Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Best and Worst Of Super Bowl XLIV Commercials

Posted on February 09, 2010 by Don Spieles
Brett Favre has lost a lot of fans in recent years, but his self-depricating commercials may bring some back.

Brett Favre has lost a lot of fans in recent years, but his self-depricating commercials may bring some back.

The Saints have prevailed over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in a game that many will remember for years to come.  The reason why my wife agreed to watch the game at all had nothing to do with Drew Brees’s MVP performance of Peyton Manning’s attempted comeback.  She watches for the commercials.   At $2.2 million for a 20 second slot, companies seem committed to the big sell if they place an ad in the number one sporting event of the year.  So how do they do?

The Best

10. CBS’s Monday night comedy lineup.
CSI Miami’s Horatio and Cassie overlooking a dead body.  Cause of death?  He laughed himself to death over the Monday lineup, as proven by the ridiculous smile rigored into his face.

9. Bud Light
Hubby’s off to play softball until he sees his wife’s book club is serving Bud Light.  Viola!  Spontaneous intellect in three-quarter-length sleeves!

8. Google
Very inventive spot for Google showing a mystery person’s full life revamp from job search to marriage to crib shopping, all portrayed watching the search terms being typed into the popular site’s main mage.  An inventive and imaginative way to make a TV commercial for a search engine that people would actually watch for a full thirty seconds.

7. Audi A3 TDI
Take a popular concept like eco-friendly anything and add to it a classic rock song (or a take on one, anyway) and you have the “Green Police” (as in “Dream Police” from Cheap Trick) promoting the new vehicle.

6. Hundai
Brett Favre winning the 2020 NFL MVP award complete with grey hair and fully grey beard.  Nothing sells like a celeb that’s not afraid to make a joke of themselves.  Aside from being a nifty commercial for Hundai, it garnered Brett a few of the points he’s lost in my book with his annual off-season retirement nonsense.

5. Career Builder
There are a lot of bad places to work, but how about one where “Casual Friday” meant everyone walked around in their skivvies? Well it was a peak into that nightmare that get’s Career Builder the number five spot.  It would have been higher, but some of those images will never be erased from my mind.

4. Budweiser
When the Budweiser truck is kept from town by a missing bridge, the townsmen and women become a human bridge.  Great combo of CGI , inventive marketing, and beer worship.

3. Dr. Pepper
Forget for a moment what total marketing whores the band KISS has turned themselves into (Think “The KISS Casket”.)  Forget that two 50-something rockers should not be in spandex anymore, not should they be bare-chested.  Also, try to get the image of Gene Simmons road kill toupee out of your mind.  Watching this Dr. Pepper spot with a midget version of KISS should help you with those goals.  I’m still not sure I get what it has to do with soda pop, but everyone in the room here laughed hysterically.

No.  I’m not a fan of PETA either.  But in response to their request that Punxsutawney Phil (A.K.A. the official Groundhog Day groundhog) be replaced by a robot, went another route.  The incredibly freaky, CGI mini “Punxsutawney Polamalu” being yanked out of his hole by the hair may not affect PETA, but I think Phil’s going to be unemployed really soon!


1. Bud Light

Bud Light’s second hit in the top ten, and deservedly so!  When Joe Dude sees that Jane picked up some Bud Light on her grocery run, he is visibly excited and his voice becomes synthesized ala some Justin Timberlake song.  In the tradition of the “Wassup” guys, the good feeling spreads from one to another, all synthesized, until we see rapper T-Pain asking for the dip.

It’s gold, Jerry!  Gold!

The Worst

10. Michelob  Ultra
A typical slice of schlock with Lance Armstrong working out while hocking beer; because those two things go hand in hand.

9. Denny’s

Note to CBS:  The first rule you should enforce for prospective advertisers is that they need to foot the money up front.  The second is that they actually make a commercial for the event and not just run some plain spot with nothing remotely interesting in it.

8. Motorola
Meghan Foxx in a bathtub taking pictures of herself with a cell phone?  Not too shabby.  The world slapping each other (including the two “boyfriends”)?  Does the term “jump the shark” mean anything to you?

7. Bud Light
Hey, you can’t always win, Bud Light.  The novelty of the Bud spots in the first list was missing from this cheap attempt to grab a little of “Lost” pie.  The group of survivors ignores the gal who can save them in favor of the guy who found the beer.  On second thought, that’s not nearly as crazy as what is really in the plot of “Lost”.

6. Go Daddy
More scantily clad gals.  This time we see Danica Patrick getting a massage, which is excellent right up until the mindless banter starts and the whole “See More Online” gimmick chimes in.

5. Teleflora
Did you know if you order flowers and they are delivered in a box that they will be grey and dead?  Oh, yes.  But they’ll talk, too.  Huh?

4. Dodge Charger

A slew of seemingly masculine lads promising all sorts of nonsense to their women – things that will set the male population back a thousand years.  And for what?  A poor man’s version of the Ford Mustang.


3. Intel
This commercial was obviously made by geeks.  A robot interrupting a geeky lunch conversation, blah, blah, blah…  If you know what happened next, comment would you?  I nodded off at that point.

If you had asked me 20 years ago what I would think about Beverly D’Angelo and Chevy Chase as the Griswolds in a commercial, I would have paid for it myself.  That was because back then the “Vacation” franchise was still fresh and so were D’Angelo and Chase, as opposed to the Mr. and Mrs. Crypt Keeper impression they wheeled out for this waste of thirty seconds.

1. Doritos
There were at least two of these, one worse than the other.  The version with the guy whose dog takes off his anti-barking shock collar and (in the worst example of CGI of the night) places it on the guy – well, that was just lame.  But later they gave us the half-minute saga of the man who fakes his own death do he can be in a casket full of the cheesy snack.  What is it about “Nacho Cheese” and corpse did the Doritos folks think was a match?

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