Ah, the Super Bowl: There’s the sportsmanship, the big game, the halftime show, the Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and of course, the commercials.
Super Bowl commercials are notoriously expensive; a 30-second spot in 2020 reportedly costs around $5.6 million. So they’re often full of high-profile celebrities, zany humor, and some unorthodox twists on television advertisements as we know them. In recent years, most of these trailers find their way online before the big game itself, but that doesn’t mean companies — [cough] Planters [cough] — wasted all the surprises before Super Bowl Sunday itself.
In case you missed the game, or in case you just wanted to relive the best moments of the night, we’ve rounded up the X trailers worth watching.
Amazon Alexa: “Before Alexa”
Say what you want about Amazon or Ellen Degeneres, but this commercial — wherein we as an audience travel back in time to see what people did “before Alexa” — is funny. There are jesters and jugs and dragons and variations of the name “Alexa” throughout time.
Avocados from Mexico: “The Avocados from Mexico Shopping Network”
Look, look, we’re all aware of the “millennials love avocados” stereotype at this point. We get it. It’s a thing! But, c’mon, would we pay for a little pouch to gently hold a delicious avocado to my chest? Pfft, of course not. Maybe. I mean, it would depend on how much it was.
Doritos: “Old Town Road”
The first teaser of this one had me at “Sam Elliot walks into a bar and narrates the words to ‘Old Town Road’ in a rough and gruff monotone.” The extended version brings together Elliot and Lil Nas X together for a yeehaw dance showdown.
This commercial made me quietly sob in the office, like full-on globs of tears. Essentially, the real-life father of a Google employee tells his Google assistant to help him remember his late wife. Let’s not think about the implications of Google having access to treasured memories and photos — it can be used for good!
Hyundai: “Smaht Pahk”
Some big names from Boston — Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, and David “Big Papi” Ortiz — comment about routine parking in the city, but with really hammy Boston accents. Every moment is delightful. Dare I say I want … more of this advertisement? No, but really can we just get a full theatrical cut of this?
Jeep: “Groundhog Day”
Okay, it’s Bill Murray as Phil Connors, his character in the 1993 classic Groundhog Day — you know, the one where he lives the same day over and over again? Except, while the commercial starts off hitting the movie beat-by-beat, Phil decides to take a garish orange Jeep for a swing. No day is the same with a Jeep! Bonus points on this one because Super Bowl day was actually Groundhog Day.
New York Life: “Agape”
I don’t know what New York Life is but I do know it made me cry for the second time, so there’s that. I think it’s insurance. Is it an effective advertisement if I don’t know what it’s for, but I’m still thinking about the little acts of Agape we do for everyone important in our lives?
Pepsi: “Zero Sugar. Done Right.”
Missy Elliot covers Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” That’s it, and that’s what makes it worthy of this list.
Last year, Skittles mounted a stage musical. This year, Planters planned a funeral. The peanut company announced on Jan. 22 that Mr. Peanut, the face of Planters since 1916, had perished after falling off a cliff. What exactly does that mean for the commercial? A funeral where other brand mascots, such as the Kool-Aid Man and Mr. Clean, mourn Mr. Peanut. And then ... from his grave, where his mangled corpse presumably rests, a plant grows ... revealing ... Baby Nut.
#BabyNut here, back and cuter than ever! Now what should I do next? Tell me in the replies and I’ll try to do them in real time! And yes… suggestions that are a little nutty are ok. https://t.co/UWFWzPURht— Baby Nut (@MrPeanut) February 3, 2020
Pringles with Rick and Morty
Last year, a smart device lamented that it would never know the joy of tasting Pringles. This year, Pringles has recruited Rick and Morty to make a meta-commentary about commercials and paying big names to be in them. And then a horde of robots attack. Will Pringles be the next Szechuan sauce?
Squarespace: “Winona in Winona”
There is something very endearing about Winona Ryder shout-talking to a police officer about creating a website whilst lying on the snowy ground in front of the welcome billboard for the town of Winona, Minnesota. The ad is made all the more endearing when you learn that the website Winona Ryder is designing about Winona, Minnesota — using SquareSpace! — actually exists! Word’s out on whether she actually put it together herself, though.
Tide: “Laundry Later”
This one’s a three-parter, surprisingly. It starts off with a pretty alright Tide commercial, where Charlie Day gets sauce on his shirt during the Big Game and laments about how he wants to do laundry, but his wife tells him he can wait for later.
The next commercial break brought what looked like a Bud light commercial — complete with the fallen Bud Knight! — till Charlie Day wanders in, looking to wash his shirt. Everyone mocks him. It’s great. And it gets better — Charlie Day also stumbles into a scene from Wonder Woman 1984
And here’s another one, which is an ad for the next season of The Masked Singer.
Don’t worry, folks, he makes it in the end.