After coming off what will surely be remembered as one of the more grim, stressful years in modern history, Super Bowl LV is a welcome return to normalcy. As one who has little vested interest in the game (aside from wanting to see Tom Brady lose), the commercials are the main draw for me—and boy, there’s a lot to unpack this year.

While Super Bowl spots have tended to skew weird recently, we’re reaching an entirely new level. We’re talking full-on, post-modern, Kafka-esque strangeness here.

Which, given the state of the world today, seems appropriate. If you’re going to spend $180,000 per second for an advertisement, you may as well stick with the zeitgeist.

So did the weirdness work? Or did the straight and narrow cut through all of that eccentric noise?

It’s a mixed bag, so let’s get right into it. Here are the good, bad, and ugly commercials from Super Bowl LV:


This is quite funny, and much edgier than what you’d typically get from a company worth close to two trillion dollars. I can’t believe they got away with the sprinkler joke. A



Here’s a goofy concept that just works for me. I never thought a yogurt commercial would get me hyped to go stack some plates. A-



Okay, so that Karen joke was funny and the spot was charming. Snickers usually dominates Super Bowl candy commercials, but M&M’s came to play this year. A-



It’s quite sophomoric but I can’t deny this gives me a solid chuckle. It also makes me want some Pringles, so mission accomplished. B+


Bud Light

In an era of meme culture, this feels mostly spot-on. Bud Light has been refreshingly consistent over the years—and nothing less than prolific. B+



It doesn’t make me want a Camry, but this spot does a good job of pulling the ol’ heart strings. And the swimming motif is very cool. B+


Uber Eats

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it put a big smile on my face to see Wayne and Garth partying on in 2021. The ties to Uber Eats are thin, but the ties to my heart are strong. B


Michelob Ultra

While not all that profound, this is a pretty well-written spot. I can usually count on Michelob to deliver a Super Bowl stinker, but not this year. B


Michelob Ultra Seltzer

I’ll give this credit: It actually had me going until the real Cheadle showed up. You know we’re coming off a strange year when Michelob has not one, but two commercials that aren’t terrible. B



It’s simple, it’s stupid, it’s memorable. I guess two outta three ain’t bad. B



This one does a good job of pondering those big, existential burrito questions. I wouldn’t take that as too much of a compliment, but it’s a thoughtful spot. B


Dr. Squatch

It’s kind of like an Old Spice combined with Dollar Shave Club approach and I’ll admit it had my attention. It’s not the height of low-brow men’s advertising, but it holds its own. B



Not exactly a riveting high concept, but it did make me smile. That alone makes the top 35%. B



I appreciate the simplicity and lack of subtlety here. In a year where most companies are trying to out-weird the next guy, this kind of stuff has its place. B



Nick Jonas is bringing a young, hip edge to the world of diabetic glucose monitors. His cocksure attitude makes me think it’s going to work. B


General Motors

I’m a begrudging Will Ferrell fan, and this isn’t hurting his cause. It isn’t hilarious, but it’s an amusing idea and a good environmental message to boot. B



This is a rugged, well-written spot that seems a little bit opportunistic. But I have to admit, The Boss makes it feel so right. B



If you understand why “Believe it or Not” is the perfect soundtrack for this commercial, I commend you. If you understand anything else about this commercial, you picked up more than I did. B-



The Christmas vibe is a little strange, but this is an entertaining bunch of vignettes packed with NFL superstars. It’s undeniable Peyton and Eli had the best part. B-


Doritos 3D

I like Matthew McConaughey but he just doesn’t seem right for this one. It has a good payoff, but I would have much rather seen Zach Galifianakis as #FlatZach. C+


Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade

This is mostly just a Magnolia rip-off. I’ll give it a couple points for reminding me of a great movie. C+


Samuel Adams

I can appreciate a good old-fashioned ribbing. That said, Samuel Adams might look a bit daft for lampooning Budweiser on the year they sat out in support of vaccine initiatives. C



Here’s the right-down-the-line approach you’d expect from Ford. Lots of pretty cinematography isn’t enough to make this stand out. C


Paramount Plus

Patrick Stewart brings any commercial to a higher standard, but even he can’t save this muddled mess of strange. You’re going to have to come up with something better to sell me yet another streaming service. C


Bass Pro Shops

They went full heartfelt here, and the copy is good not great. I see no reason not to buy a fishing pole from these people. C



WeatherTech has been a staple of Super Bowl commercials for a while now, and each year they deliver something competent and unmemorable. This year is no different. C



This is technically not a spot for Budweiser, but it’s interesting how much Budweiser is popping up this year despite saying they weren’t going to advertise. It’s a nice idea that gets a little heavy handed toward the end. C



Fun and ambitious, but not very compelling. A decent idea that probably should have stayed on paper. C-



Robinhood is in lots of hot water right now, and this ad does nothing to help. The idea that everyone’s an investor is interesting, but it falls short of what the company needs to salvage its reputation. C-


Jimmy John’s

I want to like this, but I just don’t think it works all that well. The setups aren’t funny, and it all feels like a vapid gimmick. C-



Here we have an example of messaging that’s very on the nose. I did not expect to get a commercial this year with a Reservoir Dogs vibe. C-



Having a sports legend pace around while preaching the virtues of greatness over grainy archival footage isn’t exactly a new idea. It works decently here, but it all feels a little step and repeat. C-



This has more cuts than a Lil Nas X music video and it gives me a headache. The sentiment is nice, but you’ve sold me nothing. D+


Rockstar Energy

This one probably nails it with the target demo, but I’m not feeling it. Reminds me of a commercial I would’ve seen on ESPN2 back when that was a thing. D+


State Farm

If I were a State Farm customer, I’d be miffed that a chunk of my premium went to pay off Drizzy Drake. I’d much rather give my money to J.K. Simmons. D+



Scotts spent all of their money on celebrity cameos and nothing on a good concept. The commercial sucks but Travolta looks great without hair. D



If you watched this commercial and assumed Klarna was a company that makes boots, you would be wrong. This brand does not have near enough equity to be doing ambiguous stuff like this. D-


Stella Artois

“We’re all born with 2.5 billion heartbeats” is a ridiculous statement. Calling people “heartbeat billionaires” is not going to sell Flemish beer; sorry, Lenny. D-



Here’s an example of when weirdness takes a sharp turn for the worse. Never trust a commercial that leads with a fart joke. D-


Cutwater Spirits

I can’t help but think this spot seems out of touch in every possible way. With no real premise and some uninspired word play, this thing cuts to the back of the line. D-



It’s a wretched commercial for an unattractive shoe. What more can you say? F



Nobody under 30 remembers Shaggy or his shameless ode to infidelity. Cheetos make me nauseated, and so does this commercial. F