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Super Bowl ads 2021: The best, worst commercials from the Big Game

Liz Roscher and Jay Busbee
·3-min read

The Super Bowl’s in the books, and that means it’s time to close the door on this year’s crop of ads, too. We graded every single one of them as they aired last night, but here’s the greatest (and un-greatest) hits version: the best and worst of what we saw last night.

The Best

Tide

Your verdict on how you liked these Super Bowl ads depended largely on how you like your nostalgia served: remixed or just reheated. The Jason Alexander hoodie bit was a clever little montage, and setting it to the “Greatest American Hero” theme, a.k.a. George Costanza’s answering machine jingle, means it’s a big hit with people who remember what an answering machine was.

Amazon Alexa

Super Bowl ads have moved away from objectifying sexy actors and models in the last decade or so, but I’m fairly certain that plenty of viewers had absolutely no problem with a shirtless, tub-soaking Michael B. Jordan as Alexa personified.

Rocket Mortgage

Tracy Morgan is a national treasure and I guarantee that any brand that just trains a camera on him for any given 60 minutes of any day will get more than enough genius to fill five Super Bowl commercials next year.

Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade

Lemons raining from the sky, ruining all we hold dear and forcing us all indoors is a surprisingly on-point metaphor from a major international beverage company.

Jimmy John’s

The idea of the King of Cold Cuts declaring war on Jimmy John’s in a Scorsese-style montage is so damn weird it deserves more love.

The Worst

Oatly

I imagine the discussions in Oatly HQ went something like this:

Oatly CEO: I want to buy a Super Bowl ad.

Oatly subordinates: Hmm ... that’s a lot of money ...

Oatly CEO: And I want to star in it. And sing.

Oatly subordinates: Sir, we’ve heard you karaoke at company gatherings, do you think that’s a good idea—

[One week later]

Oatly CEO: I want to buy a Super Bowl ad.

Newly hired Oatly subordinates: Absolutely! Whatever you say, sir! And may we say, you have a lovely singing voice!

Yeah. This was an all-time cringe.

Uber Eats

As someone who, unlike Cardi B, lived through the first iteration of Wayne’s World, I can say for certain that a cute Saturday Night Live skit passed its sell-by date long before the second movie, so resuscitating the corpse of that idea for an ad in 2021 is like propping up oldies acts for halftime shows. You think you want it, but what you want is the version from your memory, not the one now. I don’t begrudge Wayne and Garth for getting that sweet, sweet Super Bowl coin, but this execution made me want to hurl.

Cheetos

The Ashton Kutcher-Mila Kunis Cheetos ad set to Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” wasn’t a bad ad, per se. It’s just that all you need to say is “Ashton Kutcher-Mila Kunis ad set to Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’” and you know exactly what’s going to happen, beat for beat. And it did.

Klarna

So ... what exactly was this an ad for? Mini Maya Rudolphs on horseback with weird CGI ... splitting payments or something. I realize that criticizing an ad for being too out there is the exact opposite judgment call that I made in the Cheetos ad for being paint-by-numbers, but still ... you gotta give us something more to work with, Klarna.

LYRIQ/ScissorHandsFree

It’s not enough just to trot out the actors — well, one of ‘em, anyway — from a beloved ‘90s movie and reboot the second role; you gotta give ‘em more to do than this. Given that the original “Edward Scissorhands” was a mockery of the stultifying consumerism that Super Bowl ads celebrate, it was a sad, sighing disappointment to see lil’ Edgar shilling for ... Cadillac.

(Yahoo)
(Yahoo)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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