This was a rather disappointing year for those who pay more attention to Super Bowl commercial breaks than to the game itself. The most high-profile ads of the year are intended to stir emotion, whether insurance company tear-jerkers or fast-food comedy fests. But this year’s crop barely made us feel anything. Not a single tear was shed. Only a few smiles were cracked.WpGet the full experience.Choose your planArrowRight
How psyched are we expected to get about cryptocurrency? Very, these spots would suggest. There were a handful of exceptions to the emotionless trend, inspiring either disappointment or disgust. Some simply wasted the potential of their celebrity cameos — let Dolly Parton do more! — while others made those celebrities try eating inedible objects (we’ll get to it).
In no particular order, here are the year’s five worst Super Bowl commercials.
Billed as “the first godmother-goddaughter ad in Super Bowl history,” a distinction no one cares to put in the history books, Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus come together for T-Mobile in a two-part mock-PSA about 5G. It even features a schmaltzy “We Are The World”-type anthem, “Let’s Do it For the Phones,” for which there is a full-length music video that we do not recommend. It’s not quite over-the-top enough to be funny, and it’s also an absolute waste of Parton’s immense talents (though her Super Bowl track record is not great — she made our worst list last year, too).
Larry David is a contrarian for the ages — and, in this commercial, through the ages. As a Founding Father, he pushes back on a motion to grant people the right to vote: “Even the stupid ones?” he asks. He looks Thomas Edison in the eye and says his lightbulb “stinks.” He insists no one will ever go to the moon: “It’s far! It’s too far! It’s far!”AdvertisementStory continues below advertisement
Cut to a man pitching David on FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange platform. David isn’t convinced.
“Eh, I don’t think so,” he says, “and I’m never wrong about this stuff.”
But the ad goes on to warn viewers against being “like Larry. Don’t miss out on the next big thing.” The quick pivot to crypto is a bit unsettling, as is the growing trend of celebrities pushing something that, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, poses much more of a risk to the average viewer. Just as “South Park” parodied Matt Damon shilling for Crypto.com, David’s spot seems more like something he would poke fun at on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
We’ll give Coinbase a few points for coming up with an intriguing commercial, consisting of a QR code changing colors and bouncing around a screen in a manner similar to that one bouncing DVD logo. It seems that enough people scanned the QR code for the Coinbase app to crash during the game. But we’ll also take away a couple points for the “ugh, again?” reveal of this being an ad for yet another cryptocurrency exchange platform. (See reasoning above.)
Uber Eats wants America to know that it delivers more than just food. So it delivers some not-food to celebrities including Jennifer Coolidge, Trevor Noah, Gwyneth Paltrow and “Succession’s” Nicholas Braun — who eat it. The bag says “Uber Eats,” after all. Coolidge munches on some paper towels. Noah bites a pencil and a lightbulb. Paltrow takes a hunk off her infamous “This smells like my vagina” candle.AdvertisementStory continues below advertisement
It’s all set to the tune of that insidious TikTok earworm, “Oh No.”
“Fun” fact: Eating things that aren’t food is technically a disorder called pica. Though the commercial has small print at the bottom discouraging people from tasting their inedible Eats deliveries — no one wants to be responsible for the next Tide Pods challenge — the commercial was so cringeworthy that it prompted a response from a government agency: “Do not eat soap,” the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tweeted partway through the game.
Avocados from Mexico is generally a reliable source of funny Super Bowl commercials, but this year’s — set in the Colosseum parking lot — felt a little dry. It begins with a group of ancient Romans standing around and bemoaning the poor state of their tailgate, during which it is announced that Maximus the Great, the emperor, has died. It seems there is no salvaging the gathering, until they notice a fan of the rival team mashing some Avocados from Mexico.AdvertisementStory continues below advertisement
Finally, a way to liven things up! Everyone — including ancient Romans, apparently — loves guacamole. Andy Richter as Julius Caesar walks by with a salad, topped with avocado.
The ad is inoffensive in its dullness but, unfortunately, things are worse in real life. According to the Associated Press, the United States recently suspended avocado imports from Mexico “after a U.S. plant safety inspector in Mexico received a threatening message.”
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