The Best and Worst of Super Bowl LIII commercials

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And so ends another Super Bowl season. The build up of anticipated commercials is finally (and mercifully) over until next January.

If one were to say yesterday, “Well, that sucked the life out of me,” we might not know if they were talking about the low-scoring (and even lower-rated) Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, the ridiculously boring half-time show of Maroon 5, Travis Scott (whose every other lyric was bleeped out) or a fur-wearing Big Boi from Outkast.

Yeah it was that bad. Defense may win championships, but defensive Super Bowl games are lame.

The term of sucked could also have applied to the parade of mediocre, ho-hum spots that aired during the big game yesterday. Interestingly, I was at a non-advertising Super Bowl party, so it was a fascinating anthropological study to see what kept the layman (or woman) from getting up and going to the Super Toilet Bowl or loading up on more Gu and chips.

Despite each 30-second commercial costing upwards of $5 million, there was a lot of mediocrity and unimaginative ideas. Yesterday, there were more conversations about wings recipes than the many spots that featured robots and Sarah Jessica Parker. No one talked about the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar (or was it Parker) in the yawner Olay spot.

Or was it the Benz spot?

Or the WeatherTech? No it definitely wasn’t the WeatherTech. That was bad.


NFL:”The 100-Year Game” Agency: 72andSunny

Here’s a spot that was more fast and furious than say… the trailer for The Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. The spot is funny and nostalgic at the same time capturing the magic and surprise of the game. And what a perfect audience for it – football fans!

Hyundai:”The Elevator” Agency: Innocean USA

This not only stopped a necessary “pee-run” to the bathroom, but made me sit down, watch and laugh. A great use of taking an elevator to the pits of Hell, but still finding Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance. Great use of Jason Bateman. Is he ever bad?

Microsoft:”We All Win” Agency: McCann Worldgroup

With its adaptive controller, Microsoft has leveled the playing field for gamers with disabilities. In a sea of spots that are funny and others attempting humor, this heartfelt and very real spot stands out. Like the spot says, We have all won.

M&M’s:”Bad Passengers” Agency: BBDO NY

Any spot that can get the always funny Christina Applegate to whip around and make an insane face and yell, “I WILL EAT YOU ALIVE” is worthy of a place on this list.

Bud Light/HBO:”Joust” Agency: Weiden&Kennedy NY/

This was truly a WTF moment. But in a good way! What starts as a continuation of the Bud Light corn syrup spot that aired earlier quickly surprises the audience (In “It’s a Tide Spot” way) and morphs into a Game of Thrones teaser Simultaneously an extended version was revealed online, with additional Easter eggs for fans of the show to enjoy. Wonderfully done.


Look, we know no one sets out to make a bad spot – especially on the Super Bowl. There are so many factors a great idea comes up against from its first iteration to its first broadcast. Hard work is hard to sell. Hard to produce. And hard to launch. We applaud all of the creatives who tried this year. However, these spots should be penalized for airing on the big game.

Mint Mobile:”Chunky Milk” Agency: In-house

This was truly a WTF moment. But in a bad way. Last thing I want to see while I’m having my beer. YUck!

Norwegian Cruise Lines: Good to Be Free” Agency: BBDO Atlanta

I wish I had gotten up to refill my guac and chips. Even another slice of pizza. Anything, but watching this again. Basic.

Wix.Com: “Good to Be Free” Agency: BBDO Atlanta

It’s a nice idea that Kloss runs “Koding with Klossy,” a nonprofit program to teach girls 13-18 to code. That’s not mentioned in the ad, but would have possibly made this more interesting. As is, it was Super boring.

WeatherTech: “CupFone” Agency: Pinnacle Advertising

Huh? What? Really?

Is the general feeling of lameness due to that you can find most of the spots (and better versions) online or is the audience losing interest in checking out the latest celebs to ask for a Pepsi? For the record, Reel 360 did like that spot. We’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

Contact Colin Costello at or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.