The Good, The Bad, And The Gaga: Your Super Bowl LI Commercials Recap

Audi is woke, y'all.
Audi is woke, y'all. Audi
Is the theory about people watching the Super Bowl for the commercials accurate when just about all of the ads are online a week before the game? Is that enough to hold the national interest when a game starts off as lopsided as Super Bowl LI?

Hell, I wrote 80 percent of this blog on Sunday morning.

The current politial climate is what made the experience of sitting through the game memorable (the first three quarters, anyway), as we got to count just how many of the advertisers in question were delivering a giant middle finger to the newly elected President. None of the commercials named Trump directly, but companies from Airbnb to Audi got their shots in.

Unfortunately for anyone not in the greater Boston area — but fortunately for anyone who likes a thrilling comeback — noted FODs Bill Belichick and Tom Brady executed the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time. A few minutes of vicarious schadefreude was therfore about the best we could do.


Budweiser: "Born The Hard Way"
The irony of Twitter Nazis getting bunged up about an advertisement featuring a German immigrant is as delicious as Budweiser is terrible.

Airbnb: "We Accept"
In addition to the rental company's message of inclusivity, I liked how this reminded me of Godley and Creme's video for "Cry."

Squarespace: "John Malkovich"
This version is better than the 30-second one. By the way, does take you to the actor's fashion page. I don't know what to believe anymore.

Audi: "Daughter"

Those Germans are a lot more hopeful about the future than I am, and while I'll bitch elsewhere about car commercials lacking information about, you know, the cars in the a father of girls, I approve their message. If you don't, well, go fuck yourself.

84 Lumber: "The Journey Begins"

I'm conflicted on this one, because while it's a brilliantly shot and moving bit of cinema, and Fox orderd it edited because of the appearance of the proposed border wall, 84 Lumber owner Maggie Hardy Magerko voted for Trump, making this look like another "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" piece of work. Full version below.

Avocados From Mexico: "Secret Society"

It's nice to see Jon Lovitz is still working, even if we all know those trucks coming across the border are full of murderers and rapists and not delicious avocados.


Tiffany & Co: "Lady Gaga something something"
Lady Gaga's halftime show was pretty awesome (I about shit myself when she dove off the roof of NRG Stadium, not knowing is was actually recorded last week), if largely apolitical. I can't help thinking airing this unironic discussion of her rebellious nature in a frigging Tiffany ad was a way for Fox to derail any potential "unpleasantness."

Yellow Tail: "Roo(?)"
Counterpoint: kangaroos are assholes.

Wix: "Disruptive World"
I appreciate watching attractive people roundhouse kick bad guys as much as anyone, but this stretched a bit too much for the payoff.

T-Mobile: "#UnlimitedMoves"
Then again, something tells me Rob Gronkowski didn't have to stretch too far for his caveman performance.

Mr. Clean: "Clean of Your Dreams"
In my time on Earth, I've uncovered relatively few unassailable truths. One of those I have stumbled up is: no woman finds a bald man with white eyebrows attractive, I don't care how mesmerizing his buns are."

Bud Light: "Ghost Spuds"
A fairly humorous reminder that dogs don't live as long as humans. At least they bagged the fedora.


Skittles: "Romance"
I enjoyed this because it was both slightly unsettling (the constant moans of pleasure in particular) and only 30 seconds long. That's how you commercial, people.

It's a 10 Hair Care: "Four Years"
On one hand, it starts to feel like dogpiling when a hair product company most of us have never heard of talks about four years of POTUS' bad hair. On the other...tough shit.

Febreze: "Odor Odes"
This was repulsive, but at least one company is finally embracing our country's proud tradition of gluttony and excess.


Honda: "Yearbooks"
We learn next to nothing about Honda's new CRV, but the sub-Tarkin levels of CGI helpfully inform us Earvin Johnson was apparently referred to as "Magic" in grade school, and Steve Carell has always tried too hard.

Kia: "Hero's Journey"
AKA: "the planet's pretty much fucked, but go ahead and buy a hybrid so you feel slightly less guilty about it."

Mercedes: "Easy Driver"
And with that, the generation that came of age in the 1960s abandoned all pretense of rebellion.

Buick: "Not So Pee Wee Football"
Don't get so wrapped up in making jokes comparing the Panthers offensive line to a bunch of eight-year olds that you lose sight of the true comedy of this ad: Cam Newton abusing children. Also, when did Miranda Kerr become a household name? Where's Kathy Ireland? Why is this onion tied to my belt?

Ford: "Go Further"
In these parts, we usually don't see Ford commercials for anything besides pickups, which will be purchased by suburban dudes and haul nothing more rugged than a week's worth of groceries. This was nicely done.


NOTE: I'm ignoring the latest Transformers trailer. As should you.

We've seen most of this footage before. That does nothing to diminish my excitement at finally getting an R-rated Wolverine movie.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
They're really getting a lot of mileage out of that hypothesis that Johnny Cash songs make any trailer better.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
I honestly missed this one, but I have the assurances of Top Men that it aired at some point. Whatever.

Stranger Things
Season 2 of the hit Netflix series promises more extra-dimensional terror and more Eggos.

The Handmaid's Tale
I honestly liked this better when it was a speculative sci-fi novel and not reality television.

Ghost in the Shell
Speaking for people who aren't really manga aficionados...neat?

The Fate of the Furious
I'm just going to quote my review of Furious 7: "I have now seen all of the Rápido y Furioso movies, and I can recall almost no salient details about any of them. They coalesce in a hazy, bass-heavy amalgam of muscle cars, be-thonged derrières, explosions, ominous musical cues and that guy who used to play Caleb on American Gothic."

Again, mostly old footage, except for Zac Efron's Speedo. Not sure anyone needed that.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar