Whether it was the angry Ewoks of middle earth sharing a Coke with a fire-breathing dragon or Adrien Brody crooning to bar full of weepy women (nice to see him finally bouncing back from that Oscar win), this year's bunch of Super Bowl spots was one of the most pitiful we've ever seen. That was true across the board, whether advertisers were pitching food, cars or an unattainable sense of attractiveness and self-worth.
Witness the stale marriage between GoDaddy and Danica McPatrick (not livened up by Jillian Michaels or Joan Rivers), Eminem in a strangely meta ad explaining how he hates most products he's asked to endorse while implying that Brisk iced tea is the one product he actually likes. (Does that also apply to Detroit?)
For every brilliant Volkswagen ad featuring an aspiring Darth Vader, there were 10 clueless brands trying an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach. Poseidon, aliens, ancient Mayans and all the overwrought CG in the world can't convince us the Kia Optima is an “epic” car. (This is especially disappointing after last year's terrific stuffed-animals-on-a-bender spot for Sorrento.)
As for food and drink, in a year when major brands like Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Denny's and Taco Bell chose not to buy airtime during the game, ad agencies decided there's nothing funnier than people getting hit in the head, whether it's Roseanne Barr for Snickers or some random chick who gets beaned by the world's most controlling wife. Somebody, call Don Draper. Videos after the jump…
5. Doritos: We all like the cheese dust, but Doritos should have stopped at fingers. The pants-sniffing was creepy. It was funny, then it was just creepy.
4. Jack in the Box: The bald eagle named Brock. The bison named Sara. The pickup truck with the custom Constitution paint job. Jack in the Box's parody of those rootin' tootin', flag-waving ads made us love America a little more.
3. Doritos: Pugs are cute. They're even cuter when they're running in slow-motion, as in this Doritos spot.
2. Pepsi: “Football in the groin” works on so many levels. Shouldn't “Pepsi in the groin” be 10 times funnier? Not necessarily but at least this spot is amusing.
1. NFL: The best food-themed commercial of Super bowl XLV wasn't even about food. It was a commercial celebrating football fans and/or promoting the NFL itself, depending on your POV. This clips package of fictional characters from TV shows like “Happy Days,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Seinfeld,” “Alf,” “The Office” and “Golden Girls” made us laugh and taste the sweet tinge of nostalgia.