The best Super Bowl XLVI commercials, by and large, hawked neither food nor drink, but false dictators, Audi headlights, smart phones , Chevys as stunt cars and Volkswagens with a nose for pop culture.
And was it my imagination or did many of the major beer companies, except for Budweiser, take the night off?
Our verdict on this year’s batch of food and drink ads:
Bud Light Platinum : The isolated factory far from peering eyes. The single, sharp, strident piano notes. The employee-less production line. This feels less like a brewery than a Terminator manufacturing plant.
Coke’s polar bears: What was once a charming series of animated commercials — sort of childlike, sort of nostalgic for a prosperous post-war America — are now just reminders that polar bear habitat looks more like a desert island than an icy man cave.
Pepsi’s royal court: This Elizabethan-era standoff — why does it feel like Goth Day at Disneyland? — between Elton John and “The X Factor” winner Melanie Amaro is only redeemed by its ending, when Sir Elton comes face to face with Flavor Flav on the trash heap of life.
M&M strip dance: Sexualizing coated-chocolate candy? I may need therapy next time I put an M&M on my tongue.
Dannon Oikos tease: Who hasn’t wanted to head-butt John Stamos at some point? Greek yogurt gets all WWF.
Pepsi Max for life: The country-weeper tune is used to nice, ironic effect. Regis Philbin, on the other hand, has exhausted his allotment of camp and irony.
Doritos sling-shot baby: Cute, in that sort of tough granny outwits smug pre-pubescent who hasn’t learned how to share. The lesson: Diabolical endangerment of an infant is cooler than selfishness.
G.E. turbine power: Gee, (eeh!), who would have known you need power to make beer? Doesn’t some Southie drunk just malt the barley with his breath?
Doritos cat bribe: Dark, funny and twisted. Plus, the snack chip company was willing to deal with the mountain of angry cat lady e-mails the following day.
Bud’s eternal optimism: This is my favorite of the food-and-drink batch. Clever usage of hip-hop over a montage of seminal pop-culture moments. It’s far more inspirational than the oh-so-manipulative Clydesdales-coming-to-the-rescue commercial that also aired during the game.
Bud Light’s “Here We Go”: Here’s hoping the hopelessly homely/cute We Go becomes the next Spuds. Bonus points for the rescue dog message.
Check out most of the Super Bowl ads here.