TR’s Top Ten Superbowl Commercials of 2013


If you’re even slightly more than semi-comatose, you were probably aware of the big game yesterday. If you stuck it out until after the power-outtage-prolonged contest and went online, you may have even seen some of what I’m about to show you. And you may wonder how anything related to the highest-rated football event of the year has anything to do with us.

The fact is that there may be no finer American nerd tradition than that of watching the Superbowl for the commercials – unlike those who say they read Playboy for the articles, we generally mean it. And yes, there are the obligatory references to Joe Montana, and standard-issue depictions of males boosting their testosterone levels in the pursuit of mediocre beer; however, judging by the number of times the football fans I watched the events with kept saying “Who’s that guy? Is he famous?” the majority of the ads are aimed at those with an obsessive interest in pop-culture…and that’d be us.

Not every ad is the same everywhere – and I didn’t see that Kratos ad at all – but here are the ten best from where I was sitting, paper and pen in hand, and guacamole-salsa-chili-cheese-dog in mouth.

10. (Tie) Two Broke Girls and Calvin Klein.

Some of these ads are clever. Others just sell sex. I wouldn’t be very nice if I didn’t deliver at least some of the latter, so whether you prefer Kat Dennings on a stripper pole or Matthew Terry’s abs that make the heart grow fonder, these were the two biggest blatant turn-ons in the bunch. Ironic objectification is still objectification, but at least I can be fair and balanced about it.

9. M&Ms – “Love Ballad.”

Meat Loaf’s “I Would Do Anything for Love (but I Won’t Do That)” never made much sense – since the “that” in the title refers to cheating, it’s not exactly a special declaration, because most lovers do expect fidelity. In this ad, though, the title has a much clearer meaning, and asks the question: “Would you let Naya Rivera eat you? No, really: literally eat you.” Murderous meal time plus Meat Loaf: an inevitable combination, finally paired up under a sweet candy shell.

8. Go Daddy – “Your Big idea.”

After all these years, Go Daddy finally came up with a clever ad that’s actually about their product, and not just a come-on to watch extra “uncensored” cleavage online. It even has a positive message – get your butt in gear and do what you say you’re going to do, or some other jerk will laugh at you while exclaiming, “More everything, Sky Waitress!” Line of the night.

7. The Rock – “Got Milk?”

Action hero Dwayne Johnson doesn’t have time to save the world from bank robbers, clowns, escaped lions or aliens until he and his kids have had their milk. Haven’t we all felt like that at one time or another? Except with Mountain Dew or coffee instead of milk, and “getting our lazy asses out of bed” instead of “saving the world.” Dude, man, that’s like, a metaphor. The first of two ads featuring The People’s Champ which appear on this list, and almost enough to make me forget he beat CM Punk and is making a movie about a teddy bear next. Almost.

6. Kia – “Hotbots.”

This ad induces conflicting feelings in me. On the one hand, I worry that endorsing any video in which a stereotypical nerd gets wedgied isn’t good for any of us. On the other, there’s the fact that it’s done in such a perfect fighting-game-style combo by a femmebot. And that the slogan is “Respect the Tech.”

I think I need to watch it a few more times before I issue a final verdict. Pardon me while I go do that for a sec…

…and I’m back.

5. Jack in the Box – “Hot Mess.”

Even once you accept the running gag that a fast-food CEO has a giant clown head, there is so much wrong with this. The notion that he was in an ’80s hair metal band. The fact that he’s showing his kid a video where his mom flashed her tits at him for the first time. The idea that “Hot Mess” is a good name for a food item, and is based on a terrible fake song. And a final image of the product that looks indigesteriffic.

I can’t wait to try it.

4. Iron Man 3.

Having teased a conventional trailer and lots of scenes of a severely beaten-down Tony Stark, Marvel pulled a happy bait and switch by giving us a mini-scene, in which Iron Man tries to calculate how many falling bodies he can catch from an exploding Air Force One. It’s a perfect mix of tension and character, and leaves you wanting more.

As for the footage we were led to expect – that’s on Facebook following a very clever Robert Downey Jr. pun. I do believe he’s winning me over again.

3. Time Warner Cable – The Walking Dead.

Seeing the family basically play with the actual zombies from the show is like the ultimate toy-collecting dream, but having Daryl Dixon apologize for messing up a freshly painted wall is the perfect punchline. It’s nice to see such an intense show poke fun where appropriate.

2. Fast & Furious 6.

There are numerous reasons to give this the penultimate spot, so let’s lay out a couple:

– It’s the only major movie spot that was entirely new. Nothing had been shown before, and the only hints that it was coming were on Vin Diesel’s Facebook page.

-I didn’t even like part 5 that much, but I now want to see this. Mainly because it looks like they actually spend a lot of the movie in their vehicles this time.

-When was the last time a sixth movie in a series looked any good at all? Revenge of the Sith, maybe? And that was one you felt obligated to see. This one has to work harder to persuade, and it’s doing a decent job of it.

-“We’re talking vehicular warfare.” It looks not just Ludacris, but ludicrous too, with cars flying through the air at tanks and planes.

There’s a lot to be said for surprise, and none of the other trailers really had it.

1. Doritos – “Goat 4 Sale.”

A guy buys a goat because it shares his love of Doritos, then gets pissed off because it won’t stop eating his Doritos. Also, the guy has a scraggly beard like a goat, so maybe he feels kinship. Then he tries to steal back his Doritos, and the goat screams like a girl, then kicks his ass.

Because that’s what happens when you buy a goat for superficial snack-food reasons. As people tend to do. I like that it warned me.

Most of the commercials can be found here – which ones did I miss the boat on? Feel free to embed them in comments and let me know. And did anybody see the Kratos one on TV?