Super Bowl 2018: Best and worst ads

The best and the worst of Super Bowl 52’s commercials and advertisements

Casey Loving, Reporter

Worst: 5. The car commercials

This is a bit of a cop out, but the worst Super Bowl ads always seem to be car commercials by a mile. I guess it’s just nearly impossible to sell a car based on merit alone, so car companies just have to throw something flashy at the screen and hope that audiences remember that there was actually a vehicle at the end. Very rarely does a car commercial actually have anything to do with a what’s being sold, and they typically fall into either the category of emotional manipulation or (usually) failed attempts at comedy. If you can’t even get me excited by slapping Marvel superheroes onto your brand, you know you have a problem.

Best: 5. Jeep – “Jurassic”

The exception that proves the rule. I’m a big dork. “Jurassic Park” is my favorite movie of all time, and I’m a sucker for Jeff Goldblum. Even if I usually hate car commercials, there’s something about Goldblum’s signature voice and manic expressions that make him impossible to turn away from. Between seeing one of my favorite scenes of all time, seeing one of my favorite actors of all time and seeing one of my favorite actors riff on one of my favorite scenes, I simply couldn’t leave this Jeep ad off of my list, car commercial or not.

Worst: 4. Pringles – “Wow”

A staple of Super Bowl commercials is to throw in big-name, recognizable actors so they can do something silly enough that high schoolers will run the ad into the ground within a week. Pringles tried its hand at this tactic with its commercial, enlisting SNL alum Bill Hader to look at a stack of several Pringles of different flavors and say “Wow” several times before yelling at someone in the corner. Funny, right? The whole ad felt like an old SNL skit, and, much like an SNL skit, it went on long enough that the joke got old before the cut to black. Honestly, it’s kind of impressive that the gag could already wear its welcome in the 30-second spot.

Best: 4. NFL – “Touchdowns to Come”
I might get some heat for this ad being so low on my list, but at least it’s still in the top five. There is no denying that watching Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. perform the signature “Dirty Dancing” routine on a practice football field is hilarious. Even as someone who isn’t a huge fan of football or “Dirty Dancing,” I have to admit that seeing the players perform the iconic lift got me laughing. I’m well aware that I’m in the minority by not having this commercial in my top three, let alone my No. 1 slot. Even if my personal disconnect was too strong to put this one any higher, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the best ads of the night.

Worst: 3. Diet Coke Twisted Mango – “Groove”

This one hurts. Maybe the point of this ad was to be awkward, but, if so, they might’ve gone a step too far. Watching the definition of a hipster white girl take a sip of Mango Diet Coke and start dancing like an idiot had me cringing in my seat harder than the game’s infamous straddle tackle. I’m well aware that I’m not the best dancer, but if drinking Mango Diet Coke makes me do anything remotely similar to that, I think I’ll take my chances with Dr Pepper.

Best: 3.  The Cloverfield Paradox

“Cloverfield” movies have been known for their viral marketing. Two years ago when “10 Cloverfield Lane” was announced with a trailer a mere two months before the film’s release, I thought there was nothing the studio could do to improve upon their surprise marketing. Boy was I wrong. Seeing a 30-second ad for “The Cloverfield Paradox” (previously titled “God Particle”) had me surprised enough, as the movie had seemingly halted production and been postponed, with Netflix having recently acquired production rights. What got me even more excited was the fact that, as was announced online, the film would be available to all Netflix users as soon as the Super Bowl was over. Even if the trailer was generic and failed to mention the movie’s post-Super Bowl release, the marketing tactic was just too shocking and genius for me to leave it off of my list.

Worst: 2. Skyscraper

I’ve been aware of what people are calling Dwayne Johnson’s “Die Hard” for months, and I actually found myself looking forward to the film’s Super Bowl trailer. Dwayne Johnson is an insanely charismatic actor and phenomenal action star. Why not give him a shot at an ’80s action movie? This trailer showed me why not. “Skyscraper” had one of the most generic action trailers I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. Everything was dark and on fire. Guns were being fired. Families were being kidnapped. Wait, haven’t I seen this before? To be fair, I can’t say the trailer was without laughs.  I couldn’t keep myself from laughing at the manufactured tension of Johnson’s prosthetic leg actually slipping off of his body while he hangs from the building. Can’t say I’ve seen that one before.

Best: 2. M&Ms – “Human”

I’m sorry, but Danny DeVito will always be funny. The ad already had me giggling as DeVito, an M&M turned human, went around asking people if they’d like to eat him. DeVito then getting hit by a bus was only icing on the cake, a genuinely unexpected bit of physical comedy that did exactly what it was intended to do. Every year there are a select few Super Bowl commercials that actually nail their comedy, and this year M&Ms earned a high spot on that list.

Worst: Honorable Mention

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Maybe I’m biased because I’ve seen the full trailer, but the first look at “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was exactly what I expected it to be: pointless. Visually, the trailer was stunning, as the past few “Star Wars” installments have been. But even the visual flair couldn’t get me interested in the backstory of a character that simply doesn’t need one. The whole ad is just a promotion for a longer trailer, showing only quick action beats and lacking any major dialogue from Alden Ehrenreich as Solo himself. Both the Super Bowl ad and the full trailer seem sloppily put together, as if proof was needed that this movie was actually coming out (a fact that I have been doubting for weeks), complete with a title card that looks like its straight out of a LEGO video game. The best review I can give for this trailer, whether it’s the short or full version, is that my favorite part had to be Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and he never even gets a chance to speak.

Worst: 1. Ram – “Built to Serve”

You’d think that I’d gotten all of my car commercial bashing out of my system earlier, but Ram’s “Built to Serve” ad was so bad that it deserved a spot of its own. I said earlier that car commercials can be known to use the Super Bowl spot for emotional manipulation that has nothing to do with the cars they’re selling, but this takes that concept to a whole new level. Using repurposed dialogue from Martin Luther King Jr. to sell a car, Ram’s advertisement just comes off as being in bad taste. A lot of Super Bowl ads now try to make some sort of political commentary or socially conscious statement in hopes of creating a conversation, but usually the goal is for the conversation to be positive. Ram managed to do the exact opposite, cementing its spot as the most ignorant, unaware ad of the night. But hey, at least we’re talking about it.

Best: Honorable Mention

Sprint – Evelyn

Phone commercials are usually pretty hit or miss.  This year, Sprint managed to make a big hit. Rather than focusing on the “Can you hear me now” guy for the thousandth time (don’t worry, he makes a cameo), Sprint’s ad showcased an original, funny idea in which a slew of A.I. robots bully a man into switching phone providers. This ad perfectly rides the line of having the broad, easily accessible humor a Super Bowl ad needs without feeling annoying or overdone. If given the choice, I’d take Evelyn and her friends a hundred more times before I’d see yet another ad with the Verizon traitor.

Best: 1. Tide – “It’s a Tide Ad”

Was there any doubt as to what would take the top slot? After the first spot starring David Harbour, I’m not sure I went more than a few commercials the whole night without questioning whether I was watching a Tide ad, not to mention the times the screen went black. The Tide ads were a funny, genius way of promoting a less-than-exciting product, poking fun at the various types of Super Bowl commercials seen year after year. From having Harbour pose as a football player to having him replace Mr. Clean to having him recreate the Hopper dance from “Stranger Things” season 2, the running joke never seemed to get old, providing arguably the night’s biggest meme (sorry awkward Timberlake kid). The repetitive marketing was a clever, inventive parody of Super Bowl culture that had me wishing throughout the night that some of the lesser commercials would suddenly be replaced by Chief Hopper.