The Patriots and the Rams didn’t bring much offensive sizzle to Super Bowl 53. Neither did Madison Avenue, which served up more than 50 ads that were heavy on celebrity cameos and light on creativity. But there were a few standouts. Here’s the best of the bunch, in my view:
Stella Artois: Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City” edition), Jeff Bridges (reprising the Dude from “The Big Lebowski”), and the ex-Dos Equis guy (Jonathan Goldsmith as the Most Interesting Man in the World, at least in some versions found online) abided comically in the ad for the originally-from-Belgium pilsner. Stella (which is owned by the same company that owns Budweiser) is definitely the best of the beers that ran ads during the game.
Hyundai: Jason Bateman (“Ozark,” “Arrested Development”) as an elevator operator stopping at various iterations of hell (e.g., jury duty and root canal surgery) before highlighting that buying a Hyundai online is a heavenly experience. Coincidentally, when I arrived home after the game, I had to help push a Korean SUV out of a snow bank. It was a Kia, which ran a feel-good patriotic ad about the workers at its plant in West Point, Ga.
Amazon: The Internet giant delivered a self-deprecating spoof of all the products Alexa should not be built into featuring Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson from “Broad City,” and NASA astronaut twins Scott and Mark Kelly. At least Amazon can make us laugh us as they work to enslave us.
A few random observations:
Who knew? Bud Light revealed to the beer-drinking world that Miller Lite and Coors Light include corn syrup in their brewing. Big Corn Syrup was not happy. And thanks to Burger King, I now know that Andy Warhol once appeared in an experimental film eating a hamburger. (Yes, that was really Warhol.)
Questionable taste: Using the theme of addiction to sell frozen food (Devour Frozen Foods, a subsidiary of Heinz), didn’t seem like the best choice. During an opioid crisis?
Playing it safe: Unlike in the past two years, there were no ads even hinting at controversial topics like immigration. Instead we got very nice tributes to veterans (from Google) and first responders (Verizon).
Honorable mention: I have to give a nod to The Washington Post, for reminding a huge television audience that good, hard-nosed journalism (which does not necessarily include reviews of Super Bowl commercials) is important to democracy. Now if they would stop stealing some of our best reporters . . .You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @GlobeNewsEd. Sign up for my Talking Points AM newsletter here.