Ad It Up!
Best/worst Super Bowl ads of 2016
Let’s face it: Super Bowl 50 was a slow starter and a quiet finisher. The Broncos won mostly because the Panthers lost. The half time show wouldn’t have been anything more than tolerably middle-of-the-road if Beyoncé and Bruno Mars hadn’t shown up at the last minute to inject some much-needed energy into Coldplay’s white bread set list. And the commercials ... don’t get me started.
OK, I’m started. This year’s pileup of multimillion dollar Super Bowl commercials seemed uniformly lackluster. Random movie stars (Anthony Hopkins,Willem Dafoe, Alec Baldwin, Christopher Walken, Lima Neeson, Helen Mirren) showed up to act vaguely wacky and shill for various products. We got our annual dose of classic rock sing-alongs (Van Halen, Queen, David Bowie.) Several big-time advertisers said “screw it” and gave us PSAs. (Budweiser warned us not to drive drunk and Colgate told us not to waste water while brushing our teeth.) Other than that, not a lot stood out.
Prius “Getaway Car”—Toyota may actually have succeeded in making the gas-saving Prius look cool with this night-long series of linked commercials in which a four bank robbers flee in a fast and efficient Prius and become media celebrities.
Heinz “Meet The Ketchups”—Wiener dogs dressed in hot dog costumes? That’s a touchdown. This silly and cute commercial won a lot of fans and neatly drove home the company’s simple message: Hot dogs love condiments.
Mountain Dew “PuppyMonkeyBaby”—Yes, this bizarro commercial in which three dudes drinking “Mtn Dew Kickstart” (a beverage so cool it doesn’t need your damn vowels) are accosted by a hideous, dancing homunculus made up of equal parts puppy, baby and monkey was ... startling. But it’s also the most memorable commercial of the night. Seriously. You cannot unsee it. Ever.
Mountain Dew “PuppyMonkeyBaby”—On the other hand, that damn thing is creepy as hell. If putting three things together results in something as nightmare-inducing as PuppyMonkeyBaby, maybe I don’t want juice, soda and caffeine in one drink.
Pokémon “Train On”—Everyone assumed this was a sports drink commercial with kids watching famous athletes and saying, “I can do that”—until the now 20-year-old Japanese video game was reveled in the switcheroo ending with kids still breathlessly repeating the slogan. Yeah, kids, why bother with trying to push the limits of human endurance and achieve athletic glory when you can just sit on the couch and play a video game?
LG “The Future”—Why is Liam Neeson so damn serious about LG’s new OLED TV? Why has he come from the future to warn some floppy-haired young guy that “they want to stop it.” I mean, who wants to stop a cool TV? Does it turn into the Terminator or something? Will people actually try to kill me if I buy this TV? Forget it. That’s too much pressure. This is the epitome of a pointless movie star cameo commercial. Take out the product reveal at the end and you could stick in any random product. Like Hot Pockets, for example. “There is a revolution coming. ... In your microwave!”