A blackout, an army of Beyoncés and an intentional safety: Super Bowl XLVII may have been the first Super Bowl in a long time that was more interesting than the multi-million-dollar commercials surrounding it. In fact, this year’s ads weren’t a very standout collection, consisting of mostly rehashed and underwhelming entries. What’s the point of spending millions on a 30-second spot if people aren’t going to be buzzing about it the next day?
Ram Trucks “Farmer”—Give the late Paul Harvey most of the credit for this super-sentimental spot which sets his famous “God made the farmer” speech to some rugged, rural American images. It works like gangbusters and fits Ram’s image quite snugly.
Samsung “Big Pitch”—Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd pitching all the lame Super Bowl commercials we’re sick of (“People love talking babies!”) is inspired. But this one gets bonus points for the night’s savviest dig: “Crowdsourcing! Put it out on the Internet that you want people to send you ideas, and you don’t have to think of an idea.” Hilarious in a year that featured a crowdsourced halftime show, a Lincoln ad campaign built by Jimmy Fallon and Twitter, fanmade Doritos spots and an opportunity for viewers to vote for the ending of a Coke commercial. Do your job, Madison Avenue, I ain’t doing it for you!
Tide “Miracle Stain”—A miraculous salsa stain that looks like Joe Montana is funny enough, but Tide took the joke to its logical and timely conclusion. (“Go Ravens.”) Prescient stuff too: San Fran lost.
Axe “Astronaut”—Usually, Axe body spray ads are a bastion of knuckleheaded sexism. But watching a lifeguard punch out a shark is always fun. And the punchline, “Nothing beats an astronaut”? So damn true.
Budweiser “Brotherhood”—Anheuser Busch’s main campaigns for Bud Light, Beck’s and Black Crown were forgettable, but this old-school Super Bowl spot featuring a baby Clydesdale was a tear-inducing audience fave. Who doesn’t love baby horses?
Beck’s “Sapphire”—It was hard to tell whose spots were worse: Budweiser’s “Different Label” or Beck’s “Different Label.” At least the people in the Budweiser Black Crown ads looked like they were having fun. Beck’s gave us a CGI goldfish singing to a bottle of new Beck’s Sapphire—which, despite the name, is all-black just like Black Crown. Huh?
GoDaddy.com “Perfect Match”—This spot featuring Bar Rafaeli sloppily French kissing some ugly nerd may be the least sexist ad GoDaddy’s ever run. At least Danica Patrick kept her top on during the thing. An incremental improvement, but still gross.
Calvin Klein “Concept”—I’m all for “turnabout is fair play.” There’s nothing wrong with showing sexy male underwear models. You know what’s not sexy, though? Intercutting that footage with shots of dirty gears dripping with oil. What the hell, C.K.?
Coca-Cola “Mirage”—Who will get to the Coke bottle first: the cowboys, the Mad Max bikers or the Vegas showgirls? I couldn’t care less. I’m certainly not voting online, and I’m not gonna stick around after the game to see the “exciting” conclusion. (Spoiler alert: It was the showgirls.)