Best and worst Super Bowl ads of 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - 9:23pm

Best: Coca-Cola — A Mini Marvel (Hulk vs. Ant-Man)


There were a few ads during this year’s game with tie-ins to existing movie franchises, but none had as much fun with the characters as this one. It features Ant-Man stealing a can of Coke Mini from Bruce Banner, who then Hulks out and runs after Ant-Man. It’s a simple ad, but it maintains the tone of characters from the movies and puts them into a situation where they could be funny. In this case, that’s all that matters.

Alex Intner

Best: Heinz — Weiner Stampede


With Budweiser not including one of their famous puppy and clydesdale ads, someone needed to fill in the gap, and that’s exactly what Heinz did. While the concept — weiner dogs dressed as hot dogs running up to a crowd of people dressed up as condiment bottles — isn’t exactly intelligent, something about watching a group of puppies doing anything makes for an enjoyable 30 seconds. Given how bad some of the ads were this year, that was enough to elevate this ad to one of the best.

Alex Intner

Best: Hyundai — “Ryanville”


Am I biased because I love Ryan Reynolds? Maybe a little.

To promote its new “distraction-safe” car, the 2017 Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai placed two girls in the most distracting area possible: a neighborhood filled with Ryan Reynoldses. The “Green Lantern” star is literally everywhere — playing football with himself in the yard, doing sweaty construction work, getting pulled over by a cop (who, of course, is also Ryan). There are so many Ryans that the girls don’t see the Ryan walking puppies across the road — but luckily, they’re saved from catastrophe by Hyundai’s new automatic emergency brake system, which includes a pedestrian detector. Is it cheesy? Yes. Did it make me want to buy a car with an emergency brake system? If it means I wouldn’t run over Ryan Reynolds, then also yes.

Hailey Middlebrook

Best: Bud Light — The Bud Light Party


“America. They say we’re a nation divided. They say we disagree on everything. But they’re wrong. We agree on a lot.” Like the greatness of this Bud Light commercial.

There’s a new campaign on the rise, and it has a platform we can all agree on: beer. Campaign managers Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen lead the movement for Bud Light’s run for presidency, traveling from the rodeo to a Lakers Game (shoutout to Paul Rudd for the cameo), from a construction site to the White House steps. Sure, the duo makes a predictable raunchy joke — “Just wait til you see our caucus. We got the biggest caucus in the country!” — and Rogen quotes “Independence Day” for his speech, but altogether, the commercial is fresh, funny and exactly what we needed to get through the months leading up to the election. Their slogan is catchy, too: “America has seen the light! And there’s a Bud in front of it!”

Hailey Middlebrook

Worst: Hyundai — First Date


This commercial went wrong from the moment of conception. The idea of a dad heckling his daughter’s boyfriend has been done so many times and so many ways at this point, there’s really no way to make it feel fresh or new. This ad, which features Kevin Hart (“Ride Along 2”) as the dad, doesn’t break any kind of ground and relies on stupid tropes for getting laughs. It’s hard to give any credit to something which doesn’t try to do anything we haven’t seen before, and do it better. Hart plays broadly throughout the ad, but he can’t do anything to right this poorly-conceived ship.

Alex Intner

Worst: Jublia


How am I writing about foot fungus for the second year in a row? Seriously, Jublia felt the need to spend another $5 million on a Super Bowl ad in this year’s game. This time around, the ad featured a foot where the big toenail has a face and fights off fungus-colored “toenail fungus” text while Howie Long and other football stars looked on. It’s a horrifically stupid conceit; yes, I know the drug “fights” toenail fungus, but there has to be a more clever way of showing that than using a CGI foot. Maybe next year …

Alex Intner

Worst: Mountain Dew Kickstart — Puppymonkeybaby


One thing is certain: the makers of this commercial were on something stronger than Kickstart.

Like most Kickstart commercials, the scene opened with a bunch of guys sitting on a couch, waiting for their night to (kick) start. In walks the entertainment for the night: a bucket of Kickstart and “Puppymonkeybaby,” a freakish creature with baby legs, a monkey body and a pug puppy’s head. To make things weirder, the thing keeps chanting “puppymonkeybaby” while it dances with a rattle, spilling ice all over the couch and licking one of the guy’s faces. The guys do end up getting up and dancing — so maybe the night worked out for them — but having the bizarre puppymonkeybaby leading their dance moves was just way too creepy. Sorry, Kickstart.

Hailey Middlebrook

Worst: Skittles — Steven Tyler


So many good Skittles went to waste because of Steven Tyler.

In the ad, Steven Tyler, the pirate-esque lead singer of “Aerosmith,” is introduced to his new self-portrait: a larger-than-life picture of his face, made entirely out of rainbow Skittles. The portrait can sing, of course — the real Tyler challenges it to belt out the screechiest bars of “Dream On,” which ultimately breaks the picture like a mirror, showering Skittles across the floor. What does this commercial tell us? Steven Tyler is super competitive with himself, “Dream On” can shatter more than just eardrums and Skittles belong on the floor. Instead of pushing us to “Rock the Rainbow,” Skittles should keep encouraging us to “Taste the Rainbow” — preferably off the floor.

Hailey Middlebrook