c/o Uber Eats

c/o Uber Eats

Ah, the Super Bowl. Consumerism cannot be defined or exemplified better by any other spectacle than the annual NFL Championship game: It’s for everyone. If you want to consume sports, violence, drama, strategy, and victory, the game is there. If you want to consume music, performance, choreography, fame, and talent, the halftime show is there. And, if you’re like me and want to consume products, celebrities, comedy, wit, and late-stage capitalism, the ads are there.

Super Bowl ads are famous for being the pinnacle of American consumerist media, often featuring a-list celebrities, costing tens of millions of dollars, and attempting to capture the nation’s subconscious need to “BUY BUY BUY!”

Though this year was not my favorite in Super Bowl advertisement history, it did feature some triumphs and defeats, some epic highs and lows, and some that were just… there. For this analysis, I’ll be highlighting some of the worst and best commercials with my official ranking system, rating them on a scale of one to five in the categories of Concept, Elevation, Originality, Celebrity, Influence, Timing, and Entertainment (CEO-CITE).

Concept: is it a fun/important idea and does it have a good aesthetic? Elevation: does this go beyond a normal commercial and belong at the Superbowl? Originality: has someone done this before? Celebrity: who’s in it and are they cool? Influence: on my emotions (does it make me laugh or cry or go “wow”) and on my memory (did it leave a lasting impact?). Timing: was it well placed in both the Super Bowl and the American consciousness? Entertainment: pretty simply, did I enjoy watching it? 

I should add that I did not rate any trailers (with one exception), any Olympics ads, any ads for streaming services, or any NBC ads, though all of these categories had many, many iterations.

Starting off strong, let’s look at the only trailer I deemed worth rating: “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness. I’ve been looking forward to this movie ever since Wanda Maximoff kidnapped a town in “WandaVision” and Loki committed autocest while splitting up the sacred timeline in “Loki,” and the trailer did not disappoint. However, it aired very early in the night, leaving some late arrivers such as myself to watch it after the game, and—even though it is a major Marvel Cinematic Universe project—no trailer feels fully right to have at the Superbowl.

I gave it a five for concept (Marvel knows what they’re doing), three for elevation (it is a trailer at the Superbowl), three for originality (I’m sure the movie is original, the trailer felt like any other), four for celebrity (Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, and Patrick Stewart, oh my!), two for influence (it made me excited but not much else), two for timing (again, too early in the night), and five for entertainment (my eyes were glued to the screen the whole time), bringing its total score to 24 out of 35.

Another good spot early in the broadcast was the BMW electric vehicle ad featuring Zeus (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Hera (Salma Hayek). It begins with the king and queen of the gods announcing their retirement from ruling over Mount Olympus, following the couple as they live a domestic life. Of course, cursed with the power of lightning, Zeus is plagued by neighbors and friends asking him to charge their devices. It is, in the end, an ad for BMW’s electric iX car. When Hera presents the vehicle to her husband, he is reinvigorated with godly spirit, and the pair go for a joyride.

I gave it a four for concept (it was creative, well-executed, and witty), four for elevation (it felt very much like a Super Bowl commercial, but fives are reserved for outstanding candidates), four for originality (same as before, very original and witty, but not quite a five), three for celebrity (Hayek and Schwarzenegger were great; I would’ve liked to see more cameos), four for influence (it made me laugh), four for timing (it could’ve been better later in the game, but it didn’t feel out of place), and a four for entertainment (I was engaged, but the bit got a little old), bringing its total to 27 out of 35. 

One commercial that I remember for the wrong reasons was the Roman-tailgating-themed ad for “Avocados from Mexico.” The commercial itself wasn’t terrible—my only major grievance being that its setting of a tailgate at the Roman colosseum felt unrelated to the product—but the context? Hilariously awful, as this ad came only two days before the Department of Agriculture announced a ban on imported Mexican avocados. I giggled a little at the comic timing as I wrote this.

I gave this commercial a three for concept (it was fun but, again, a little disjointed), three for elevation (it could’ve aired during any normal broadcast, but it didn’t feel out of place), four for originality (nobody else has put together avocados, Romans, and tailgating, to my knowledge), three for celebrity (there were no celebrities in it, but I’m not mad at that), three for influence (I remember it, but not for good reasons), zero for timing (I’m still laughing, in case anybody was wondering), and two for entertainment (I mean… it was alright), giving it a total of 18 out of 35.

I wish I didn’t have to rate this one, but I feel strongly enough about it that it has to be included: the Coinbase bouncing QR code. Let me confess to you, dear reader. I hate Crypto. I think it’s a bubble, I think it’s unnecessary, and I think it’s a way for people to avoid financial accountability. I just do not like it one bit. So perhaps my rating might be biased.

I gave it a one for concept (I mean, it was there), zero for elevation (it’s a screensaver playing at the Superbowl), four for originality (I hate to give it this; I’m only doing it because nobody else has ever been as stupidly bold to come up with it), zero for celebrity (there was nobody in it), zero for influence (other than unreasonably angry, I felt no emotion), two for timing (it is coming during the crypto revolution but, again, at the Superbowl), and zero for entertainment (I cannot stress enough that it was a QR code bouncing slowly around the screen), bringing its total to 7 out of 35, our lowest score yet.

But now that we’ve touched on one commercial I did not like, let’s look at my favorites! 

Starting off with my third place pick is the Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage commercial featuring Anna Kendrick. This one was just so good: It had star power, it had humor, it was self-aware; I just loved it so much. It doesn’t quite edge into the top two spots, but it is certainly one of my favorites. The ad takes a well-overdone advertising concept with Barbie’s dream house and turns it into a bidding war meant to reflect the incredibly crazy real-estate climate of the nation right now.

I gave it a five for concept (it was well thought out, executed, and aestheticized), a four for elevation (it was just shy of being perfectly at the Superbowl level, something felt a little common about it), five for originality (it’s a lovely subversion of both the real estate commercial trope and the Barbie commercial trope), four for celebrity (it would’ve been cool with another celebrity cameo, but Kendrick really carried it), five for influence (it made me giggle; it was memorable; I loved it), four for timing (it felt more like a first-half commercial than a second-half commercial), and five for entertainment (it was a fun twist; I was captivated), bringing its overall score to 32 out of 35.

My second-place pick also centers on a celebrity, this time featuring fallen-from-grace “Mean Girls” star Lindsay Lohan. Lohan, who has had very public and picked-apart controversies, comes back with a vengeance in an ad supporting Planet Fitness, of all things. It shows her improving her life in various ways, with little cameos throughout of other celebrities. It was a funny, quick-witted, and tongue-in-cheek way to capture the idea of self-improvement, and I applaud both Planet Fitness and Lohan for this work. 

I gave it a five for concept (beautiful, well thought-out), four for elevation (it was very fitting for the Superbowl given all the celebrities, the production value, etc., but there was something missing), five for originality (I mean come on, Lindsay Lohan’s Planet Fitness reputation era?), five for celebrity (Lohan, William Shatner, Dennis Rodman, Buzzy Cohen and Danny Trejo all in one commercial), four for influence (my only gripe with this was that I had to watch it again to remember what happened, but it made me laugh), five for timing (it was perfectly placed in the game and in an era where 2000s stars are coming back into view), and a five for entertainment (it was so much fun), bringing its total to 33 out of 35: two points away from perfect.

Speaking of perfect, my number one slot for the crowned victor of the night: the “Uber Don’t Eats” commercial. To put it plainly, this commercial was stupid. It was a stupid concept, stupid execution, and that was what made it so funny. It was ridiculous enough that I had to laugh, but smart enough that I had to give it kudos. The ad features various celebrities trying to consume non-edible goods delivered by Uber Eats, as they are confused by the label on the bag.

As the commercial’s star, Jennifer Coolidge puts it: “If it was delivered with Uber Eats, does that mean I can eats it?”

I gave it fives across the board. I feel no need to explain myself here, if you disagree let me know. It had star power, humor, elevation, and production value. It was just the quintessential Super Bowl commercial, up there with “Alexa Loses Her Voice” and Betty White’s Snickers commercial. A perfect 35 out of 35.

I wish I could go into every ranking I did, but alas, there needs to be room for at least one other article in The Argus today. I’m by no means an objective source, an art critic, or anything of the sort. I just love to consume consumerism itself, and what better way to indulge than by rating the Super Bowl ads? So, dear reader, if you’ve made it this far, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. What’s next for me? I’m going to Disneyland.


Sam Hilton can be reached at shilton@wesleyan.edu.

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