It’s Super Bowl time, and you know what that means: an ad extravaganza punctuated by brief forays into actual football. As we’ve done for the last few years (you can find 2014 here, and 2015 here), we’ve graded the best and worst of this year’s Super Bowl ads. As always, our criteria for judgment remain rigidly unscientific and completely biased. Herewith, our grades for Super Bowl 50’s ads:
Women in Hyundai do a good job of masking their disappointment that Ryan Reynolds and not Ryan Gosling was cast in this ad.
Bud Light: Teaser (Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen)
Maybe one day we’ll learn why the Illuminati continues to push Amy and Seth on us despite the fact that neither are particularly funny. But Sunday was not that day.
Quicken: What Were We Thinking?
Push Button. Get Mortgage. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty great title for the inevitable sequel to “The Big Short.”
Acura NSX: What He Said
Yeah, it looks like Acura’s ad agency just learned of the isolated David Lee Roth vocals that have been floating around the Internet for years. But that track is still awesome. As is Diamond Dave. As is this ad.
Dollar Shave Club
Clever little ad from Dollar Shave Club, which might have to go to Five Dollar Shave Club after paying for this ad. Try not to think about what exactly is caught on the blades of that filthy razor.
Shock Top (Anheuser-Busch): Unfiltered Talk
Loved the idea of beer tapper as insult comic — it’d make solo trips to the bar a lot less lonely — but most of the jokes ended up like a weeks-old barrel. Flat.
(By the way, anyone else notice the tap handles of InBev’s other craft beers lurking in the back? Made us wonder what the goose has to say.)
Marmot: Snow Angel (teaser) What the heck is Marmot? A new movie character? A delicious new dish from some fast-food chain? A new drug that will cure your ills while possibly causing organ detonation? Who knows?
Taco Bell: Quesalupa
Taco Bell promises that the quesalupa, whatever that is, will be bigger than anything in history. Yeah, ok. You can only combine different names of Mexican food in so many ways, Taco Bell. We look forward to the Chadillaita next year.
Mountain Dew: PuppyMonkeyBaby
Did you see a PuppyMonkeyBaby running around in your nightmares last night? No? Go ahead and try a Mountain Dew Kickstart … How about now?
Letting the ol’ astronaut take the controls one last time: Touching. Comparing driving an Audi to commanding a moon shot: overreaching. Using the late David Bowie’s song “Starman” to tie it all together: heartbreaking. We’re grading this one on a curve.
Yeah, sure, it’s yet another ad with a slobby dude and a shrewish wife. What makes this one so hysterically awful, or awfully hysterical, is the final image: of a baby in the womb so hungry for Doritos that it makes an early exit. Probably a lot less funny to any woman who’s had a difficult delivery. We can hear the OWWWWWs from a hundred thousand Super Bowl parties.
This wasn’t a really memorable ad, but it does raise the question: Did Paypal “paypal” CBS $4.5 million for the ad?
Apartments.com: Moving on Up
In one of the more technically brilliant ads of the night, Jeff Goldblum takes a crane ride up the side of a New York city apartment building while playing the theme from The Jeffersons. Some charged last week that L’il Wayne cooking for George Washington was racist, but the rapper’s camp denied those charges to TMZ and said the appearance was only about fun. And getting people to rent apartments, presumably.
Hyundai: The Chase
This one was cute enough but absolutely cratered once the bears started talking. (Vegan! Cheat days! So wacky!) These bears are the ursine equivalent of the annoying dude by the salsa dip who just will NOT shut up about that time he saw Peyton Manning in the grocery store. Less talking, more campsite-pillaging, bears.
Avocados From Mexico: InSpace
Two years of Super Bowl commercials, two As for the super fruit from south of the border. This year’s clip capitalized by combining a number of successful ingredients: Star Wars-type aliens, nostalgia for the past, a glimpse into the future and mocking the career of Scott Baio. If Avocados From Mexico do it again for next year’s Super Bowl, it’ll be considered a dynasty.
Sofi: Loans for Great People
Fairly straightforward financial-products advertisement set amongst beautiful young urban hipsters that make up 95 percent of the country, in the eyes of creative agencies. Best part is that everyone is going to look around their Super Bowl party and assess whether everyone else is “great” or not. (You are, of course.)
Hey! Yanking a star from beyond the grave to hawk merch! That’s never been done before! Points for using Willem Dafoe, though. That dude makes everything better … even if we’ll be seeing him in that skirt in our nightmares. (For more along those lines, see his take on the infamous Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday” song.)
You thought this was going to be something like Nike, didn’t you? Some kind of workout product? So when Michelob Ultra came up, you’re thinking, “really?” Cool enough setup, bit of a letdown.
Kia: First Date
America is a society losing privacy at every turn, a land where we are watched 24/7 and our every movement tracked. This is a horrible invasion of our personal space … unless you’re a daughter and your dad is watching over you. Then it’s perfectly fine.
Kevin Kaduk (@kevinkaduk, Facebook: Kevin Kaduk) is the blog editor of Yahoo Sports. Jay Busbee (@jaybusbee, Facebook: Jay Busbee here) is the author of EARNHARDT NATION. When they’re not watching ads, they co-host the Grandstanding podcast (iTunes, Soundcloud).