You can't fault the commercials of Super Bowl 50 for not having range. This was a broadcast that included Helen Mirren on the one hand, and #puppymonkeybaby on the other. But among the slew of celebrities, stunt, hijinks and lowbrow humor, a few spots really stood out.
Below, check out our picks for the five best spots, plus some honorable mentions.
This was the final year of its "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, and Doritos saved the best for last. "Ultrasound" has all the hallmarks of a typical Doritos Super Bowl spot: It's crass but not overly so, and broadly dumb in a funny way. But it rises to become a classic with its perfect escalation of physical humor and, just as important, its hilarious relatability—to men and women—underneath the squirm-inducing premise. Those screams at Super Bowl parties we're totally of revulsion—they were of recognition, too.
Heinz Ketchup “Wiener Stampede”
Of all the animal-themed ads in this year's game—and yes, the animal-human hybrid ads—this was the simplest, most fun and infectious. Hilarious, adorable and absurd all in one.
Can a soundtrack alone make a Super Bowl commercial work? The perfect use of David Bowie's "Starman" certainly took this Audi spot a long way toward the heavens, elevating what might have seemed like a hyperbolic premise into a finished spot that's borderline cosmic. Great pacing and direction, too, make this a standout in a crowded field of cars.
T-Mobile “Restricted Bling”
Of the dozens of celebrities in the Super Bowl 50 ads, Drake's performance for T-Mobile was the most winning, as he gleefully and self-deprecatingly submits to comical revisions of "Hotline Bling" from a rival carrier. Two great veteran commercial actors, Brian Huskey and Jerry Lambert, help bring this one home, too.
Once again, going quieter amid the noise of the Super Bowl pays off for an advertiser. This lovely spot from iris New York stitches together more than 60 curated photos—some celebrities, most not—that tell the story of Jeep's history, and its drivers' role in it, on the Fiat Chrysler brand's 75th birthday. It aired during the halftime break—a slot also used to great effect by other quieter spots in recent Super Bowls (Chrysler's own "It's Halftime in America" in 2012, and Always "Like a Girl" last year). Giving viewers something thoughtful, and beautiful—with inspiring craft—can make a lasting impression at the circus of advertising's biggest night.
Below are the honorable mentions, in alphabetical order:
Avocados From Mexico