Someone should let SoBe Life Water ad execs know that avant garde commercials don’t work in the Super Bowl. I mean, do we really want to see football stars doing a ballet in white spandex and a lizard strutting his stuff in lingerie? Thankfully, this ad took place during halftime, so people taking a bathroom break weren’t scarred for life after seeing this. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for me.

Weirdest (Consensus): The Cheetos commercial was distressing. No, thank you, we don’t want to give Daddy a kiss.

Best (VC): The first Doritos commercial set a standard for the rest of the night. Granted, it may have been influenced by a certain flight commercial from last year involving cordless video game controllers and a very distressed television, but the surprise factor still worked. Broken glass, free food and community bonding via the snowball-esque Doritos crystal ball brought out the inner middle schooler in all of us. A great pick for Doritos’s first ad.

Best (PK): The Troy Polamalu Coke Zero commercial was more or less a spin-off of former Pittsburgh Steeler Mean Joe Greene’s Coca-Cola ad from 1979, which was a huge hit. I was expecting a carbon copy of the 1979 ad when I first saw Polamalu on the TV screen, where a young kid would give Polamalu a Coke and get his Steelers jersey in return as everyone smiled. But when things went awry after the Coca-Cola taste infringement guys stepped in, the commercial immediately became a classic. All the little things in this commercial make this ad one for the ages as well, from the look on the kid’s face after he receives a button-down shirt instead of a jersey to the taste infringement guys’ shrieks as Polamulu chases them down the tunnel. Great homage to Mean Joe, and it made me laugh.

Best (Consensus): Choosing a mutual favorite was surprisingly simple. PK: I used to watch MacGyver when I was seven years old, so imagine my happiness when I saw the real life MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson, make a cameo in the Pepsi PepSuber commercial. Hilarious spoof of product placements in TV shows, and Will Forte’s sweet mullet gives this ad bonus points. VC: This commercial ended with an explosion. Honestly, that might be the only necessary component to win my vote, though the overdramatic acting and outdated hairstyles were very appreciated pluses.

Worst (Consensus of PK, VC and everyone with a brain): We strongly disliked both of the GoDaddy.com commercials. They get our vote for first, second and third place for the most putrid ads of the night. And yes, we realize that there were only two GoDaddy.com ads, but concessions had to be made for GoDaddy’s awfulness. VC: When I see Danica on TV, I want her to be in a racecar, not a shower. PK: My favorite parts of these commercials are at the end, when the ad claims to be continued on the website. OK. So the first GoDaddy commercial left us with head shots of Danica Patrick and the “German woman from the Dean’s Office” in the shower together before the “Continued on GoDaddy.com” sign flashed. Does GoDaddy.com seriously think that everyone is going to get out of their seats, run to the nearest computer and expect to see the two women totally naked? Really? Don’t insult my (somewhat small) intelligence. And the second ad was just stupid. Classless and trashy all around.

In conclusion: This year’s Super Bowl ads were a varied lot. Humor, sexism, a lot of animals, some epic flashbacks and some equally epic fails-these commercials at least got people talking. Unlike the Cardinals’ Super Bowl XLIII dreams, these ads will linger on the interweb instead of being sadly destroyed. And all those companies whose ads we hated or whose ads didn’t merit an honorable mention should just acquire Kurt Warner’s mantra: There’s always next year.