Inspirational, action-packed, big-budgeted; these are all perfectly adequate adjectives to describe the multitudes of ads that come out around Super Bowl time. When you’re talking about spending millions (or tens of millions) of dollars for 30 to 90 seconds of ad screen time, it tends to kick things up a notch, no?
One adjective you didn’t see listed above, however, is probably the most important of all: funny. Sure, sometimes we all like to get teary-eyed now and then – Nissan’s 2015 Super Bowl 49 "With Dad" ad comes to mind – or get our adrenaline pumping, but one thing we’re pretty much always ready for is a laugh. Especially if our team’s losing.
Barbie, Ken and a Nissan – Super Bowl XXX
The song is right on, and no matter how serious, stop motion animation is always funny. Why do you think Robot Chicken is so popular?!?!?
Lil’ Darth and a VW – Super Bowl XLV
Not only is this funny, it’s also cute and cuddly and was good enough to win “best ad of all time” on CBS’ Clash of the Commercials. Proof that something can be funny and heartfelt all at the same time.
Kevin Hart, a new kid and a Genesis – Super Bowl 50
All comedian Hart has to do is unleash any number of his trademark goofy psychotic looks to get audiences to crack a smile; do it as an overbearing father prior to his daughter’s first date, though, and you’ve got a whole ‘nuther layer of comedy. Kind of like the famous scene from Bad Boys II when the two cops intimidate 'Reggie,' only much, much more PG.
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The Honda Ridgeline and some sheep – Super Bowl 50
We flip over to the more absurd side of things for this little ditty, featuring some sheep and some Queen, and a Honda vehicle that, well, let’s just say is a bit of a segment buster. Be sure to listen closely at :27 for some extra laughs.
Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Reynolds, some ladies, a Hyundai and Ryan Reynolds – Super Bowl 50
Called “Ryanville” this ad appears to take place in a dream of somebody who really likes the good Canadian kid Reynolds. Like Hart, all RR really has to do is flash that trademark grin to get a laugh or two; a whole town of him, then, should be constantly in stitches.
A gang of thieves and a Prius – Super Bowl 50
While we’re no experts on the subject, we guess that having a reliable getaway car is integral to any bank robbery. Enter the Toyota Prius, a hybrid from a brand that save for the strangeness that was throttlegate, has always been known for its reliability, if not for its performance models this side of the Celica, Supra and 86. Of course, then came both Horrible Bosses and The Other Guys, two comedies that features Priuses in actual car chases, and all bets were off, as this ad clearly riffs on.
Christopher Walken, some socks, and a Kia – Super Bowl LI
Come ON! It’s Christopher Walken doing a SOCK PUPPET SHOW!!! How could we not include it on this list? I don’t know how he doesn’t, but years after he hosted Saturday Night Live a number of times and starred in a number of really funny roles (some in pretty unfunny movies, made funny because he’s Walken), The Walken showed he’s still got it.
Peter Fonda, some bikers, and a Benz – Super Bowl LI
It seems that you may be able to get the guy off the bike, but you can’t get him away from the biker bar. In this ad for the scintillating Mercedes-AMG GT C roadster, the Easy Rider star shows little regard for the hogs that helped him make his name all those years ago by “blocking in” a whole gang’s worth of bikes. The shot of a jukebox that only plays one song five seconds in brilliantly sets the tone.
So, a rabbi, a priest, an imam and a monk step into a Toyota pickup, and… -- Super Bowl LII
The Toyota Tundra may not be the newest truck on the block, but it is roomy in crew cab form; enough for these three gents to take a bit of a roadie to watch their favorite teams duke it out. Managing to jam an bit of a road trip/buddy movie theme into just 90 seconds is a tough ask, but Toyota’s creative team was obviously up for the challenge.
Jeff Goldblum, his imagination, and a Jeep – Super Bowl LII
Just wait ‘till the end. That is all.
Jason Bateman, an elevator door, and a Hyundai…sort of – Super Bowl LIII
This is a bit of a bonus as the latest edition of the Big Game has not yet run, but that hasn’t stopped Hyundai from releasing this little ditty about its new “Shopper Assurance” program, designed to make the car buying process that much easier. Featuring one of the kings of deadpan humour, Jason Bateman, as a commentator-slash-elevator operator, it should make fans of Hyundai and Arrested Development alike stand up and take notice.