What a terrible Super Bowl for NFL fans. A game that was supposed to feature the world's best offense versus the world's best defense instead featured only the latter. The New York City stage provided a marketing platform unseen to marketers in prior Super Bowls, so would the advertising come up short like the game?
Below is a list of 14 Super Bowl commercials that were better than the game itself:
1. Doritos' time travel breakthrough. The Doritos time travel commercial was probably the first very good commercial of the evening. The script written and submitted by a fan (a now annual Doritos tradition) features an adult duped by a child (Jimmy) into supposed time travel. My favorite moment? When the adult emerges from the cardboard capsule and grabs his version of adult Jimmy's face.
2. RadioShack goes back to the 80s. This commercial succeeded in bringing a somewhat forgotten brand back to relevance, at least for now. How can you go wrong with Hulk Hogan, Alf, Erik Estrada, Dee Snider and Chucky?
3. Squarespace unveils the internet. And they're exactly right. What's wrong with the internet? Spam pharmaceutical products, get rich quick schemes, duckfaces, and marketers screaming for likes and follows. Squarespace nailed it.
4. Tim Tebow returns to the NFL. Not really. But Tim's return to NFL and pop culture relevance in 2014 was a strong one. The kneeling QB delivered babies, landed on the moon, and sacked Bigfoot in this surprise gem. Any lingering questions regarding whether or not Tebow saturated the market the last couple years may have been answered.
5. Stephen Colbert cracks up. Yes, Stephen Colbert ends a Wonderful Pistachios commercial by splitting his head open to reveal his inner pistachio. But what's the funniest part? How about the American bald eagle wearing a suit with a bright lime green tie and vest? I want one.
6. The Muppets get some airplay. Jim Henson's Muppets seem to find a way into pop culture relevance every year. Send them on a one minute joyride with a hyped up Terry Crews, and you'll gain some traction, especially with viewers in their 30s and 40s. The winning moment? Terry Crews standing with his upper body poking through the sky roof with his shirt and tie wrapped around his head exclaiming, "There were singing vegetables!"
7. Audi brings back The Mask. Following the Audi commercial, I spent a solid minute trying to figure out where I had see the dogs with the big distorted heads before. Then it hit me, and I rewound the broadcast to watch again -The Mask, a mid 90s Jim Carrey classic! What was already a very good commercial would only have been better with a Stanley Ipkiss feature.
8. Tim Tebow Part II. Tebow encores successfully for T-Mobile, emerging this time as a rock N roll star and a firefighter, amongst others.
9. Even bears like Greek yogurt. Destruction? Check. Big adorable animals, sure, check. The voiceover from someone last heard orchestrating plots to infiltrate the Iranian government? OK, now you've got me. My favorite character from Homeland, Saul Berenson played by Mandy Patinkin, provides voiceover in this Chobani commercial, making it an instant classic in these rugged Greek yogurt wars we are all witnesses to. Bonus fact: how many people knew that in addition to Saul Berenson, Mandy Patinkin played the role of Inigo Montoya, forever memorialized in this scene of Princess Bride? Mind = blown.
10. The return of the Matrix. At first, I thought the Laurence Fishburne Kia commercial was a little forced...until he began to belt opera from the backseat of the car. I couldn't help but laugh with Morpheus.
11. Chrysler does it again. With all due respect to Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan is still the biggest name in rock N roll. This two-minute monologue from Dylan encouraging viewers to buy American is iconic in both the images that come across the screen, and the man providing the context. While critics are quick to correctly point out the surprise over the king of counter-culture doing a car commercial, we should all be thankful for the opportunity to share time with this legendary recluse.
12. Was the Butterfinger commercial inappropriate? It sure was, but in a year of celebrity appearances, returns of numerous pop culture references, and visuals of plenty cuddly animals -- this commercial stood out for ingenuity. If nothing else, this commercial will be remembered for insinuating candy-bar group sex on a relationship therapist's couch.
13. Microsoft and Steve Gleason. The former Saints player (known for this legendary blocked punt) who suffers from ALS disease, provides one of the more emotional commercials on Super Bow Sunday. An example of brilliant marketing, Gleason uses a Microsoft Surface Pro to provide voice-over for the spot.
14. One more from Doritos. We were only minutes from the end of a boring Super Bowl blowout when we were rewarded with one more iconic moment -- a young girl riding a massive dog lassoing a bag of Doritos away from her brother. Was that the dog from Sandlot?