There were a handful of 2018 Super Bowl commercials that we’ll probably remember for a while.
We’re referring mostly, of course, to the good ones. We’ll probably remember a couple of the (less good) ones mostly because they were so weird. (What was that Keanu Reeves thing?)
Whether you tuned into Super Bowl LII for the game or for the ads, you probably didn’t end your evening disappointed. (Ok, maybe if you are a Patriots fan you did. But they played a great game). The game was close, fast-paced (at one point, NBC announcer, Chris Collinsworth, noted the game felt like “fast-break basketball”), and featured a new NFL record: First quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. That fourth down dish to Philly QB, Nick Foles, for a TD was absolutely bonkers and amazing.
In between drives and during time outs, America watched a bunch of super expensive commercials aimed at selling viewers everything from Tide to dinosaur-outrunning vehicles to inspiration via mobile carriers to trips to Australia to Winter Olympic fever to renewed excitement for the NFL itself. Each 30-second spot commanded a whopping $5 million. And here are our favorites:
7A & 7B. It’s All the Tide Ads (featuring David Harbour) | Tide + It’s Another Tide Ad
Leave it to the folks at P&G. They own like 30,000 brands, including Tide. The first ad, which features a variety of mini ads for everything we’re used to seeing ads for (such as cars, insurance, diamonds and beer, among others) but they were all indeed for Tide, was almost enough to make us forget that people around the world have been eating Tide Pods for a little while now and that somehow they thought that was ok. The moral of the commercial was that any commercial could be a Tide ad.
Cut to the most clever of the Tide ads: the Old Spice one. Old Spice is one of the bagillion Proctor & Gamble brands (genius cross-marketing!). And the ad features Isaiah Mustafa, the face of Old Spice, wearing what the Old Spice Man does (and does not, including a shirt), on a beach, atop a white horse. It don’t get more Old Spicy than that. Except sitting behind him on the horse is David Harbour again. And instead of producing a bottle of Old Spice out of his palm, The Old Spice guy produces a bottle of Tide. Clever funny. Not really laugh out loud funny. But clever funny.
6. Human (featuring Danny Devito) | M&M’s
Danny Devito IS the red M&M. This may be the best casting decision ever made in the history of casting. Seriously. This ad is so good—so funny, so cute and so clever—that “Danny Devito” was trending on Twitter almost instantaneously once this commercial aired. We love everything about it. And we hope to see more Danny Devito as Red more often…and soon. (M&M’s people: please don’t make us wait ’til Super Bowl LIII)!
5. Tourism Australia Dundee with Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride | Australia Tourism
Ok you blokes and Sheilas of the Australia Tourism Board, you got us. At least for the first 30 seconds. Suspend belief for a little bit…could Danny McBride really be Crocodile Dundee’s kid? Ehhh… If you say so? What starts out as what looks like a trailer for the most ridiculous reboot of Crocodile Dundee ever turns out to be a tourism commercial for the country of Australia, repped more appropriately by the not at all ugly, Chris Hemsworth. We knew something was up when Hemsworth notes the miles and miles of untouched, pristine beaches. But when he mentions all the great Aussie wine? Yeah, we knew. This is a tourism ad.
Leave it to the fine folks of Australia to take it one step further. They just dropped this: THE EXTENDED CUT. We only have one question: Would someone please make this movie? Please?
4. “Stand By You” | Budweiser
We admit it. Openly and freely. This one got us. Juuuuuust a little choked up. We got a little verklempt. We can’t say a tear fully formed and rolled down our cheeks but it was definitely cookin’ up in those tear ducts of ours.
Interesting, it was another year with no Clydesdales. It seems for the second year in a row, America’s beer, or so the folks at Budweiser call their brand, has used choice ad time to remind us all how deeply woven into the fabric of our American story Bud is. You may remember last year’s Super Bowl ad, which told the story of Budweiser’s co-founder and his immigration from Germany to the US. This year it’s the story of a Budweiser factory worker who produces cans of water rather than beer to help in the emergency response efforts for this past year’s natural disasters in California, Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas.
While we prefer the funny ads to the more serious ones, we gotta give it up to Budweiser on this one. Well done.
3. Alexa Loses Her Voice | Amazon
We couldn’t help but wonder how much this commercial cost to make with all its stars, including celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, rapper Cardi B, actress Fat Amy AKA Rebel Wilson, and acting great Anthony Hopkins most recently of HBO’s Westworld fame. But then again, when the company paying for the spot is Amazon, which is owned by the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, who also has a cameo in the ad, we figure it’s probably a drop in the bucket. “You’re 32 years of age and you don’t know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich! The name is the recipe!” Too too good. We loved this part the most. Also, Cardi B kills it in this ad.
2. Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice with Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman
In a pair of back to back ads, Doritos and Mountain Dew paired a couple famous actors with a couple famous rappers to the tune of what could be argued as their most iconic songs. The first ad, which was for Doritos, had us immediately, opening on HBO’s Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, sporting his signature blond Tyrion Lannister hair, rapping among flames to Busta Rhymes’ “Look at Me Now”, with a cameo by Busta, and finishing by breathing a small wisp of fire. And just when we didn’t think it could get any better, it did. Oh, it so did.
The second ad, this time for Mountain Dew, opens on God himself, Mr. Morgan Freeman. He opens a bottle of Mountain Dew Ice, takes a drink, and opens his mouth. God’s voice does not come out. Oh no. Instead, it’s Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On,” complete with a cameo from Missy herself. Mind. Blown. It’s hard to call this Morgan Freeman’s best work as that would belittle the likes of cinematic gems such as the classic The Shawshank Redemption, among many others. But this 30 seconds of marketing gold is up there. It’s way, way up there.
1. Touchdown Celebrations to Come | the NFL
This was, hands-down, no question, our favorite ad of the night. We watched it over and over and over. Dying laughing. Incredulous they got Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. to do this. And impressed how well they did. We also couldn’t help but think that this ad was the NFL shamelessly grabbing for the attention of female audiences—because the ladies do love Dirty Dancing. And then we thought about it for another second and stopped caring. It was that good.
“Just let ’em dance.” Oh, so good.
Which was your favorite? Send us a tweet @TheHungryFan and we’ll add your vote and update this blog in the coming weeks!