The biggest TV event of the year, Super Bowl LVI, is now over with, and while the winning team’s fanbase is going to be celebrating this day for the next year, the best parts of the night for millions of other viewers were the commercial breaks. As well as the most-watched TV program, the Super Bowl is also noteworthy for being such an expensive endeavor for advertisers, and I’m not talking about the exorbitant ticket prices. Thankfully, most of those high-dollar efforts end up being worth viewers’ time and attention, and that’s no different here in 2022. (Check out last year’s best ads for comparison.)
To take nothing away from the equally discussed and equally expensive halftime show, nor the badass new trailers that debuted (such as that multiverse-expanding Doctor Strange preview), here are the funniest, weirdest and all-around best ads from this year’s Super Bowl.
Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda's Trip To Guy Fieri's Flavortown
I cannot lie, I'm not a card-carrying member of Guy Fieri's fanbase, as much as I can binge-watch the bejesus out of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at a moment's notice. But I appreciate the self-awareness with which he embraces his branding, and that reaches its illogical tipping point within the ad for Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda. That many Fieri lookalikes in one place seems about as unnatural as the flavors of libations being advertised, and yet it all flows together so nicely.
BMW Turning Arnold Schwarzenegger And Salma Hayek's Zeus And Hera
Arnold Schwarzenegger's muscle-bound Zeus and Salma Hayek's confident heroine Hera certainly showed off the wrath of the gods in this BMW ad, though it was a hilariously petty form of wrath. That said, I can relate to the idea of getting sick of people constantly asking for electricity-based favors. He's the God of Lightning, people, not the God of Making Your Shit Work All the Time. Whether or not this ad boosts sales for BMW, it boosts my interest in seeing a limited-episode sitcom or quirky indie comedy featuring Schwarzenegger and Hayek as a couple coping with suburbia.
Squarespace And Zendaya's Tongue Twister
Who is hotter than Zendaya right now, between starring in the box office titan Spider-Man: No Way Home to starring in HBO's Euphoria to having her own wax figure? Of course she has her own Super Bowl commercial, even if fans shouldn't expect to be able to repeat it back three times fast. I admit this commercial wouldn't have won me over as much if I didn't have such an affinity for alliteration.
Irish Spring's Creepy Soap Cult
I don't often equate Super Bowl commercials with soap brands, and I don't often associate soap with old-school cults. But thanks to Irish Spring, that's no longer the case. This oddball ad doesn't get quite as dark as The Wicker Man, Midsommar or other folk-horror standouts, but that's absolutely the vibe being invoked, and I applaud their efforts with the freshest-smelling hands.
Pringles Getting Hilariously Dark
Speaking of hands, Pringles may take home the non-existing award for the most delightfully dark commercial, with the extended version really driving home a sense of absurd feels. Who knew one could become something nearing wistful over the concept of a dude who got his hand trapped inside a Pringles can? And yet, this ad that evokes the iconic Six Feet Under series finale does just that.
General Motors Bringing Mike Myers' Dr. Evil Back
Weirdly, 2022 is the year when two mega-successful Canadian comedians reprised movie roles for Super Bowl ads, with Mike Myers' Austin Powers reunion for General Motors beating out Jim Carrey's Cable Guy return, at least in my book. Yes, part of it is the outright horror inspired by that baby. And yes, a lot of it is also Rob Lowe and Seth Green and Mindy Sterling.
Amazon Alexa Reading Scarlett Johansson And Colin Jost's Minds
Another wonderfully dark joke to pop up during Super Bowl LVI's commercial assortment factored into Amazon's Alexa commercial with Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost. As if people's paranoia isn't already overly stoked, the ad approaches the concept of Alexa reading its users' minds, leading to Jost's mental Note To Self to fake his own death as a way of getting out of watching Scar-Jo's play opening. Dark, but understandable, we'll say.
Lays' Trip Down Memory Lane With Seth Rogen And Paul Rudd
If there was a promo that solely featured Paul Rudd's face floating across the screen like that one ad with the QR Code, I'd probably still give it a thumbs up. But I'm 115% into a Super Bowl ad where he and Seth Rogen sort through over-the-top false memories, especially when it ends with Rogen getting married to a home-posessing ghoul. Those final seconds of Rudd dancing as Rogen and his bride are being carried in chairs is fucking gold.
Uber Don't Eats Proving That Diapers Aren't Edible
While it was definitely funny to watch Jennifer Coolidge chowing down on lipstick and a makeup brush in an early ad, the longer version is pretty amazing for how many times it causes one's gag reflex to reassert its existence. Perhaps the wildest moment in the ad is Gwyneth Paltrow taking a bite out of her Goop candle whose scent is famously modeled after her vagina, the part that sells it for me is Coolidge yelling with wet diaper fluff in her mouth. SO GROSS! SO FUNNY!
Liquid Death's Kid Party
Considering how many Super Bowl ads these days are mainly held up by the presence of A-list celebrities, it's easy to forget that marketing companies have long used the NFL platform to deliver subversive spots that pushed the envelope in certain ways. Liquid Death delivers pure perfection here, with kids and even a pregnant woman shown drinking from aluminum cans that purposefully share a resemblance with beer cans. It'd be amazing and probably a little dangerous if kids truly went this wild just from drinking water.
FTX Featuring Larry David Being Larry David Throughout History
With Curb Your Enthusiasm having wrapped its latest season some months back, the best gift that Super Bowl LVI could have given fans is "Larry David delivering curmudgeonly pessimism throughout history.” I love the idea of him playing the person who does not see the value in some of the most important inventions ever thought up, since it feels like the most natural idea ever. Plus, anybody who thought the TV ad was entirely too short can take comfort in knowing the company FTX put out the extended cut seen above.
The NFL Bringing Video Games To Life
Even though I'm still in disbelief that this wasn't a commercial for the Madden video game series, I could not have been more impressed with how fun and silly and exciting this NFL-centric promotion is. Featuring some of the sport's most iconic athletes, even the late Walter Payton, this is another commercial where I wish the concept could be developed further as a TV or film project. Like Pixels, just like, not Pixels.
Rocket Mortgage Playing Barbie With Anna Kendrick
Considering how many old-school toys are once again populating store shelves, it's only fitting for two classic brands to factor into Super Bowl ads. In this case, we have Anna Kendrick sharing how Barbie used Rocket Mortgage to lock down her Dream House. I'm betting no one was giving House Flipper Skipper any gruff, what with that sledgehammer she was holding. But the Dream House wasn't the only abode sparking realtor interest, with Castle Grayskull also popping up, with He-Man and Skeletor toys making appearances.
T-Mobile Doing It For The Phones With Miley Cyrus And Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton makes everything better, and that certainly includes T-Mobile commercials. For this set of Super Bowl adverts, Dolly Parton gave a heartfelt plea for someone to please think about the phones. Won't someone think about the phones?!? It culminated in Miley Cyrus running with the "good cause" and turning it into an issue-oriented song. What's more, T-Mobile released a full music video for the song, which is what's included above, because it's a fabulous piece of comedic and musical overkill.
Kia's Robot Dog Schmaltz
Part of me hates this commercial for being so transparent with the "feelings" it very clearly aims to inspire, especially with the overused "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as the backing track. However, it mostly hits the right side of ridiculous, and that dog is adorable, even if it probably doesn't exist outside of computer pixels. Does Kia have any connections with Disney+ to give this dog his own show? I need something to get a spinoff, people!
There were definitely quite a few other memorable ads that aired, from the Joneses/Jonases/Etc. bit to Ty Burrell going broke from impulse purchases to Law & Order franchise stars Chris Meloni, Mariska Hargitay and others railing on NBC for spotlighting Kenan Thompson. But there's only so much time in the day. While waiting for next year’s Super Bowl and all of its controversial penalties, head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.