Another Super Bowl has come and gone, and man, were there some bad commercials this year. One honorable mention has to go to Bud Light, Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen for hyping their ad for weeks and then not really delivering much of anything. Nice going, guys. The other, everything Doritos did for the game, and pretty much any ad it’s done in the past decade.
I managed to avoid watching the commercials ahead of time, not because I wanted to have a clear head to write this or anything, I just wanted to be able to repreatedly shush an entire room of people multiple times in one night. And it paid off. Also, the fact that these ads are online before the Super Bowl even arrives makes it seem like we should stop caring about commercials during the game of all games.
So let’s run down my worst commercials of Super Bowl 50.
… Actually, before we get started, I have a few stray thoughts I think you should know about.
Newspapers. We need to stop doing the “CHAMPS!” newspaper front page thing. Out of all the celebratory cliches, this one feels the most dated. At one time, people read newspapers. Also, people assembled and printed newspapers at a single location. Decades ago it was impressive that we could a newspaper could remotely print out a copy of tomorrow’s front page. Now you can tweet it out and have people downloaded on their phones. It’s not impressive anymore, and every single American sporting championship has done this schtick a million times. Let’s try something new.
Peyton Manning. If there’s one quarterback who has benefited from having a career mostly before the advent of social media and the spotlight on NFL players’ off-the-field troubles more than Ben Roethlisberger, it’s Manning. Back in his college days, he sexually harassed a female trainer and got a slap on the wrist from the University of Tennessee, because this was 1996. Ol’ Five Head really lucked out that that didn’t happen a decade or so later, when America realized that maybe football players get a free pass on a lot of shady stuff, and sexually harassing women isn’t cool anymore. Some good journalists have made a point of reminding people that this really did happen, but it’s too late now. America has been fed the story it wants.
In fact, America is so OK with the version the Peyton Manning Industrial Complex has so carefully sold that there’s not really much of an uproar over the possibility of his using human growth hormone. He even sent people to harass the people who made the documentary making the accusations. Because that’s what innocent people do. But it’s only circumstantial evidence, right? I’m sure all the even-keeled NFL fans will come down just as hard on Peyton Manning’s illegal doping allegations like they did when another Super Bowl-winning quarterback was accused of breaking a league rule no one had ever heard of with little to no evidence to back it up.
(Programming note, you can get all the “Gee, isn’t it swell that a classy guy like Peyton gets to retire winning a Super Bowl? Isn’t he just the bestest?” you can handle from Bryan Schools tomorrow.)
And now that that’s out of my system, let’s get to the commercials.
Mountain Dew Kickstart’s Sin Against God
Some guys are sitting on a couch, thinking about calling it a night, when some abomination walks in and serves them a soda-juice thing. Then they start dancing. This creature has the head of a pug, the torso of a monkey and the waist and legs of a baby. It calls itself Puppymonkeybaby, because the commercial is only 30 seconds long, leaving no time for backstory. Whoever came up with this annoying mess and its accompanying music deserves to be soiled by all three things he or she combined.
As any Republican will tell you, America has the greatest health care system in the world, because we don’t let just anyone have it, and even fewer to actually use it. One of the points of genius about this miracle of a system we have is that drug companies can advertise directly to consumers. And that is why we get a full minute of intestines running to the bathroom during the Super Bowl, while we hear about diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. When I’m on my fifth beer and elbow deep in queso dip, that’s when I want to hear about a pill that solves bowel problems.
The NFL Wants You to Bone Tonight
Is Seal hurting for cash? Is he buddies with Roger Goodell or something? Why is he all over the NFL all of a sudden? The most self-important sport authority this side of FIFA loves to say it’s about more than just football, from acting like it cares about breast cancer to acting like it cares about the safety of children. Now it’s claiming responsibility for the existence of a lot of people over the years. The NFL makes the dubious claim that there is a baby boom nine months after the Super Bowl, and supplies no evidence to back this up. Then we get to see children and adults who happen to be born in November of the year their favorite team won it all. There are kids unknowingly singing about their parents having sex to the tune of a Seal song. Thanks for that creepiness, NFL.
The tagline at the end of the ad should have been “Wrap It Up.”