Jerod Smalley’s Annual Super Bowl Ad Review

Local News
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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — I’m lucky to say I covered the 2018 Super Bowl, perhaps the best ever played. I’m also lucky to say I DID NOT cover the 2019 Super Bowl, possibly the worst of all-time. 

And while social media tends to hate everything, this year I’d argue we found some Super Bowl ads which actually earned majority praise. And for $5.3M per 30 second spot, it’d better work. Here’s my favorites and my failures. You absolutely should disagree with me on all of them.


T-Mobile endless text / tacos text / dad eggplant: These were hilarious and sprinkled through the game to stay top-of-mind. And if you’ve ever received a text that is the same length as a book, you could feel the pain.

Jason Bateman elevator for Hyundai: I had never considered “beetloaf” for dinner, and I still won’t. And I read some Vegan groups were very upset about this ad, which I’m guessing will not be the last time a Vegan group will be upset. BTW—it’s cool to be vegan. Seems to work for Tom Brady.

Oil of Olay Face ID / Sarah Michelle Gellar: I had a genuine laugh at this one, as someone who saw “I know what you did last summer” and “Scream 2” in the theater, this one was a hit. And she hasn’t aged a bit.

Audi electric car/grandpa: Man, this one started in a farmhouse and ended with a man choking on a cashew in his office. And it was an ad for an electric car. Go figure. But it was outstanding. 

NFL gold football: Kudos to the NFL for getting all those faces together for that spot, and personally, I’m all for Tom Brady handing some of his rings to Baker Mayfield. Now it’s time for Baker to go win some of his own?

Game of Thrones: This came out of nowhere. We were watching another absurd Bud Light ad, and suddenly… it gets real dark. Like real dark. Not sure how/why they decided to mash up those two brands, but it DEFINITELY got people talking during the game. I’m not a fan of Game of Thrones, but for the hardcore fans this was a major win.

Michael Bubbly: Another good laugh courtesy Michael Buble, who isn’t afraid to make fun of himself. Him crossing out the ‘y’ on the cans while sitting on the floor was hilarious.

Washington Post: “Democracy dies in darkness” was the tagline and the overall message from this powerful spot. Tom Hanks, perhaps America’s most beloved man, narrated it and nailed it. It’s a challenging time in journalism. The need for unbiased reporting has never been higher, yet journalists continue to go through lay-offs while enduring the rising dangers of the job. It was an awesome spot.

Google translate/veterans jobs: Two great spots from Google, but the jobs for veterans ad was truly powerful. It’s part of the Grow With Google program to help veterans find work. It’s a critically important program, and brilliantly written with the military job code opening. Also, hire veterans!

NFL first responders—Verizon: I knew this campaign was coming, but I had not seen a full spot. I did not know the back story of  Chargers coach Anthony Lynn until this ad. His emotional reaction to meeting the people who saved his life after a car crash in 2005 drew a tear from many viewers. It was powerful and raw and honest. 


Bud Light corn syrup: It was actually funny… but the shorter ads later in the game were horrible.

Planters “people think I’m nuts” with Charlie Sheen: Wild Thing is back! 

Chunky style milk / Mint mobile: I was already stuffed to the gills with food when it aired, and I thought it might kill me when I saw the kid drinking out of the carton.

Stella Artois:  So… it was a weird mash-up of “sex and the city”, the dude and the most interesting man in the world under the theme of “change up the routine.” It wasn’t as funny as I hoped it would be, but an E for effort.

Devour frozen food addiction: Go watch the online version. It’s even funnier and way raunchier.

Luke Wilson / Colgate: We’ve all met a close talker, and that’s a super awkward moment. Good to see the Mitch Martin Freedom Festival is still going strong.

Escobar syndrome / video games Microsoft: A really strong spot which reminds us every person should have a chance to play. 


Burger King/ Andy Warhol: 


Why take the bun off and put ketchup on the side? Why was it in a Whopper box, yet wrapped… and clearly not a Whopper? And why was this even a thing? There’s a whole back story to it which you can google, but even so… it was a solid waste of $5.3M. Or roughly $1.2M Whoppers.

Amazon alexa dog collar: I appreciate Harrison Ford being angry about all the unwanted dog food his dog ordered, but why would this spot make me want to use Alexa to order anything? It’s just a reminder stuff can get royally screwed up. Having written this, I’m certain the artificial intelligence Amazon uses will now target me for certain death.

M&M / Christina Applegate: I love Veronica Corningstone. That was the end for me.

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