Best and worst Super Bowl ads of 2022

Owen Peterson, Managing Editor

Courtesy of Ad Age

If you don’t watch the Super Bowl to support a multi-billion-dollar corporation that routinely turns a cold shoulder to domestic assault victims and ex-players with serious head injuries, perhaps you take the enlightened route and instead watch it to be fed consumerist propaganda.

According to the ads, the world is ready to return to normalcy, with almost exclusively upbeat ads and seldom mentions of COVID-19. While many of the ads looked to the past to play on nostalgia, there was also a spotlight on the future with ads for crypto and electric vehicles taking center stage.

The brands are here to tell us that the present is great, the future is going to be even better and that there are definitely no impending crises threatening humanity. And if there’s one thing we know about advertisers; they never lie.

Best: Coinbase – “Coinbase Big Game ad”
While all the other crypto brands took the approach of begging viewers to rely solely on gut instinct and not miss out on the next big thing (always a sound investing strategy), Coinbase showed exemplary understanding of its gullible target audience by dangling metaphorical keys in front of their face (ooh shiny!).

No way anybody actually scanned this, right? Haven’t you heard of phishi- oh wow, over 20 million hits in one minute. Are these the same kind of people who click on those “Hot Azerbaijani Women Are In Your Area!” ads?

Worst: Salesforce – “The New Frontier”
“We think it is morally reprehensible that rich corporations are spending money on stupid stuff like space travel when they could be using it to help the population, so we decided to spend 13 million dollars on a 60-second TV commercial.”

Best: Planet Fitness – “What’s Gotten into Lindsay?”
Oh, how the times have changed. When I was a kid, the answer to “what’s gotten into Linday Lohan?” was copious amounts of cocaine and alcohol before operating a vehicle. Good for her, though. And hey, if a membership to Planet Fitness is all it takes to atone for a DUI, the Raiders might need to look into building one in their facility.

Worst: DraftKings – “Fortune: Life’s a Gamble”
Between all the sports betting and crypto ads that permeated this Super Bowl, it’s great to see the brands giving the American people the message they really needed after years of suffering through a pandemic: “Burning your money has never been this exciting.”

Best: Irish Spring – “Welcome to Irish Spring”
Super Bowl ads are usually geared toward a wide, general audience, so you’ve got to respect Irish Spring’s attempt to hypertarget awkward, sweaty film nerds through its allusions to Ari Aster’s 2019 film “Midsommar.”

Worst: Meta – “Old Friends, New Fun”
At last, we get a glimpse at the dystopian future Mark Zuckerberg has been restlessly steering us toward: a Chuck E. Cheese hellscape where we can distance ourselves from our cruel reality and relive our better days — legless animatronic puppets and all — while the world slowly crumbles around us.

Best: Uber Eats – “Uber Don’t Eats”
This one strikes the perfect balance of funny and utterly disturbing that makes a Super Bowl ad memorable (I don’t think Gwyneth Paltrow eating her own vagina-scented candle was on anyone’s bingo card), but does little to distract from how awful of a company Uber is. How about they Uber Pay their employees a living wage so they can Uber Feed their families?

Worst: Verizon – “Goodbye Cable”
Having your generation targeted by nostalgic Super Bowl ads and half-time shows is possibly society’s kindest way of telling you that your entrance into a nursing home and subsequent death is all but imminent. Between this, GM’s Austin Powers-themed “Dr. EV-il” ad and the half time show, it’s comforting to know that we have, at long last, heard the resounding death rattle of millennial culture.