Sure, the Super Bowl is kind of about football. But there’s plenty of fun for non-sports fans, too: namely, the halftime show and the commercials. From big-name talent to tear-jerking moments, this year’s crop of videos doesn’t disappoint, even if they are just trying to get you to buy their products. Here are the best — and worst — ads from the upcoming Super Bowl LIII, so far.
Best: Pepsi’s “More Than OK,” Featuring Steve Carell, Lil Jon, & Cardi B
Pepsi will never be as good as Coke, and that’s just a fact. And in its Super Bowl commercial, Pepsi sort of recognizes that, taking aim at the “Is Pepsi OK?” meme. It looks like the brand wants to put a positive spin on being only OK — and, really, what better way than with an “Okurrr?” from Cardi B? The clip won’t make die-hard soda fans change allegiances, but it’s certainly entertaining.
The verdict: Pepsi is just OK, and even Pepsi knows it.
Best: Coke’s “A Coke Is a Coke”
While Pepsi pulled out all the star power for its Super Bowl ad, Coke went in the opposite direction. The illustrated video emphasizes the fact that anyone can enjoy the soda, regardless of their background or social status. Yes, they’re just trying to sell more Coke, but it’s also pretty sweet.
The verdict: Coke is still king among soda brands.
Best: Budweiser’s “Wind Never Felt Better”
What does a dog enjoying the breeze have to do with beer? Ostensibly, not much, and it might not even be safe for him to be riding on top of the Clydesdales’ wagon. But that doesn’t mean it’s not adorable. (The ad is actually about the fact that Budweiser is using wind power now, which is good for wind-loving pups AND for the environment.)
The verdict: There are dog ears flapping in the wind. This is a win.
Best: Expensify’s “Expensify This”
Expensify really went for it, employing 2 Chainz to make an entire music video about expensing receipts. The ad also features Adam Scott in a role that will delight anyone missing his nerdy Parks and Recreation character.
The verdict: Expensify is doing the most, but it’s not a bad thing.
Best: Bumble’s #InHerCourt Featuring Serena Williams
Serena is still the GOAT. And even though she’s happily married, this ad just might inspire you to reactivate that Bumble profile.
The verdict: Anything with Serena is a thumbs-up in my book.
Best: Doritos’ “Chance the Rapper x Backstreet Boys”
This teaser for Doritos’ actual Super Bowl commercial says nothing. And yet, it says everything. Backstreet’s back, all right!
The verdict: Yes, I do want it that way, Doritos and all.
Best: Bubly, “Can I have a bublé?” teaser featuring Michael Bublé
I mean, the pun is right there. And this 15-second teaser makes good use of it.
The verdict: Sparkling water is still trendy, and apparently so is Michael Bublé.
Best: Avocados From Mexico Teaser
If you’d rather be watching the Puppy Bowl than the Super Bowl, this is 15 seconds of pure joy. Oh, and Kristen Chenoweth is there, too.
The verdict: Dogs and avocados? This clip is millennial heaven.
Worst: Stella Artois’ “Change Up the Usual”
There are any number of reasons why fans of Sex and the City and/or The Big Lebowski won’t like this ad. It’s out of character for either Carrie Bradshaw or The Dude to drink Stella, and winking at the audience about it doesn’t make it OK. And why would the same restaurant pour Carrie’s drink into a glass but just hand him the bottle? Nothing is right about this!
The verdict: Some iconic characters just don’t need to be revisited.
Worst: Pringles’ “Sad Device Commercial”
This commercial is more creepy than anything, to be honest. The Alexa-like device decides to join the conversation without being addressed by name, reminding viewers that our technology may or may not be listening to every word we say. And maybe this is just me, but I’ve never seen anyone try to create a Pringles flavor stack with multiple chip flavors. Why is Pringles still trying to make flavor stacks happen?
The verdict: No one needs smart devices to eat potato chips.