A Definitive Ranking of the Superb Owl 2014 Commercials

I love the Superb Owl–both the game and the ads. But this year, because I was unable to watch the game on screen I was at least able to make up the ad experience on YouTube. Let me tell you, these ads are HEARTWARMING and hit all the right spots! Seriously, these are probably the best ads I’ve seen–like ever.

So! Let’s get started, shall we?

58)      Chrysler & Bob Dylan: Chrysler 200

VIDEO

“Is there anything more American than America?” Strike one. The ad is RIDICULOUSLY long and pretty dry and uninspiring. Strike two. Hitting racism when talking about phones and beer and watches? Strike 3, you’re out.

57)      Maserati Ghibli: Strike

VIDEO

Wut? The ad began with this inspiring speech, beautiful scenes. But then it takes a turn to the car revving, accelerating, then cuts to the Maserati logo…? It seems like a stab at other luxury car companies, but at a time when the economy is still pretty bad—the ad seems to be too much. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this ad made no sense.

56)      Transformers 4: Super Bowl Trailer

VIDEO

Let me start with the important details: robot dinosaur/dragon thing! No Shia LaBeouf! And what the hell is the rest? I’m gonna label it flash-bang and overkill. See above.

55)      Need For Speed: Super Bowl Trailer Official

VIDEO

Yawns can’t be said in any different way. While this ad has good cutting and special effects, by the time you watch the first few seconds you either lose or have interest. Not a particularly memorable ad.

54)      Jeep: Restless

VIDEO

Sure, this commercial has some beautiful camera work. But monologues are passé. And the announcer’s voice sounded detached from the message. It’s a nice attempt on the part of Jeep, but a crappy attempt at forging a bond between the company and viewers.

53)      Time Warner Cable: Grandma’s House

VIDEO

Talk about star-studded! There are famous people left and right! But the ad has no storyline, no sense, and does nothing to help TWC’s abysmal public ratings.

52)      Bud Light: Cool Twist

VIDEO

What a waste of money. Bud Light really didn’t need a 30 second ad to introduce a new 16oz aluminum bottle with a twisty cap. They just didn’t.

51)      Bud Light Platinum: Equalizer w/Zedd

VIDEO

To be honest, this was a bog-standard beer commercial. There were a couple of glamour shots of the beer bottle. There was a celebrity. There was a quick blurb about the beer. There was the logo. There went my time.

50)      2014 Hyundai Elantra: Nice

VIDEO

This ad might be higher if it weren’t so overshown before the game itself. While the idea of a back and forth was nice, in practice it kinda fell apart. Sure, it had its funny moments: but there wasn’t really anything told here—it seems more like an excerpt from a movie rather than an ad.

49)      American Family Insurance: Russell Wilson

VIDEO

I go to NC State, where Russell got his start. And even he couldn’t quite get me inspired. Apart from some beautiful camera work, this trying-too-hard-to-be-inspiring monologue falls flat before ever stirring the heart.

48)      Spider Man 2: Super Bowl Official Trailer

VIDEO

I liked the first Spider Man movie in this series—it was a perfect balance of entertaining and lovable and all the rest. I guess I’m just not fond of movie trailers during the Superb Owl.

47)      GoDaddy: Puppet Master

VIDEO

Not inspiring at all. Sure, there was an element of humor, but all in all, this ad took the YouTube genre of quitting one’s job in a public manner and needlessly supersized it. I will say this; it did a great job of showing just how easy it was to buy a Domain name.

46)      T-Mobile: We Killed the Long-Term Contract

VIDEO

It’s not that bad of an ad, and T-Mobile chose the right typeface for the occasion. But it’s nothing too special. That is the point, though…

45)      Chevrolet: Life #PurpleYourProfile

VIDEO

I get it, they’re trying to be selfless and inspiring. And in truth, this ad really is heartwarming—but only at the end. The whole first part of the ad had me confused—and the progression of events passed by a little too slow.

44)      T-Mobile: Tim Tebow 2

VIDEO

Not as witty as the other Tebow ad—but definitely still situationally funny. I’ll give it this, though. The ad just works. That being said, I hope that the other one gets aired more than this one.

43)      GoPro: Red Bull Stratos

VIDEO

Basing an ad off of an ad off of a stunt. Y’know, I like them for their guts. And moreover, there can be no better way to show off the potential of the camera. But I feel like the footage was a bit misplaced and would have worked better and been cheaper if GoPro aired it soon after the jump.

42)      Heinz Ketchup: Hum

VIDEO

Ketchup and the Superb Owl go hand in hand. And this means that this ad is well placed. It just didn’t light a spark with me. It wasn’t particularly funny or groundbreaking, but it’s still a pretty good commercial.

41)      Doritos: Cowboy Kid

VIDEO

This ad is cute, and a continuation of the fight for the bold flavor of Doritos. But there are a couple of things wrong here. First off, YOU CAN’T RIDE A DOG LIKE THAT. Secondly, the mom saying “Yaaaaaay” at the end…her son just got wailed on by her other son. That’s not yay: that’s go to your room, no Doritos for either of you (and more for me).

40)      Soda Stream: Sorry, Coke and Pepsi

VIDEO

After last year’s issues getting a Soda Stream ad onto the telley—they were finally able to get one. The ad uses hints of sex to sell the product. Not really inspiring or funny, but appreciated.

39)      CarMax: Slow Clap

VIDEO

Yeah. It’s nice. It’s kinda funny. The slow clap is a nice touch, but it would have been better with puppies. Try again next time.

38)      T-Mobile: Tim Tebow Shows You What You Can Do with #NOCONTRACT

VIDEO

Way to factor in Tebow’s lack of an NFL contract—but in a funny way. This ad is just long enough for the message to get across effectively. Now, as to why they had a second…I don’t know. But this might just be the start of a beautiful opportunity for Tebow. I do get the feeling that we’re going to be seeing a LOT of this ad soon…

37)       Labatt Blue: Undomesticated Snowboarding

VIDEO

This is your typical big game beer ad, with a slight twist. This is also the ONLY ad I’ve seen with semi-scantily-clad women trying to sell people beer. However, this ad was redeemed by the disclaimers: “Professional Stunt Man. Do not attempt.” Followed by the bear and: “Correcton, professional stunt bear. Do not attempt.”

36)       H&M: David Beckham

VIDEO

Oddly enough, the only ad to use sex appeal to sell was an ad for a men’s clothing line. Welcome to the new age! On the other hand, the ad really had nothing much to offer other than some glam shots of the underwear and some images of David Beckham being a traceur. Also, parkour barefoot hurts. Don’t do it.

35)       Coca-Cola: Going All The Way

VIDEO

Hey, it’s cute. But compared to their other ad, this one barely can hold a candle. Still, it’s a pretty good standalone story of potential and success. I’ll say no more about this ad.

34)       Microsoft: Empowering

VIDEO

What a way to showcase the things that Microsoft, Windows 8, technology in general. Including Steve Gleason’s take on this was definitely the way to go. While Microsoft may have gone a little too grand with the gestures, it is fitting for a grand event such as the Superb Owl.

33)       Bank of America ft. U2: RED (2014)

VIDEO

What a great cause, and a great idea. This cause is fantastic! The ad, on the other hand: was a little meh. The cinematographic skill was apparent and there was a cool bit with synchronized flashlights but the ad didn’t quite light a fire in my heart. That being said: support RED, eh? (It might be too late to download, but there’s enough time to donate!)

32)       RadioShack: The Phone Call

VIDEO

RadioShack is on its last legs. After rebranding itself once as a hobbyists shop and having little to no success, they re-entered the public sphere with what seems to be a plan to modernize. And what a way to announce it. By literally stripping themselves of the 80s feel the stores gave out (and by acknowledging that they were outdated), they made themselves more modern. A good way to go from chrysalis to butterfly.

31)       Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt: The Spill

VIDEO

This ad was funny, but it just didn’t feel quite right, so it ranks below Chobani’s. First off, the dialogue was HILARIOUS, and the breaking of the sexual tension by the cleaning roommates gets even more awkward when you realize that this whole dairy-inspired sex was happening as the roommates were in the same room. What?

30)       Smart Car: Electric Offroading

VIDEO

This is a great way to show visually that Smart cars are meant for the city and are efficient. Showing the Suburban at the end sealed the deal. Funny, simple, and smart. Just as a Smart Car should be.

29)       Bud Light: Ian Up For Whatever

VIDEO

It’s a fun ad, showing the consequences of fun and random things. And they’re just getting started. A good teaser for what’s to come…

28)      Beats Music: Ellen DeGeneres

VIDEO

A nice twist on the classic fairy tale leading to a dance party: for this, this ad is nice. Nothing too special. Just nice.

27)      AXE PEACE: Make Love, Not War

VIDEO

At its core, I like it. It’s different from other AXE ads in that it focuses more on relationships and human interactions rather than on “getting the girl” which seemed up to now to be AXE’s M.O. Well done, AXE, well done indeed.

26)       GoDaddy: Bodybuilder

VIDEO

For once, a series of GoDaddy ads that don’t use sex to sell. Danica’s cameo in the commercial was well-timed Honestly, this was a beautiful way to show the power of owning a domain name!

25)       Sonos: Fill Your House With Music

VIDEO

A story told with no words at all? You clever corporation, you! Seriously, this ad shows us exactly what to expect from the product. Exactly how to use it and how easy it is to use. And they even created a master symphony. All while using five colors. Dang.

24)       Jaguar: British Villains

VIDEO

So many stereotypes, so little time. But with a guest appearance by Loki, the Trickster God among others, who cares? This ad fits Jaguar like a glove. A glove of evil. Resting on a hand of evil. Doing evil deeds.

23)       Honda: Hug Fest

VIDEO

Bruce Willis at his most emotional. I don’t know about you, but I turned and hugged some people after seeing this ad. The comic relief provided at the end made it relatable and plain awesome. Bruce’s head was perfectly off-center as well. Great shot!

22)       2014 Toyota Highlander: Terry Crews and the Muppets

VIDEO

Terry Crews should be the star of the next Muppets movie.

21)       Duracell: Trust Your Power, Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks

VIDEO

This story is inspiring as it is. For weeks before the game, Mr. Coleman’s story was being told. To be honest, this is as fitting a condensed version of his story as is possible. Kudos to you, Duracell.

20)       Butterfinger: Cups

VIDEO

That is a…threesome. Yeah, no. Definitely a threesome. Cleverly done ad with just the right amount of risqué thrown in.

19)       Chobani Greek Yogurt: Bear

VIDEO

In what seems to be a slight bear theme, Chobani presented us with their rendition of what would happen if a bear were to enter a general store in small-town America. It’s a light-hearted ad, but does a good job of sharing its message of “All Natural”

18)       Chevrolet: Romance

VIDEO

This starts very slowly, but picks up just as your brain realizes what’s about to happen. Now THAT’S what I call a happy ending for the cow. Moo.

17)       Budweiser: A Hero’s Welcome

VIDEO

I cried a little. Sure, this has been overdone (hence the lower ranking)—but that they were able to get a whole town in on this, that they showed the emotions in such a human way shows that they did this for more reasons than just marketing. BRAVO.

16)       TurboTax: Love Hurts

VIDEO

At its core, I like this ad. Using Sean as a metaphor for every other team in the NFL brings to light just how much misery there is in the nation. That being said, money from a federal tax refund doesn’t quite light my candle as enough restitution. But with the money I earn from that refund, I can go buy a lighter so SCREW EM!

15)       Wonderful Pistachios: Stephen Colbert Part 1

VIDEO

First off: EAGLE WEARING A SUIT! Second off, I genuinely like this ad. Like the Cards Against Humanity card: “A really cool hat”. This ad is that really cool hat. It’s not offensive, or overly funny. It just works. There’s no other way to say it other than it makes me happy. And compared to last year’s Gangnam Style whatever it was, it’s perfectly understated.

14)       Squarespace: A Better Web Awaits

VIDEO

This could have been a terrible ad. But Squarespace was able to make it awesome! We all know that the web is a dangerous, odd place to hang out. And things that happen there only happen there. By putting it all in the real world, they showed us just how messed up it can be at times. For social commentary, you win this round.

13)       M&M’S: Delivery

VIDEO

This ad is innocent in all the right ways; which is saying something, because for the first half of the ad you assume that there is a person in the trunk that is getting threatened. But in the end, we somehow leave ok with what we just witnessed. Call it the magic of the M&M’S, but this was a good ad.

12)       Volkswagen: Wings

VIDEO

I drive Passat with 116k miles. That car gave a German engineer his wings ages ago—but everything about this ad makes me all kinds of happy: from the literal take on the wings, to the humor played in with the wings. I look forward to seeing what VW cooks up in the future!

11)       Kia Motor Company: The Truth

VIDEO

I never thought I’d see an ad marketing Kia as a luxury brand. This is the same company that has the Dancing Hamsters for the Soul. While Morpheus might not approve of being used as a corporate selling tool, I definitely do. This ad delivered the air of fun, not stuffy, luxury—and falls right in line with Kia’s sense of humor.

10)       Ford Motor Company: Nearly Double

VIDEO

Making a 1:30 ad is crazy. Unheard of, daring, cavalier, and FANTASTIC. This ad shows pictorially just how AWESOME the new Ford Fusion is. Basically, I want one now.

9)       Bud Light: Ian Up For Whatever 60

VIDEO

A worthy continuation of the 30 second ad (see number 15)—there is the perfect balance of star-studded to realism to make this ad relatable yet dreamy. The best part is the end—when Announcer Dude sums up the ad with a sales pitch. Bravo!

8)       2015 Hyundai Genesis

VIDEO

This ad is so simple and tugs at the heartstrings HARD. While watching this thing I was freaking out every other time because of all the near misses. It reminds me that dads are always there to look after their children—and assures parents that even when they’re not around, their munchkin is safe. Thanks, Hyundai.

7)       Wonderful Pistachios: Stephen Colbert Part 2

VIDEO

In his usual style: this is overkill. But at 15 seconds, Wonderful was able to produce the best sales pitch for their money from any other company at the Superb Owl. I’m off to buy some pistachios now.

6)       Intuit QuickBooks Presents: GoldieBlox: Come on Bring the Toys

VIDEO

Where should I start? The cover of “Cum on Feel the Noise?” The fact that another company paid for a smaller company to have its own Superb Owl ad? That GoldieBlocks is a fantastic company founded for an awesome reason? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes. That’s all I will say.

5)       Audi: Doberhuahua

VIDEO

Advertising is meant to catch the eye with subtle differences between expectation and the presented reality. And this ad pulls it off with aplomb. The dog is creepy enough to give you a good fright and the dialogue is fantastic. No compromise, this ad was good.

4)       Budweiser: Puppy Love

VIDEO

My eyeballs are MELTING with how cute this video is. Clydesdale being cute? Check. Puppy being cute? Check. Amazing nonverbal storytelling? Check check check.

3)       Cheerios: Gracie

VIDEO

The return of the controversial (for some odd reason) interracial family is marked by some definite cute moments. I’m pretty sure that this ad was crafted to tempt the critics again: the mom is pregnant, the girl is sassy, and a brother is on the way. They better continue this story next year or I’m gonna be sad!

 

2)       Doritos: Time Machine

VIDEO

Doritos outdid itself once again with a lighthearted ad that is easy to digest for everyone. The time machine concept is a BRILLIANT idea and they pulled it off successfully by having the whole thing be an obvious ruse to get free Doritos. You go chip company.

 

1)       Coca-Cola: It’s Beautiful

VIDEO

It seems like we can’t go through a Superb Owl without there being some kind of controversial ad. Call me a bleeding-heart liberal, but I love multilingual renditions of things; especially things that belong to a multicultural country like the US. Using multiple languages in this ad shows that Coke knows what it has always known: despite the fact that everyone comes from a different country and speaks a different language, we are all unified by one common language and one common drink. So to all my Anglophones, Anglophones and other phones, and coke drinkers: let’s raise a glass! And Open Happiness.

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