If you weren't watching last night's Super Bowl for the game or for Beyonce's halftime show, you were probably watching for the commercials — and unfortunately, you were probably disappointed. Though there were a few standouts, even this year's very best ads fell short of greatness, with no creative triumphs on par with 2011's Darth Vader Volkswagon spot. What was the best and worst of this year's unspectacular crop? The 10 best — and 5 worst — Super Bowl commercials:
1. Got Milk?: "Milk Mustache"
The night's funniest commercial belonged to the "Got Milk?" campaign, which earned laughs (and made a strong case for the power of milk) by showing Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on an average, world-saving day.
2. Budweiser: "The Clydesdales: 'Brotherhood'"
Budweiser revisited its iconic Clydesdales for this sweet, simple commercial, as a horse and his boy are reunited after years of separation.
3. Best Buy: "Asking Amy"
Pro tip to companies looking for a new spokesperson: More Amy Poehler is always a good thing, as proven by this Best Buy commercial in which she barrages a hapless employee with questions.
4. Tide: "Miracle Stain"
This Tide ad manages to tie into the big game and make its product the key to a surprise ending in a clever paean to football fandom.
5. Dodge Ram Trucks: "God Made a Farmer"
This heartstrings-puller draws much of its power by appropriating an old Paul Harvey monologue. It's undeniably effective, and the decision to use still images instead of video makes this ad stand out from the pack.
6. Toyota: "Wish Granted"
This Toyota ad mines the most out of its simple concept with great execution, as a family discovers that their wishes can have Monkey's Paw-style consequences.
7. Universal: "Fast & Furious 6"
In a commercial roster that was packed with underwhelming movie ads, this spot for the gleefully ridiculous Fast & Furious 6 was a much-needed shot of adrenaline.
8. Taco Bell: "Viva Young"
It goes on a little too long, but Taco Ball's winking ode to the young at heart is memorable and well-paced, with a perfect song selection.
9. Kia: "Space Babies"
"Where do babies come from?" is pretty shopworn comedic territory, but Kia makes the concept feel fresh with this elaborate, well-produced commercial.
10. M&M's: "Love Ballad"
A perfect song choice and some terrific voiceover work makes this M&M's ad stand out from the pack.
1. GoDaddy.com: "Perfect Match Bar Refaeli's Big Kiss!"
GoDaddy continues its string of worst Super Bowl ad victories with this characteristically sexist ad, which features supermodel Bar Refaeli's making out with "Walter" in an uncomfortably long close-up.
2. Gildan: "Getaway"
More sexist stereotypes, as a guy attempts to sneak away from a one-night stand, but turns back to tear his favorite T-shirt off of his sleeping bedmate. Sleazy and unfunny.
3. Marvel: "Iron Man 3 Game Spot"
The surest to kill the momentum from Iron Man 3's big Super Bowl spot? Tell viewers they need to visit the movie's Facebook page to watch the full clip.
4. Doritos: "Fashionista Daddy"
Attention, advertisers: Men dressing as women is not inherently funny, as this lame, lazy Doritos ad shows.
5. Wonderful Pistachios: "Get Crackin'"
Just when the world was finally getting over "Gangnam Style" for good, PSY reappears with this too-late ad to get his inescapable hit stuck in our heads all over again.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- 10 things you need to know today: October 1, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why colleges' insistence on 'diversity' actually fails disadvantaged kids
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects
Subscribe to the Week