Super Bowl 2014 ads

The 2014 Super Bowl was pretty much done by halftime, so really all that was left was to watch the ads. We look at the best and the worst of the bunch.

The Super Bowl usually brings good football, and in between the hard hits and great plays, we get to laugh, cry — or mock — the companies that spent millions of dollars on a 30-second spot to advertise their products. Of course, this year’s Super Bowl was over by halftime, with the Seahawks ultimately pounding the Broncos 43-8. So all that was really left was to look at the ads.

We won’t include the special movie trailers for Amazing Spider-Man 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction, or Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as they deserve separate geek love. So here, in no particular order, are many of the best and worst ads from yesterday’s blowout.

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Doritos Cowboy Kid

Doritos always has some wickedly funny videos, and this one was no different. This ad was one of the winners of the fan submissions, and created on a $5,000 budget. If you like cheering for the underdog, or in this case the kid riding the dog, this was definitely a top-notch spot.

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Doritos Time Machine

The second $1 million dollar winner in the Doritos contest for fan-made videos, this one was almost as clever as the first. Almost. But it still left me with a smile, and that’s what counts, right?

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Bob Dylan for Chrysler

Bob Dylan turns from musician to pitchman for Chrysler in a slightly over-the-top piece that tried to be a bit too clever. Making commercials about America and American-made products is all well and good, but this took a bit too long to get going. Dylan’s delivery was good, but the script was weak.

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Audi’s Doberhuahua

Audi doesn’t compromise when it comes to making a vehicle. That would be like mating a chihuahua and a doberman. If thinking about that combination wasn’t enough, Audi helped you visualize it, even adding a cameo by pet-loving singer Sarah McLachlan for the resulting beast. Clever and funny.

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Toyota Highlander with Terry Crews and Muppets

Terry Crews took a break from his brilliant work on Old Spice ads to help Toyota promote its Highlander. He was joined by the Muppets in what should have been a great pairing of energy and manic craziness. The craziness was there, but the ad just left you feeling let down.

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Coca-Cola “America the Beautiful”

Coke always has some feel-good ads. This one was exceptional in showing the multicultural makeup of America by having “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages. Sadly, it wasn’t long before the haters came out, bashing it for not being in English. The xenophobe emergence doesn’t detract from the excellent commentary.

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Coca-Cola “Going All the Way”

This ad was OK. When they had a kid named Adrian playing football, I fully expect the NFL’s Adrian Peterson to show up at the end as a commentary on what perseverance can do. Instead, we got a cute commercial of a kid making good. Nice, but it could have been so much more.

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Morpheus promotes Kia

Kia met the Matrix and for awhile it looked like everyone would win, until Laurence Fishburne started to sing opera. The visuals were great and the script was clever … up to that point. Then it lost me. Too bad, as this could have been a geek classic.

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Axe Peace: Make Love Not War

This one was actually a bit of a departure for Axe, which usually has over-the-top ads with girls throwing themselves at guys. However, the twist midway through makes this a clever and interesting commercial. A definite step up for the body spray company.

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Budweiser “Puppy Love”

Budweiser always has commercials that make you say “aw, how cute.” This was another one that mixes dogs and Clydesdales, making for another winner. In a totally unofficial survey after the game where I asked a few friends which ones resonated with them, this was almost always mentioned. Budweiser did it again.

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Budweiser Hero’s Welcome

When they aren’t mixing animals into their commercials, Budweiser likes to remember the troops. This one was another quality spot that had the sentimental wiping a tear from their eye. After the spot aired, they cut to the soldier and his wife at the Super Bowl, probably courtesy of Budweiser. Again, nicely done.

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Wonderful Pistachios with Stephen Colbert

We paired these two as they took a 30-second spot and made two 15-second commercials, with a totally unrelated 30-second ad in-between. Colbert is his usual witty, off-the-wall self, but the spot made you think more of the color green. If you did remember pistachios, you likely didn’t remember it was brought to you by Wonderful. This one was rather “meh”.

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Volkswagen “Wings”

This spot for Volkswagen reliability was really clever and well done. Watching engineers sprout wings at the oddest times — with particular props to the subtle bathroom scene and the wind tunnel moment — was entertaining. But you really had to stick around for the end, no pun intended. Gotta love rainbows.

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Chevy “Romance”

This commercial for Chevy trucks was a lot of bull, literally. The big leadup to the huge bull being let out among some waiting heifers, with a few clever bits of editing and lip-licking, made this mildly entertaining, but not much more.

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Jaguar Evil Brits

Some critics weren’t too fond of this one, but I’m sorry. Any ad that brings Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong together is a winner in my book. Yeah, the script was contrived, showing how Brits play their characters as a Jaguar is engineered and driven, but the mere presence of those guys had chills running up my spine. OK, maybe it was just me, but I liked it.

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Cheerios “Gracie”

Another cute commercial from Cheerios, featuring Gracie. In a commercial last year, the young lady wanted her dad to be healthy, so she put a stack of Cheerios on his chest. She returns to finagle a puppy from her dad in return for accepting news she was getting a new brother. Kudos to Cherrios for not bowing to the unwarranted criticism from the crazy folks of an interracial couple in the first ad. The fact that this was also cute helped.

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TurboTax: Love Hurts

When this spot first came on, the comparison of not having your team in the Super Bowl to watching a guy dance with your girl at prom, was actually pretty spot on. The twist at the end was out of left field, as I totally wasn’t expecting TurboTax to be the focus of the spot. Loved the first 20 seconds, but the end was didn’t offer me a solid return (sorry).

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TMobile with Tim Tebow

Nice to see Tim Tebow again, this time in a clever parody of him not having a football contract and making the assertion that contracts are bad. You may not like Tebow as a football player, but you have to admire the kid’s tenacity and the ability to laugh at himself. Good job.

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Radio Shack 1980s

Radio Shack brought a lot of 1980s icons out of retirement for this spot, and it was fun trying to see how many you could identify in 30 seconds. It was a nice bit of nostalgia for those like me that remembered all those faces, but I’m not sure how many of those born at that time would know or care.

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Bud Light “Up for Anything”

This was actually two commercials, with a lot of celebrity guests. It was rather clever, and a nice treat for the supposedly unsuspecting guy that this happened to. The commercial did a good job of going all out on the ridiculous, which played nicely into the tag line at the end. Not my favorite, but a good commercial nonetheless.

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David Beckham H&M clothing

If you like seeing soccer player David Beckham’s body and tattoos, then you will like this ad that shows him gradually with less and less clothes. The spot struck me as being more about Beckham than the H&M line, but hey, I’m sure some folks will want to wear the clothes just because of Beckham’s association. I won’t.

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GoDaddy Musclebound

Ah, the power of a good ad created on a GoDaddy domain will have people flocking to your door. In this case, musclebound bodybuilders looking for a good spray tan. GoDaddy stepped away from its previous attempts at sexy with race car driver spokeperson Danica Patrick, and instead did some creative imagery turning her into one of the massive bodybuilders running for their tan. Yeah, that’s her. Not a fan of the ad, however.

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M&Ms “Delivery”

This one had an ominous beginning, but in the end was just another lighthearted appearance by the talking hard-covered candies. In this case, only the dimwitted peanut one, but hey it was somewhat entertaining.

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Dannon Oikos Yogurt

This ad for Greek yogurt was entertaining if only for the nostalgia factor at the end. It started with a fairly suggestive lead-in with John Stamos, but that is quickly dispensed with when Stamos’ other Full House stars Bob Saget and Dave Coulier show up to break the mood. Nice timing and chuckleworthy.

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Microsoft Technology is “Empowering”

This was a nice ad showing all the cool things Microsoft has done with it technology, particularly helping give speech to former NFL player Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS. It plays well on the emotional factor and is a rather feel-good spot. While the Kinect was seen in a few spots, there was no Xbox One. I wonder why.

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Oh heck. We’ll add these anyway because they were so awesome!

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