“I’m only watching it for the commercials,” say the disheartened fans whose teams didn’t make it to this year’s Super Bowl. Well, this blog post is for you. Thanks to eye-ball hungry ad companies, the chatter about Super Bowl commercials began earlier this year, with some of the most popular ads released online days before the game. But there will still be plenty of ads to talk about. Follow along with us as we dissect the good, the bad, the sexist and the sexy.
10:04 p.m. Super Bowl of Advertising awash with politics, nostalgia and dogs
Between the “I Vote for Energy” commercial, Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun PSA, and the Clint Eastwood “Halftime for America” commercial, politics infiltrated this year’s Super Bowl commercial roster more than usual.
Thanks for watching (and reading) along with me tonight!
9:55 p.m. GoDaddy goes a second round
GoDaddy once again enlists spokeswomen Danica Patrick and the Pussycat Dolls to do typical GoDaddy things: Appear out of clouds, make men salivate, make female viewers want to throw things at the TV, and wear incredibly complicated underwear. Oh, and there's some talk of domain hosting, but who cares when there’s Pussycat Dolls, right? Wrong: On Twitter, they're being criticized for both sexism and SOPA.
9:36 p.m. Samsung mocks Apple fans
Samsung continues its ateempt to embarrass too-cool Apple fans. Of course, Apple fans are likely fortified in their superiority by these cheesy commercials. The only saving grace? A coordinated dance, gospel choir, and performance from The Darkness, singing “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”
Just a thought: Is having a stylus really the next cool thing for phones? Reminds me of the Palm Pilot I had in 2003. And everyone always loses that stylus.
9:34 p.m. Kia has a supermodel wake-up call
Sweet dreams are made of these: Rainbows, stallions, Adriana Lima (in her second Super Bowl appearance — have we seen her more than we've seen Gisele Bundchen in the audience at this point?), Motley Crue, and a giant sandwich being sawed in half by lumberjacks. Oh, and a Kia.
9:28 p.m. Bud Light teaches an old dog a new trick
Bud Light’s dog fetches more than sticks, making it yet another dog-trick commercial. The Super Bowl commercial breaks are looking more and more like the Puppy Bowl, with few other animals showing up in this year’s batch of ads. It makes one long for those offensive wolf ads.
9:18 p.m. Bueller? Bueller?
Surely the most-talked about ad in this year’s Super Bowl commercial lineup, Matthew Broderick rerprises his famous role as Ferris Bueller. The extended version, for the most part, is spot-on. From the valet’s take on “Bueller? Bueller?” to the trip to the museum, two minutes is the perfect amount of time to recap all of the movie’s best scenes. Let’s just not hope this spurs cries for a remake.
9:16 p.m. Seinfeld trots out the Soup Nazi
Keeping with the theme of former stars rolling out their most beloved characters, Jerry Seinfeld commercial guest-stars the Soup Nazi. The joke in this commercial — that Seinfeld will do anything to be the first to get a new Acura — gets dragged on a little too long, but the idea of a secret zipline network through Manhattan is cool enough to save it.
8:59 p.m. Budweiser's bars through every decade
This Budweiser commercial is pure nostalgia, pure Americana. Revelers celebrate in bars through every decade, with the fashion and dance moves to match. Budweiser shows us you don’t need Clydesdales or bikini-clad models to make an impressive ad. It may not be the flashiest commercial tonight, but thanks to the retro styling and the cinematic direction, it’s high on the list of best ads.
8:53 p.m. Dannon: Who knew yogurt could make you this strong?
John Stamos has an odd way of flirting, and this yogurt-loving lady is not going to put up with his nonsense. Slapstick violence: always a sure-fire hit in Super Bowl ads.
8:43 p.m. Camry reinvented
Toyota is full of good ideas: Chief among them, making a Super Bowl commercial with a couch comprised of scantily-clad ladies and men — equal opportunity offenders! We suppose the reinvented Camry is a good idea, too, though it's not clear what’s actually been reinvented in the car. What is the best idea, though? Pizza curtains!
8:43 p.m. Fiat's Latin lovers
Did Fiat give up on having Jennifer Lopez as a spokeswoman already? Instead of going with their celebrity singer for the big game commercial, Fiat subbed her out for another sexy brunette.*
8:33 p.m. Honda's thrifty t-shirts
The main question people will be asking after this Honda commercial may not be “Where can I get a Honda?” but rather, “Where can I get all of those cool vintage souvenir t-shirts?”
8:23 p.m. Clint Eastwood gets serious for Chrysler
Clint Eastwood's gravelly voice brings some gravity to tonight's event: Reminding us to come together as a country during our “halftime,” as Americans fight unemployment and political dischord. The slow pace of this Chrysler ad and Eastwood's commanding voice are totally captivating — but also a total downer. Will it make Americans watching the game on their huge plasma-screen TVs take notice — and buy Chrysler cars?
8:17 p.m. Betty White raises her "Voice"
After one of the best halftime show’s in recent history, led by Madonna (really, how were the Black Eyed Peas ever booked before her?), the screen broke away to Christina Aguilera in a commerical for “The Voice.” Sadly, Christina has never managed to stack up to her Vogue-singing predecessor — and this appearance was no different. Thankfully, Betty White saves the day. Add her to the list of things that sell — along with sex, talking babies, and dogs.
8:08 p.m. Hulubratory is not celebratory
This commercial for Hulu Plus is a waste of Will Arnett's talents — too many demonstrations of mobile devices streaming Hulu, not enough funny lines. The best bits go to the guy who gets to make the “Law & Order” sound with his mouth, and there's no shout-out to “Arrested Development” fans, as previous ads teased.
7:55 p.m. An anti-gun PSA
New York Mayor Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino make an awkward celebrity cameo for a cause: An anti-gun Public Service Announcement.
7:53 p.m. Cars.com is creepy
It's sure to be one of the night's weirdest commercials: For one car-shopping gentleman, confidence takes the form of a fetal twin, emerging from his body like the creature from "Alien," and dancing about like one of those inflatable figurines most commonly found on top of use car lots. That tiny singing dancing twin is this man's confidence, and it is funny, creepy, and gross, all at the same time.
7:50 p.m. Here come the talking babies
Babies, like sex, can sell nearly anything. This commercial break treated us to double-header baby commercials hawking extremely different products. A Dorito-loving baby and its grandma produce themselves some chips, while E-Trade brings back its annual baby commercials, with one baby dispensing sage advice about fatherhood.
7:44 p.m. : Mr. Quiggly makes his big debut
Dog in tiny shoes! Squeeeeee! French bulldog Mr. Quiggly, who wins a big race with the help of Sketchers, will keep Super Bowl viewers from switching over to the Puppy Bowl.
7:40 p.m.: Sex sells for Teleflora
The floral company enlists Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima to tell men that a gift of flowers is an economic transaction that guarantees they will have sex that night — an assumption that women have been trying to dissuade them of for years. Whatever happened to “It’s the thought that counts?”
7:31 p.m. Chevy Sonic is a daredevil
Chevy is clearly marketing its Sonic for thrill-seekers, putting the car through an extreme regimen of stunts including skydiving, bungee jumping, and aerial flips. Part of what makes the commercial so captivating is the slow-mo shots of flipping cars, set to the anthem “We Are Young” by the band fun. Of course, the ad has a disclaimer: “100% real stunts. Do not attempt. Please.
7:20 p.m. David Beckham strips down
This H&M ad may be a surprise to viewers who are only used to seeing scantily clad women’s bodies in their Super Bowl ads. The ad turns the tables on objectification in advertising, giving women some eye candy in the muscular, tattooed body of David Beckham. H&M is wise to remember that dudes aren’t the only demographic watching the game tonight.
7:12p.m. TaxAct redefines “bathroom break.”
Hey TaxAct: It’s probably not the best idea to associate your brand with the super-gross act of peeing in a swimming pool.
7:08p.m. Let the GoDaddy outrage begin
7:05 p.m. Chevy survives the apocalypse
Apparently, like a cockroach and a Twinkie, a Chevy can survive the apocalypse. Take that, Mayans!
7:00p.m. M&M has a wardrobe malfunction
The brown M&M is the newest candy-coated chocolate to get an anthropomorphic makeover. Except, as it turns out, a brown candy shell is the candy equivalent of wearing a nude bodysuit. For a minute, it seemed like this commercial was going to to be a candy anti-bullying public service announcement.
6:42 p.m. Pepsi worships at the altar of celebrity
King of soft drinks Elton John seeks entertainment, and his court jester is ... lacking. So he dispenses with him through a trap door. If only reality TV worked the same way! Instead, a real reality star — Melanie Amaro, winner of "X Factor" — brings peace to this Pepsi kingdom, and allows Pepsi to continue its tireless mission of pointless celebrity cameos in ads.
6:38 p.m. Mocking the Twihards for Audi
Time for “Twilight” fans to get angry: Audi just aired its commercial mocking the sexy young vampires — and killing them off with its daylight-bright headlights. The commercial featured the Echo and the Bunnymen song “The Killing Moon.” Rather amusing for a high-end car company to be mocking tween heartthrobs. Perhaps hoping to appeal to those “Twilight”-tired parents?
6:30 p.m. Hyundai of the Tiger
Hyundai kicks off the game with a “Rocky”- themed commercial, enlisting employees from their Montgomery, Ala., plant to perform an a cappella rendition of the movie’s famous theme song. It’s just the right song to get viewers thinking about who will be tonight’s champion.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the Fiat spokeswoman. She is an Italian.