The Super Bowl is here and even if you're not planning to watch the game, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited for Sunday. People either enjoy the Super Bowl for the football, the halftime show, the parties, the wings, the pizza, the dips ... did I mention all the wonderful food options? The best part for many viewers is Super Bowl commercials.
Companies spent $5 million to $5.6 million for premium ads on this year's Super Bowl. Next year I'd like to sit in the pitch meeting where the overzealous marketing/advertising team from Avocados from Mexico proposes spending millions on Molly Ringwald putting their product in an Ergobaby. We found out the fate of Mr. Peanut and maybe Tom Brady?
The companies that decided to spend millions on this year's Super Bowl ads will have to wait to see if their investments were worth it. But if they're looking for an immediate judgment from a highly unqualified arbiter, they've come to the right place. Here are the best (and some of the worst) 2020 Super Bowl commercials and whether consumers are more likely to buy or sell the products advertised in them.
Hyundai 'Smaht Pahk' - BUY
The rest of the country couldn't enjoy one Super Bowl without some Boston flavor? Oh well, at least I can root for the Boston players involved this year since their only appearance will be in an ad. Hyundai's commercial had everything you'd want as an advertiser: A likable cast of characters, a humorous script and a highlighted feature that makes consumers more likely to purchase the product.
The "Smaht Pahk" commercial was the best commercial of this year's Super Bowl until another car commercial came in with a late surprise. The only likable Red Sox player ever even made an appearance. It's just too bad Hyundai picked the one year the least number of Boston residents will be tuning in.
Jeep "Groundhog Day" - BUY
When sites start making their "Best Super Bowl Commercials of All-Time" lists, this year's Jeep "Groundhog Day" will be the first inductee from the class of 2020. When you see the alarm clock and Bill Murray, joy fills the air. Kids may not get this one but they're not the ones buying the new Jeep Gladiator.
Sorry, New England and "Smaht Pahk" but it looks like you're going to lose again at the last minute after Jeep ran their trick play the "Billy Special". Punxsutawney Bill for the win!
Planters 'Tribute' - BUY
America has been waiting all week after the uncertainty of whether they would show Mr.Peanut's funeral or not. Wesley Snipes read his eulogy followed by a nice surprise. This was one of the most talked-about commercials, so a clear win for Planters
Michelob Ultra- 'Jimmy Works It Out' - BUY
John Cena is an American treasure. If you haven't seen him in the movie Blockers, it's an all-time great movie to enjoy on a flight. Oh and Jimmy Fallon is in Michelob Ultra's commercial too. Hence the name 'Jimmy Works It Out'.
This commercial makes a lot of sense and is fitting. Michelob Ultra is the beer you have when you want a little buzz but still have things to do around the house and don't want to get too sloppy. Best beer commercial of the 2020 Super Bowl so far.
Budweiser 'Typical American' - SELL
Enough. Find a new angle. In the last few years, Budweiser (BUD) - Get Report has pretended to be the moral conscience of America but often its commercials fall flat just like this year's "Typical American." It's exhausting.
This commercial was a tale of two stories. Budweiser gave us some intended tear-jerking moments, jumbled them together and then ended with the only redeemable parts of the advertisement: Ashlyn Harris and the rest of Team USA celebrating their World Cup win.
Doritos 'The Cool Ranch' - BUY
Sam Elliott was probably my last guess to ever contribute to another "Old Town Road" remix but here we are. It worked for me and was a cool concept to incorporate the bridesmaid of Doritos. Also, can Sam Elliott read me bedtime stories or narrate my life?
With Nacho Cheese Doritos always stealing the spotlight and (the best flavor) Spicy Nacho Cheese Doritos moving up the charts, it was good to give Cool Ranch its lifetime achievement award for all of its years of service being the second bag of chips included in a Publix Buy-One-Get-One deal.
Cheetos 'Can't Touch This' - BUY
We move from dusty Doritos fingers to a commercial dedicated to the dusty Cheetos fingers you get after wasting an entire Saturday afternoon watching "Mindhunter." Is it canceled or are we getting another season? Who cares ... OK, I do. I'm too invested.
Anyway, back to the Cheetos advertisement. In a night of commercials relying upon a heavy dose of nostalgia, "Can't Touch This" found the right serving. The company introduced its new popcorn products with style and I will probably try a bag during the big game.
Microsoft 'Be The One' - SELL
I guess the Salmon Sisters didn't make the cut. That's okay because someone much more deserving was picked for Microsoft's ad: Katie Sowers. Sowers became the first female, openly gay coach to go to the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers.
While Sowers' story is inspiring, this commercial didn't make it more likely to buy a Surface Pro. Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report gave the platform to Sowers to tell her story and inspire others. I guess Microsoft doesn't need more advertising after reporting another strong quarter.
Mountain Dew 'Zero Sugar' - BUY
Television and movie stars recreating a famous scene from the silver screen while incorporating some clever product placement is a win. Don't want to spoil too much of this ad but the end almost sent it into the "sell" side. Too creepy...
Amazon '#BeforeAlexa' - SELL
This is what happens when a company spends all its budget on the star of the commercial and the rest of the ad suffers. Wait, you're telling me this is the Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report that reported fourth-quarter revenue of $87.44 billion? Oh OK, then I don't know what happened here.
This is an extremely forgettable commercial. What did we do before Alexa? I don't think much has changed. I've had Alexa for a few years and the most valuable thing it does is play "Baby Shark" on command to stop my year-and-a-half-old son from crying.
Walmart- 'Famous Visitors' - BUY
While I am not sure the Walmart (WMT) - Get Report order pickup service will be able to compete (despite its improvements) with Amazon's delivery empire, they certainly didn't have to worry about Jeff Bezos in the ad space competition.
THIS is how you do nostalgia ladies and gentlemen. If consumers had the same reaction I did during this commercial, they wanted this commercial to be longer to see who else was going to pick up their groceries at Walmart. Walmart isn't in New York City and Jet only lasted a year in the city so I won't be seeing any more of these 'Famous Visitors'.
Coca-Cola Energy 'Show Up' - SELL
For a night with companies making several lazy ads, does this one take the cake? Jonah Hill & Martin Scorsese are here but that's not enough to carry this one.
Discover 'The “No” and “Yes” Ads'- HOLD
I went with the 'No' ad instead of the 'Yes' commercial above because the 'No' ad has one of my favorite uncles from the '80s. Nostalgia is great if it's cleverly done.
Google 'Loretta' - BUY
Yes, I am actually buying this ad by the surveillance state. You have the old man from Disney (DIS) - Get Report Pixar's "Up" going through all the features on Google products, while also showing the storage and photo capabilities.
Carl Fredricksen had me fighting back tears and I am sure, especially after Kobe Bryant died this week, audiences will be emotional. At least Google is being honest about all the data it hoovers up about us in "Loretta," instead of secretly gathering our data with other projects.
Facebook 'Ready to Rock' - SELL
Running the Philly Special with 20 seconds left on the clock while you're down three scores won't get you the win and that's why this commercial is rock bottom.
Bud Light- '#PostyStore' - SELL
Bud Light has two commercials at this year's Super Bowl for their new hard seltzer product and they're looking for you to pick the best one between the '#PostyStory' and 'PostyBar'. It's going to be difficult to choose because they're both terrible with minimal laughs.
This is a far cry from their amazing ads that were so good they started a war with corn farmers. Now on to their hard seltzer product. Anheuser-Busch (BUD) - Get Report is entering a crowded field with one clear leader, White Claw, owned by the same company that owns Mike's Hard Lemonade. Bud Light brings its own secret weapon: Strawberry flavor seltzer.
Bud Light is also going to have to fight dirty like their corn syrup days to pass the Claws. Luckily, that type of behavior is welcome in the seltzer wars. As everyone knows, there ain't no laws when you're drinking the claws.
Audi- 'Let It Go' - BUY
Combine everyone's favorite character from HBO's Game of Thrones and your child's favorite Disney song from one of the most popular animated movies ever and we never stood a chance with Audi's 'Let It Go'.
Pop-Tarts 'Jonathan Van Ness Freak Out'- SELL
Disclaimer: Netflix's (NFLX) - Get Report Queer Eye is a great show. The Fab Five (Bobby is the best) are an excellent addition to the Netflix family but even the funniest member of the Fab Five, Jonathan Van Ness, couldn't save this ad for the new pretzel Pop-Tarts.
Do I believe the new pretzel Pop-Tart is going to be the next Old Bay hot sauce and sell out in an hour? No, but the two Pop-Tart ads won't make consumers more likely to buy despite including JVN.
Heinz- 'Find The Goodness' - SELL
A clever ad agency found a way to wrack up the video views with Kraft Heinz (KHC) - Get Report and their four ads at once with 'Find The Goodness'. Did I rewind the ad three times to watch each video? Yes, I did.
Does Heinz ketchup even need to do commercials at this point though? If you're using ketchup that isn't Heinz, you're not to be trusted. There is no other option.
Turbo Tax 'All People Are Tax People' - BUY & SELL
There are two commercials for Turbo Tax. The first is the serious version we included that does a great job of selling their product by explaining any person can do their taxes with their service. It gets the point across and gives consumers an easy way to do their taxes.
The second is a "funny" version that should be shipped to the containment center from "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" and never see the light of day.
Pringles & Adult Swim 'Rick & Morty' - BUY
The best types of ads are when two companies combine forces to elevate each other and sell their products. Adult Swim has a new season of Rick and Morty coming at some point in 2020, and Pringles uses their cult-like popularity to promote their chip stacking flavors.
Will Rick and Morty's fervent followers rival the Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report fans that sent the stock over $600 this week and give Pringles and Kellogg's (K) - Get Report the sales boost they need? Maybe.
Presidente x Alex Rodriguez- Never Left- SELL
When A-Rod came into view in a Canadian tuxedo I knew there was no recovery for this ad. A-Rod and I are both a Florida Man so I am familiar with Presidente, which is a fine beer to enjoy on a warm, 90-degree day in Florida in the middle of January.
Alex Rodriguez bought a stake in AB InBev's (BUD) - Get Report Presidente Beer last week and continues his transition from the baseball diamond to the boardroom. Consumers want more of that A-Rod smile, less of the denim... unless he's planning to embrace a pair of jean shorts aka "jorts" like a true Florida (Gator) Man.
SodaStream 'Discovers Water On Mars' - SELL
C'mon Mark! Get a new joke. This was a really weird commercial. A cool concept then predictable slapstick comedy followed by a pivot back to seriousness. Uneven to say the least.
Little Caesars 'Best Thing Since Sliced Bread' - SELL
Pepsi's 'Zero Sugar. Done Right.' - BUY
H.E.R. is a 22-year old Grammy award-winning R&B artist paired with Missy Elliott to promote the new Pepsi (PEP) - Get Report Zero Sugar product. The commercial starts off in the Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Report red before turning black in a cool commercial.
It may not be the best commercial from Pepsi on Super Bowl Sunday but overall it's a win. Hot new artist (check), a popular artist from the past (check) and catchy tune (check).
OLAY '#MAKESPACEFORWOMEN' - SELL
Worthy cause? Yes. Important message? Yes. Cool concept? Not quite. It's a serious cause and probably would have had a better delivery if it was taken seriously.
Also, if you're going to be funny, do the funny part well. This commercial wasn't short on talent but the script and concept got a little lost in space.
Tide 'Dirty Laundry' - SELL
This is what happens when a corporate sponsor gets two talented actors and fails to provide them a script. 'Dirty Laundry' stars Always Sunny's Charlie Day and Schitt's Creek's Emily Hampshire. You would think that getting two stars from two of the hottest shows would work but it doesn't.
Did we expect Charlie to eat some Tide pods? No, but you've got to give consumers something more than improvising lines about the laundry found on set.
Avocados From Mexico 'The Avocados from Mexico Shopping Network' - SELL
This ad will haunt consumers for years to come. LOOK AWAY!
Snickers- '#SnickersFixtheWorld' - BUY
This ad was a 'SELL' until I finally realized in the last 30 seconds that this was a spoof from a classic Coca-Cola ad from the '70s. That realization was followed by some cool cameos that appeared and sealed the 'BUY'.
If you spotted the best cameo of the ad without clicking that link then kudos to you. I hope everyone has the same reaction, "wait, was that...?"
T-Mobile 'Tell Your Mama' - BUY
I love my mama and consumers will love T-Mobile's 'Tell Your Mama' ad this Super Bowl. Anthony Anderson and his real-life mama join the Super Bowl commercial bonanza with their funny and heart-warming ad. This commercial did its job and got a chuckle too.
Verizon 'Smoke' - SELL
Forgettable. Verizon's (VZ) - Get Report 'Smoke' was a waste of time to watch and will be a waste of money for the telecommunications company. Did the advertising team forget they had to provide a commercial and emailed the video team to pull some stock video?
At least they reminded us all, "Do Not Attempt" to run into a house on fire. Or was it we shouldn't become a firefighter? I don't know. Who cares.
Here is a playlist of all the Super Bowl commercials:
As new commercials come in, TheStreet will update this story with a buy or sell judgment.