I have twice over now graced this lovely paper with opinions that nobody asked for on the commercials featured during the National Football League (NFL) championship game, with levels of disappointment increasing between Super Bowls LVI and LVII. As such, I had perhaps unrealistic expectations that this year would pull me out of my disillusioned slump. This was not the case.

The star power was lacking, the repetition was bland, and the references were dated, not to mention the fact that the game backdropping the ads was upsettingly boring, with only three touchdowns scored during regulation. The Chiefs’ dynasty-making victory notwithstanding, it was a mid night for all but Taylor Swift and a very confused Ice Spice.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the ads, though, I’ll give you all a recap of the ways I will be judging them. I will rate all of these ads on a scale of 0 to 5 in seven categories: Concept (is it a sound idea), Elevation (does it belong at the Super Bowl or is it more in the unskippable-YouTube-ad territory), Originality (regardless of whether it’s good or bad, is it original), Celebrity (were there—and/or should there have been—celebrities in it), Influence (did it leave me feeling something or even remembering that it happened), Timing (in both the game and the American consciousness, is this well-timed), and Entertainment (quite frankly, was I bored or not). A perfect score is 35, and an absolutely awful score is 0.

In addition, as with previous years, I’m not including trailers or Paramount+ ads in my ratings. To echo myself from last year: you can’t make me. Na-na-na, boo-boo.

The Forgettable “Don’t Forget” Uber Eats Ad

Avid readers of my annual musings will remember that my highest-rated ad to date is Super Bowl LVI’s Uber Eats “Can I Eats It?” ad. It is, to this day, the only ad that I have rated a perfect 35 out of 35. It felt Super Bowl to me. So, I had high hopes when this year’s “Don’t Forget Uber Eats” ad began and I saw the little green logo on a bag. Yet it sadly did not live up to its predecessor in my eyes.

The whole concept of the ad was cute but a bit boring: the idea that “To remember something you have to forget something else,” with celebrities displaying that Uber Eats allows them to remember their groceries, but they must forget some topical part of their persona. Something about it just fell flat to me. It was better than most ads this year, don’t get me wrong, but when you contextualize it with the icon-status “Can I Eats it?” ad, it did not deliver (no pun intended).

I gave it a 3 for concept (it wasn’t fantastic, it wasn’t horrible), 5 for elevation (it was still a very Super Bowl-esque commercial, featuring many celebrities doing different things with a product), 4 for originality (it was a cute idea, not the most original in the world but not the most boring either), 4 for celebrity (it could’ve benefited from a few more, but it was still all right), 2 for influence (it bored me rather quickly), 4 for timing (it aired during the third quarter and felt like one of the last real ads in the game, as advertisers tend to thin out their content post-halftime show), and 3 for entertainment (like it was fine I guess), bringing its total to 24 out of 35, a sad fall from grace for the once-mighty Uber Eats.

c/o temu

c/o Temu

Temu Disrespecting the Art of the Super Bowl

You know when something is normal the first time, and then annoying the second, and then even more annoying the third, and then a little funny the fourth, and then really funny the fifth? That’s how last night’s ads for cheap online marketplace Temu felt to me. Sorry, did I say ads? I meant ad. Just one. That they repeated. Five times. And nothing changed about the ad! I’m fine with brands repeating, so long as they change their ads, but no! This was the same ad, you guys!

The commercial itself was really not good. One of my friends with whom I watched the game remarked that the ad itself felt like it was bought on Temu. It was a poorly 3D-animated attempt to show all the goods you can buy on Temu, with a tone reminiscent of unskippable mobile game ads. But the beauty of it was in how many times it played. We couldn’t believe it. All of us crowded into a senior house living room eventually just yelled at the screen by the fifth time it was playing.

I gave it a 1 for concept (it was not well-made, guys), 0 for elevation (see aforementioned unskippable app store ad comparison), 1 for originality (it was nothing), 0 for celebrity (what was this ad), 3 for influence (it did have me irritated, laughing my ass off, and rolling my eyes), a rule-breaking and rare -1 for timing (I violate my own guidelines this once because this is a ridiculous case), and a 1 for entertainment (it was just incredulity to be honest), giving it a dismal 5 out of 35. This, my friends, is the lowest rating to date for my Super Bowl review series, barely beating out CoinBase’s 2022 bouncing QR code, which garnered 7 out of 35.

Okay, “He Gets Us,” We Get It

Last year, I chickened out. I didn’t review the controversial “He Gets Us” ad in Super Bowl LVII because I was scared to get cancelled. But now, as you may have noticed from my byline, I control the free press, and I will thus use my uncensorable platform to speak on this issue.

c/o He Gets Us

Let’s begin by noting that this year, two ads from “He Gets Us,” a Christian image rehabilitation group, aired during the game, one during the first quarter and one during the second. It was fascinating, as we discussed the morning after in my class “American Christianities: What Do Christians Want?” (RELI226), to notice that in the first of these ads, the foot-washing had deeply political undertones. In many cases, the ad depicted an individual often associated with American right-wing Christian evangelicalism washing the feet of someone they might stereotypically oppose (e.g. a cop washing a Black man’s feet, a pro-life protestor outside a family planning clinic washing a tattooed patient’s feet, an oil rig worker washing an environmental activist’s feet, a priest washing a seemingly queer person’s feet, etc.).

This has sparked discourse among the Christian right on social media, with many claiming that whatever evangelism this accomplishes will lead people to Hell. But I don’t think evangelism was the point of the ad. God knows it doesn’t reflect the views of its most prominent financial backer, the billionaire family behind Hobby Lobby. It’s not meant to convert, it’s meant to pacify, to soften public opinion on Christianity rather than to make more people Christian. At least, that’s how I read it.

The second ad was less interesting, more broadly about loving thy neighbor. Together, though, the amount of money spent on those ads must have been astronomical. I’ll get off my little soapbox now and actually rate it, but if you want more of my thoughts on these ads please reach out, as I have so many.

I’m only going to rate the foot-washing ad because the “Who is my neighbor?” spot was much more boring to me. I gave “Washing Feet” a 4 for concept (it gets the job done, I gotta say), 2 for elevation (could be something I skip on a YouTube video essay, to be honest), 3 for originality (it would be lower, considering they stole the whole concept from the Bible, but it tonally felt different than the usual ad, which counts for something), 4 for celebrity (it would’ve been funny if the queer person at the end was like James Charles or something, but I can live without that), 5 for influence (perhaps this is me personally, but I love a fascinating case study in religious criticism), 2 for timing (in the game, fine; in the cultural consciousness, Christians aren’t in danger of losing hegemony, I’m sorry), and 3 for entertainment (it was kinda just a bunch of still images at the end of the day), giving it a total of 23 out of 35, not too shabby.

Kennedy. Kennedy? KENNEDY?! Kennedy…

This ad, though not the highest rated on my list, was certainly my favorite by far this year. I’m a historian by trade and a lover of camp by heart and, dear reader, this was a crossover of my two callings. The ad was a callback to the 60s, with a chorus of voices echoing the Massachusetts dynasty’s name as images of Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. flashed across the screen, along with “Vote Independent” and the candidate’s last name. It felt mildly dystopian, remarkably outlandish, and ridiculously eye-catching. I loved it.

c/o American Values 2024

c/o American Values 2024

Also, RFK had to apologize to his family because the ad is literally just a replica of a TV spot from John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign with pictures and messages changed. I’m not kidding. It’s exactly the same. This is hilarious to me. This combined with the “He Gets Us” ads made my history and religion double major rather topical.

I gave it a 4 for concept (for a candidate who relies on regression in medical thought and American nostalgia, it makes sense), 2 for elevation (if you told me it was a campaign ad for a Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) senator, I’d believe you), 3 for originality (I don’t know how to rate this, he’s producing a carbon copy of a JFK political ad and isn’t adding anything new, but for 2024 it’s certainly original), 5 for celebrity (RFK and RFK alone is all I need to see), 5 for influence (it prompted me to tweet at my professor asking his thoughts on it), 3 for timing (it’s funny coming on the heels of Nikki Haley’s loss to “none of these candidates”), and 5 for entertainment (I was physically vibrating with excitement, as Executive Editor Rachel Wachman ’24, Sports Editor Erin Byerly ’25, and Staff Writer Sulan Bailey ’25 can attest), giving it a 27 out of 35. That might be controversial, but I loved it.

Verizon Was Able To Afford Beyoncé?

c/o Verizon

I can feel the total bills of Verizon wireless customers skyrocketing as I write this. Watching Beyonce and Tony Hale attempt to break the internet was a phenomenal experience, don’t get me wrong, but the whole time I was wondering how Verizon was able to afford Beyonce for that long of an ad. That said, it was a deeply enjoyable watch, and though the concept of breaking the internet is a bit dated, it still kept me deeply enthused. Plus, Tony Hale and Beyonce are such an unlikely duo that it was bound to draw me in. Paired with the announcement of her album Act II and her single “Texas Hold ’Em,” this was a stunning addition to the Super Bowl repertoire.

I gave it a 3 for concept (it loses points because the idea of breaking the internet feels cheugy to me), 5 for elevation (production value incredible, multi shots, everything a Super Bowl ad needs), 4 for originality (it was really good, but something felt like it was missing), 5 for celebrity (need I explain?), 4 for influence (I’m an AT&T girly so I’d never switch over, but it sure made it appealing), 5 for timing (right after the halftime show, at which it was teased), and 5 for entertainment (it was a fun watch, what can I say), giving it a total of 31 out of 35, our second highest in this year’s slate.

Honorable (and Dishonorable) Mentions

Shoutout to all the Goff Law ads we got, the Aubrey Plaza ad that was great but has been airing online for at least a week, and the Quinta Brunson tax ad. They were all sure there. Same with the Pfizer ad, though nothing could make me root for them (sorry Editor-in-Chief Anne Kiely ’24). Shoutout to the Home.com and Apartments.com ads for being as repetitive as Temu, but at least they were different ads each time.

c/o Dunkin’

c/o Dunkin’

Special notoriety also goes to the Dunkin Dunkings commercial (with Ben Affleck and company dressed in Psi U-esque fits), I can’t say I could ever support being from Boston (sorry Anne, again) or being married to Jennifer Lopez, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Also, the Michael Cera/Cerave crossover was fun, but I’m running out of words.

I’d also like to make a quick complaint about the slew of betting ads. They were in Vegas, I get it. Las Vegas is for gambling, I get it. Why did we need so many gambling ads? Maybe it was a normal number and I just noticed more because they were in Sin City. Maybe I’m just particularly aware of gambling right now because of WesWell’s Super Bowl Gambling competition. Who knows. But I will say I got tired of Fanduel ads quickly.

Tina Fey? Tina Slay! (Alternately: You’re a Winner, Fey-by)

The crown of highest-rated ad this year goes to Booking.com. Their “Somewhere, Anywhere” commercial featuring Melissa McCarthy last year was rather mid in my mind, and I didn’t have high hopes for the travel company going into LVIII. But they blew me out of the water. This ad had everything. It had multiple cameos from Fey’s “30 Rock” cast-mates (notably absent was Alec Baldwin, our favorite allegedly involuntary manslaughtering Boss Baby) and icon Glenn Close, and it generally just felt like it had the je ne sais quoi of a Super Bowl ad.


c/o Booking.com

c/o Booking.com

I gave it a 5 for concept (so much better than “Somewhere, Anywhere”), a 5 for elevation (this is how you do it, everyone), 5 for originality (it felt non-derivative, fresh, fun), 4 for celebrity (give me Alec Baldwin), 5 for influence (loved it, booking dot yeah), 5 for timing (I think 30 Rock should have a resurgence, and I hope this sparks it), and a 5 for entertainment (I genuinely enjoyed watching it and seeing what was next), giving it a near-perfect 34 out of 35.


It saddens me that this is my second-to-last year doing this whole shebang, but I’m grateful I get one more turn around the sun before I’m put out to pasture. So, here’s to LIX’s ads reversing course on the trend. I want another 35 out of 35 next year, ya hear?

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