The 4 Worst Super Bowl Ads by Quarter

Geek Culture

Did You Watch the Super Bowl With Your Kids? Do You Regret Letting Them See the Ads?

It was a great game. The Steelers looked strong all through the game, until they made some sad personal fouls that gave the Cardinals some big opportunities. The Cards were scrappy, and fought tooth and nail to the end. The last four minutes will go down in sports history. "But," to quote Mr. Nielsen, "that’s not important right now."

Since the iconic Apple ad in 1984, the Super Bowl has been known as a showcase for what you might call blockbuster ads. The quality and humor of the ads probably hit their peak during the original dot-com boom in the late ’90s. Every year, people say things have gone downhill, and while there may still have been a few bright spots, those people would be right. It’s been a long, slow decline, and yet a lot of folks still talk about looking forward to watching the Superbowl ads almost a much as seeing the game itself; moreso if they’re not really football fans, but know they’ll be stuck somewhere that they can’t avoid the game.

But this is the year, I hereby declare, that kills the Super Bowl ad. This is the year that starts the trend of people willfully, even determinedly, avoiding the Super Bowl ads. Yes, they were that bad. And sadly for many of us GeekDads and other parents, our kids sat through them as well.  Damage has been done that we will be hard-pressed to undo.

Now, we’re guys. We get it. We like a bit of off-color fun once in a while. But these ads were so full of violence, cruelty, and sexism that something needs to be said. With that purpose in mind, here are the worst of the bad ads, by quarter.

1st Quarter: shower ad. So I guess the takeaway here is that, since sex sells, everyone looking to create a website must be a puerile teenager. Runners up: Bridgestone for the female Potatohead being portrayed as a figurative harpy, and Bud Light for the cartoon physics of throwing a guy out a fourth floor window walking away, and making the scene a joke.

2nd Quarter: TelaFlora for making the funny out of a woman suffering through a sexist, demeaning diatribe from a box of talking flowers. Runners up include the Bud Light skier ad because the way Sonny Bono died is so humorous, and Cheetos for the pigeon attack.

3rd Quarter: for their Hate Work spot. Yeah, punching a koala is a laugh riot.  No huge runners up in the quarter, though the stuffed moose was a hard call.

4th Quarter: the most exciting quarter of the game was the worst for ads. Again, is the winner (loser), with their courtroom bit with women unzipping their tops.  Entirely inappropriate for our younger kids, and embarrassing to watch.  Runner up to Taco Bell for the attractive young woman choosing a date outfit going through possibilities in a provocative manner, and then the punchline? Her ignorant boyfriend isn’t taking her out for a nice steak dinner, he’s getting Taco Bell.  Wow, how many stereotypes can we cram in there?

I imagine we’ll see a fair number of "get a sense of humor, old man" comments to this, but we’d love to hear what you all thought.

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