The Best and Worst Ads of Super Bowl 50
Donald Trump thought Super Bowl 50 was boring. So did Tom Brady, but that’s a different story. Barring Beyonce and Bruno, the Denver Broncos’ season victory lap was such a snoozer that even the obscenely expensive commercials shoehorned into it didn’t quite perk us up, and they’re half the reason we tuned in anyway.
From a high-fiving clump of intestines to sobering drunk-driver shaming, here are the best and worst commercials from last night’s big game. Cheap thrills? We don’t think so. Each ad clocked in at $166,000 attention-hungry dollars per second.
1. Xifaxan's grody 'GutGuy'
Forget Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. The real star of Super Bowl 50 was “GutGuy,” a gassy pink blob of intestines. He’s the diarrhea-stricken mascot for Xifaxan, Valeant’s Rx for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Yeah, that guy, the gross one we’re trying to forget as we digest yesterday’s hot wings.
Love him or hate him, “GutGuy” scored a branding touchdown with viewers yesterday, even if his timing was crap. Case in point: We’re still talking about him today.
2. Marmot Mountain's 'Love the Outside' awkwardness
Man and marmot. They camped, they climbed, they canoed. Then they almost kissed. Then Twitter exploded with disgust. This dirty doozie didn’t sit well with a lot of humans, with the Washington Post slamming it as “one long ‘no homo’ joke, with an extra sprinkle of implied bestiality.” Not cool, Marmot. It’s the yellow flag for you.
3. The NFL's 'Super Bowl Babies Choir' music video
Thanks, NFL. We’ll never think of “Kiss From a Rose” the same again. And neither will the kids awkwardly on display in this freaky commercial -- each of them conceived after past and apparently aphrodisiacal Super Bowls. While Seal’s cameo was a nice touch, it wasn’t enough to save this thorny rose, or to save us from imagining our parents doing ... yeah, let’s just stop there.
1. Mountain Dew's 'Puppymonkeybaby' freak show
That thing -- part cute pug, part chubby toddler, part hyper monkey -- tops most worst lists today, but we disagree. If you ask us, “Puppymonkeybaby” won the Super Bowl and the Internet last night. Everyone and their stoner brother is talking about that unforgettable freak show today, trying to wrap their brain buckets around the viral Frankenstein that Mountain Dew burped up, and that’s precisely the point. Well played, PepsiCo. Our nightmares are now branded.
2. Budweiser USA's drunk-driver shaming, care of Helen Mirren
It was classy, clever and controversial. What better time to rip drunk drivers a new one than the always alcohol-soaked night of the Super Bowl? And who better to shame them than Dame Helen Mirren, a “notoriously frank and uncensored British lady”? Touché, Budweiser.
The spot-on ad spot set a few of the drunk uncles at our party straight. Darn “pillocks,” Mirren’s King’s English might've even sobered them up a bit. Seriously, though, for everyone’s safety, please do #GiveADamn when this Bud’s for you.
3. Squarespace's 'Real Talk' with Key and Peele
“S-u-c-c-e-ss-e-to-the-s. Successes.” That’s what Squarespace was all about with this 30-second jolt starring you-know-who: goofballs Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. The funny duo teamed up once again to shake up Squarespace’s third pass at the Super Bowl. They’re in a “future hallway” with a “dope website,” and that’s pretty much it, but it works.
4. Doritos' pushy ultrasound action
No, your eyes did not deceive you. Doritos really went there, all the way -- into the womb. Memorable, giggly commercial or not, if we lucked out with a loser like that for a birth partner, we’d fire his ass. So would an army of offended Super Bowl viewers who whinged about the ad on Twitter, abortion rights activists included. You ordered a nacho-cheesy -- and insanely viral -- blast of controversial, Doritos, and you got it.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.