13 Worst Super Bowl Commercials Of All Time
I really wanted to do a list of great Super Bowl commercials for today. But this year, like the game itself, the commercials really weren’t all that exciting. And in fact, many of them were pretty stupid. So, lacking inspiration, I scrapped the plan to recap the best commercials and instead decided to do a list of shame featuring the worst Super Bowl commercials of all time.
Now, there are a lot of things that can make a Super Bowl commercial bad. It might be too corny or too serious; too bizarre or too boring; too racist or too sexist; too many talking dogs or too few. Or maybe the product or service being advertised is just plain dumb.
But why am I explaining this? You know a stupid Super Bowl commercial when you see it. So let’s just jump right in.
We start off with a commercial from 2012. And it’s not so much “bad” as it is really, really, stupid.
First off, Bud Light Platinum? That is just a stupid idea. Everyone knows the only reason people drink Bud Light instead of actual beer with flavor is to get drunk faster without getting full. So don’t insult our intelligence by saying this is some premium “top shelf” product. A futuristic CGI beer factory on TV isn’t going to trick me into thinking, hey, maybe this beer won’t be terrible.
And what’s the deal with the Kanye West song? It’s called Runaway, and the refrain goes, “run away as fast as you can.” I’m not an advertising expert or anything, but I always thought subliminal messages were supposed to make you want the product, not avoid it at all cost.
13. Bud Light Platinum (2012)
Some people credit Apple with inventing the modern cinematic Super Bowl commercial with their wildly successful 1984 commercial that introduced the world’s first Macintosh computer.
Unfortunately, in 1985 Apple took another stab at a revolutionary commercial...and fell flat on their faces.
It’s not that the commercial is poorly written and conceived. It’s that it was kind of terrifying and judgmental—two qualities that don’t go over well with consumers.
Here’s the 1984 ad, so you can compare:
12. Apple’s Lemmings (1985)
This commercial looks good, and it’s kind of amusing. The only thing is, Fred Astaire was already dead for about 10 years when it was made. So he wasn’t exactly around to say, “yeah, sure, take my life’s work and use it to sell your vacuum cleaners. I don’t mind at all”
Lesson: don’t make commercials starring dead people dancing with your stuff.
11. Fred Astaire dances with the (Dirt) Devil (1997)
Here’s one that is dumb, awkward, and poorly acted—a bad advertising hat trick.
Let Noxema cream your face? That’s gross. Which is probably why Farrah Fawcett and Joe Namath look like their just goofing around in the commercial. How could they take it seriously?
10. Farrah Fawcett, Joe Namath, and Noxema (1978)
Who’s Herb, Burger King? Who cares. Just pure lameness. That’s what this is.
9. Burger King’s “Herb” (1986)
What’s so bad about this? It’s the idea that there Gillette has devloped some futuristic shaving technology. Shaving has been around since the dawn of time, and unless we start doing it with lasers, it’s never going to be high tech. You can put as many blades and batteries as you want on that thing, but no one is impressed. So stop making stupid commercials like this. You don’t see Nike making commercials where some scientist in a lab develops new, cutting edge shoelaces, do you?
8. Gillette Fusion (2006)
Look, I know GoDaddy.com was just trying to get their name known when they started doing these ridiculous commercials back in 2005. And so you could say their commercials have been wildly successful, even if they are incredibly stupid.
But here’s the thing: now that I know what the hell Go Daddy is (a domain name registrar and web hosting service), if I have a choice, there is no way in hell I’m going to use them. In fact, their commercials are so annoying that I’m going to go out of my way not to use them.
So hasn’t this advertising strategy backfired at this point?
7. Go Daddy (2005-12)
This commercial is kind of funny; unfortunately, it doesn’t really make people want to stay at a Holiday Inn. For starters, it’s advertising renovations that haven’t been done yet, which means if you stay at a Holiday Inn in the next 6 months it will either be crappy and outdated or loud and noisy. Better just stay at the Best Western until they finish sprucing up, right? Also, I’m just not sure it’s good to compare your business to a person who had a sex change operation. “Holiday Inn: we’ve just realized we’re a hot chick hotel trapped in a male hotel’s body. Stay tuned!”
6. The “Bob Johnson” (1997)
You know what people don’t want to see while their eating wings and watching football? A cute, sentient robot being fired from his job at the auto plant, falling into a deep depression, and committing suicide.
Nice job, GM.
5. GM’s Suicidal Robot (2007)
Lighting horse farts? Who thought of this? Oh, right, I did...back in 1996...when I was thirteen years old and I thought Adam Sandler movies were hilarious.
4. Bud Light Farting Horse (2006)
This was easily the worst commercial from last year’s Super Bowl. And after thinking about it for a year, I’ve determined that it is indeed one of the worst commercials ever made. I mean, I like irreverent stuff, but this is a little much. “The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture is in jeopardy...hahaha who [email protected]$&ing cares, let’s eat cheap soup...Groupon.”
3. Groupon’s “Free Tibet” (2011)
Everyone thought the Sales Genie commercial was bad in 2007. Then they came back with this one in 2008, really elevating their racism to a whole new level.
Yes, I realize they were probably trying to make this add terrible. But I also think, when possible, you should try to avoid marketing campaigns that might alienate over a billion people.
2. Sales Genie (2008)
Bud Bowl: there has never been a stupider Super Bowl marketing campaign. But here’s a question for you:
What’s more incredible? The fact that someone thought up the “Bud Bowl” ad campaign, the fact that they actually chose to go through with it, or the fact that it lasted for a number of years?
Ha! That was a trick question. Each one is actually infinitely stupid, so the question is a paradox. Thanks for playing.
Wait, you want to see more Bud Bowl? Okay, fine. Here’s Bud Bowl IV: