Editors’ Picks: The best, the worst of Super Bowl 56 Commercials

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Caleb Steindel, News Editor/Staff Writer

Some like the game. Some like the food. Some like the halftime show. But every year, millions of people switch on their televisions in mid-February just to watch the Super Bowl commercials. Today, the HawkEye staff submits their selections for various Super Bowl commercial superlatives – everything from Most Creative to Most Disturbing.

As the lead editor for this story, I don’t know what drove each writer’s selections. For me, some of the most fascinating commercials didn’t even get included. The Alexa commercial with Scarlett Johansen and Colin Jost, for example, was a difficult one for me to place, and it doesn’t make my superlatives list. On the one hand, it was pretty hysterical, and self-deprecating humor always gets bonus points from me. On the other hand, the cardinal sin of advertising is digging into that humor too hard and accidentally making your product seem pretty weird, and that’s what Alexa did. Take our lists with a grain of salt – and, we’re sorry if your favorite one didn’t make the cut. 🙂

ONWARD!

CALEB STEINDEL’S PICKS

Most Successful Commercial: Doritos/Cheetos

It was funny, it was memorable, it was thematic, and it was animated nicely. There may have been other commercials that were more hysterical or more deeply emotional, but animals dancing and beatboxing in the woods while eating chips is a scene that really grabs your attention. It’s also successful because you’re never going to remember the commercial without thinking of Doritos. Plus, the bear twerking at the end of the video was probably the highlight of all Superbowl commercials. 

Funniest Commercial – E*TRADE Baby “Off the Grid”

It is absolutely ludicrous that many of the top articles on Super Bowl commercials have failed to mention this absolutely genius throwback. E-Trade had the country in fits with their brilliant talking baby commercials ten years, and reigniting the campaign was a brilliant move. In this commercial, adults called on a backwoods baby to rejoin society because people needed his investment advice. His response? “I’ll get my onesies.” Utterly hysterical.

Catchiest Jingle:  Avocados From Mexico

At this point, I’ve begun labeling Avocados From Mexico as a Super Bowl brand. There’s some truth to that since they really play the guacamole card strong and seem to do their best work during the big game. This year they featured a commercial about an ancient Roman tailgating party at which one fellow miraculously unites everyone else through his gift of guac. But I’m just here for the jingle. Sing it with me! “Avocados From Mexico!”

Most Creative Commercial: Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage “Dream House with Anna Kendrick and Barbie”

The first 10 seconds of this ad seemed like just another toy commercial, so when the Rocket reveal hit and Kendrick and the kids somehow turned it into a brilliant bit about home buying, my mouth hit the floor. On paper, using Barbie dolls as fictional people searching for property seems like a swing and a miss, but they certainly shocked me.

Most Heartwarming Commercial: Toyota: Start Your Impossible

Man, some of these car commercials just hit differently. Toyota continues its streak of emotional commercials with a tale of a man named Brian, who lost his eyesight. Through hard work and dedication, however, he went on to win 10 Paralympic medals with his twin brother. From the sadness of Brian’s diagnosis to the jubilation of Paralympic victory, Toyota’s commercial truly hits all the right notes. 

Best Trailer: Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

As a massive fan of all things Tolkien, I am admittedly nervous about this upcoming TV show. It could easily be a massive cash grab that severely disrespects the source material, but I am still hopeful that it will do the author justice. I gleefully anticipated the arrival of the trailer, and while it did not satisfy my appetite, I was definitely intrigued. The brilliant settings and complicated characters teased in the trailer have given me some hope – but I shall withhold judgment until September. 

Coolest Celebrity Cameo:  BMW “Zeus and Hera”

From Scarlett Johanson to Larry David, Superbowl 56 had plenty of celebrity cameos in its commercials. But, perhaps the most delightfully unexpected was that of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek in a BMW commercial. The major twist? They were playing Greek Gods. As Zeus and Hera, the pair navigate retired life despite countless problems, and while Zeus can’t use his powers to make life easy, the all-new electrical car from BMW seems to solve most of the issues. It’s just such a funny, random conglomeration that I can’t help but give it this award. 

Most Offensive Commercial: Uber Eats “Uber Don’t Eats”

Uber Eats is no stranger to controversial commercials (see Simone Biles/Jonathan van Ness in 2020), but this one can be labeled offensive for a slightly more subtle reason. Actors putting on a show of consuming non-food items reeks of the Tide Pod Challenge – a trend that killed dozens. Furthermore, the habit of eating non-food items is actually a medical condition called pica. Besides all this, the commercial wasn’t all that funny and didn’t make much sense. Problematic, to say the least. 

Most Disturbing Commercial: Meta Quest 2 “Old Friends. New Fun.”

Yikes. This was pretty creepy, both on a superficial and deeper level. The Five Nights at Freddy’s-esque animatronics were horrifying, and pretty strangely designed for a commercial that’s going to be seen by the entire world. Plus, the brand’s message is basically “jump into the metaverse, succumb to groupthink, and let us shape your reality and all your problems will go away.” Not exactly a message I was drawn to, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Good intentions, I’m sure, but the mark was definitely missed here. 

Worst Commercial: Miley Cyrus: Do It For the Phones

They tried so hard and they brought in such talented celebrities – but it turns out that this one made no sense. There was no story behind the cellphone anthem, and with Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton along for the ride, it makes the commercial even more disappointing. Talent = wasted. Plus, it wasn’t quite bizarre enough to be funny, which means that the commercial was just boring and confusing with no discernible, substantial message.

 

Dr. T’s picks:

Most Successful Commercial: jungle animals v human in Dorito’s commercial – not only because we LOL’d but because wildlife acting improbably is a huge draw AND the product identification was clear from the beginning

Best Slogan: avocados from Mexico

Funniest Commercial: McDonald’s ‘can I get aaaahhhh?!” so true

Catchiest Jingle <<NOTHING I’m not singing anything!>>

Most Creative Commercial: Rocket Mortgage. Anna Kendrick with Barbie setting had a clear message and brand from the beginning.

Most Heartwarming Commercial: Billie Jean King and Title IX. Oh my heart. 

Best Trailer: “Nope”

Coolest Celebrity Cameo: Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus (do it for the 5G phones!) 

Most Offensive: Planet Fitness with Lindsay Lohan not DUI but DIY (really? DUI is never a laughing matter)

Most Disturbing Commercial: Alexa can read your mind! yikes!

Worst Commercial: UberEats: really? Eating EVERYTHING? Don’t waste my time grossing me out.

Best Message: Salesforce (giving shade but a strong message: engage, life is here)

 

SUPERBOWL SUPERLATIVES: JESS STALEY, Features Editor

Most Successful Commercial: Verizon had a lot of commercials but the one with Jim Carey was the best one! 

Best Slogan:  ‘Advancing caring everywhere. UPMC advancing life everywhere’ 

Funniest Commercial:  Jungle animals with the hot Doritos commercial

Most Heartwarming Commercial:  Little girl with Downs Syndrome and Geisinger hospital

Best Trailer: Jurassic World

Coolest Celebrity Cameo:  5G phones with Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus

 

Naajia Ali, Staff Cartoonist

Most Successful Commercial: Bring Down The House

This commercial was fun to watch.

Most Creative Commercial: toy dog commercial 

It was cute and adorable how the toy dog found an owner at the end. Plus, the classic ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ was playing.

Best Trailer: Doctor Strange  

I’m so excited for this movie.

Coolest Celebrity Cameo: SquareSpace commercial starring Zendaya and André 3000 in  or Toyota Commercial starring Leslie jones, Felicia Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, and Nick Jonas 

Worst Commercial: Coinbace, to me it wasn’t that bad, but most people didn’t like it so I put this as my pick