Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and it was … well, it’s over. That might be the best thing we can say about it at this point. But that’s just the football — what about the ads?
The grading of every single commercial happened on Sunday night, but there are still some arbitrary awards to give out. Don’t forget to sound off in the comments about your picks for best, worst and everything in between.
It was a pretty lackluster slate this year. It doesn’t seem like any ad from this year’s Super Bowl is worthy for consideration in the pantheon of best Super Bowl commercials of all time. But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t enjoyable.
Winner: NFL, “The 100-Year Game.” It almost feels wrong for an ad from and for the NFL to win the award for best Super Bowl ad, but here we are. At the end of the night, there was just no other choice. The commercial was a melee of NFL stars from the past and present, and everyone had something funny to do. The only thing that could have made it better is if it were longer, and that’s not something people typically say about commercials.
Runner up: Amazon, “Not Everything Makes The Cut.” Storytelling in commercials isn’t appreciated as much as it should be. Amazon told four little stories in this ad, and they were all funny and evocative. And it’s hard to overstate just how charming Harrison Ford and his dog were while they were arguing.
Honorable mention: Doritos, “Now It’s Hot.” This ad deserves a mention on pure nostalgia alone. The world didn’t need a collaboration between Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys, but isn’t the world a little better now that it’s happened?
There are definitely a lot more choices for worst, but the field still suffers from overall mediocrity. There were some creepy commercials, some disappointing commercials, and some bad commercials, but nothing that was so bad that it will be remembered for years — or even beyond this week. But one of them had to be the worst.
Winner: Mint Mobile, “Chunky Style Milk.” Why did no one at Mint Mobile put a stop to this ad before it aired? Or before it was filmed? Or really at any time? It’s a commercial about spoiled, smelly, chunky milk and it’s deeply revolting. Dear Mint Mobile, please don’t do this again.
Runner up: Pepsi, “More Than OK.” This ad is just depressing. Pepsi is trying so hard to make anything in their commercial work and it’s all just a mess of celebrities and a catchphrase that most definitely will not catch on.
Honorable mention: Stella Artois, “Change Up The Usual.” The ad itself wasn’t bad on its own, but the company released a teaser a week before that made everyone think a sequel to “The Big Lebowski” was in the offing. This commercial was not that. Instant loser.
Least essential commercial
Buying an ad in the Super Bowl is a big deal for some brands, which is why it’s frustrating to see some brands waste their very expensive 15-30 seconds. These ads aren’t the best or worst, they just have no reason to exist.
Winner: Yellow Tail, “Tastes Like Happy.” You’ve probably seen this wine at your local grocery or liquor store hundreds of times. If its commercial made you think anything, it was probably “hey, look, it’s that grocery store wine” and then you moved on with your life.
Runner up: Michelob Ultra, “The Pure Experience.” Did this ad even try to sell you beer? It seemed like it was mostly trying to sell nature scenes, whispers and soothing noises. Since you don’t really need to buy those things, why did this commercial need to exist?
Honorable mention: Wix, “Karlie Kloss.” Wix would be better off saving their money next year than airing anything that resembles this ad again. The Super Bowl is a time for overblown, over-the-top advertising, and what Wix gave the world was the commercial equivalent of room temperature water.
There were dogs all over the Super Bowl ads this year, which was a pleasant surprise for anyone who was prevented from watching the Puppy Bowl. Rating dogs is difficult, because each dog is the best in its own special way. But picking the best is what the job is, so here we go …
Winner: WeatherTech, “Scout.” Scout is a gorgeous golden retriever who emanates pure love and happiness. Having him around the office would probably be distracting, but productivity is a small price to pay for the presence of Scout, who could cheer you up after a bad phone call.
Runner up: Budweiser, “Wind Never Felt Better.” Two words: windblown Dalmatian.
Honorable mention: Amazon, “Not Everything Makes The Cut.” Already a runner-up for best commercial of the night, Harrison Ford and his adorable (and very smart) dog fought their way right into viewers’ hearts.
The “Why, Robot?” award
If this year’s Super Bowl commercials taught us anything, it’s that robots are deeply dissatisfied and depressed that they’re not humans. They can’t taste Pringles. They can’t drink beer. They can’t feel human feelings. And none of them are happy about it. So which one inspired the most existential dread?
Winner: TurboTax, “RoboChild.” No. No no no no no. Creepy robotic child with just a face panel, sad that it’s not a real human, confused about expressing emotions. A big, big NO to all of those things.
Runner up: Pringles, “Sad Device.” It’s a funny commercial, but imagine if your virtual assistant (or your phone or TV) started telling you how sad it is that it can’t taste food or feel love. The first thing most people would do is toss that device directly out the window and into the path of an oncoming semi.
Honorable mention: Sprint, “Brighter Future For All.” Just leave Bo Jackson alone. He deserves better than being a robot’s plaything.
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