Like nearly all things American, the Super Bowl is as much about food and drink as it is about anything else. So it’s no surprise that advertisers of all things edible and drinkable get in the game in a big way. Out of a slew of different ads hawking snacks and drinks, the following four really stood out—as being excellent or quite the opposite.
The “best” nod goes to Snickers for its “Logging” spot. It relies on a classic and respected Super Bowl Ad trick: bringing in celebrities you’ve almost forgotten but still recognize, to shock you awake and entertain you. The concept is simple and indisputable: People get cranky when they get hungry. Snickers fill you up. Then you are no longer cranky. To demonstrate the concept, go to an action-filled, relatable work environment (in this case a logging camp) and bring in cranky celebrities to represent the overly hungry loggers (in this case, a kvetching Richard Lewis and a classically unpleasant Roseanne Barr).
Also good: Doritos’ “House Sitting” ad. A man is tasked with housesitting for a few days. All he has to do is feed the fish and water the plant. He forgets both tasks, both the fish and the plant die, and both are somehow brought back to life via the magic of sprinkled Doritos. Grandpa’s ashes also get the Doritos treatment. Weird, memorable, fun. Maybe not going to sell the product (did you want to bring your relatives back to some cursed zombie life?), but it’s an entertaining and well-done concept.
The worst, by far, is Pepsi MAX’s “First Date.” It’s a first date. Via internal monologues, we learn that the woman, like all stereotyped American women, is obsessing over how much money the guy makes, and if he’s “the one.” The man just wants to have sex with her. Then Pepsi MAX appears on the table, and all the guy can think about is drinking the Pepsi MAX.
1. This whole “men = animals, women = gold diggers” concept is old as dirt, and therefore not funny by itself anymore.
2. Since it’s not funny, we have to ask: Does this make for sympathetic characters we can identify with and care about? No. Not at all.
3. Is there any man in the world who, when actively considering boning a beautiful woman, would shift his attentions to a soft drink? No. Funnier would have been this: “I wonder if she’ll sleep with me, I wonder if she’ll sleep with me—ooh, Pepsi MAX, that stuff’s great—I wonder if she’ll sleep with me, I wonder if she’ll sleep with me.” At least vaguely plausible.
So, in 30 seconds, we’ve racked up clichéd, sexist, implausible, and unfunny. Congratulations, Pepsi MAX, that’s truly the worst food and beverage ad of Super Bowl 45.
Also bad: Bud Light’s “Dog Sitter.” A dude is tasked with dog-sitting in a mansion. All the dogs are hyperintelligent, and the fridge is full of Bud Light. What could possibly happen next?! That’s right: house party, with dog waiters and bartenders. A thrilling leap of imagination. Also, terrible beer can’t sell itself on flavor, so it goes with computer-assisted dog waiters.