The Best and Worst Commercials of Super Bowl 54

Story/Video posted February 7, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment, Sports, CommRadio by CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Staff

Every year, advertisers spend millions of dollars forn a time slot during the Super Bowl in hopes of catching the attention of viewers during the breaks between the big game. Sometimes these commercials are marked successes, other times not so much. The CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Staff breaks down five of the best (and worst) that Super Bowl 54's commercials had to offer.

BEST: Mountain Dew – “The Shining”

Super Bowl 54 had some very memorable commercials, and the creativity really flowed through them. Mountain Dew had one of the highlights, releasing a commercial to promote its Mountain Dew Zero Sugar drink by using the old thriller movie “The Shining” as inspiration.

Bryan Cranston plays the part of Jack Torrance, who was portrayed by Jack Nicholson in the original movie. Cranston knocks on the bathroom door with a Mountain Dew bottle, explaining how it has the same refreshing taste but with zero sugar. Instead of the door replying with the infamous “red rum” line, it says “Mountain Dew” backwards. On the other side of the door, actress Tracee Ellis Ross tries to fight Cranston off with a shower brush until she realizes that she could use a drink. Additionally, Mountain Dew comes cleverly flowing out of the elevator instead of blood as the commercial draws to a close.

It was a fun twist on a classic, which is why it was entertaining to watch. It reminded older generations of the time when they were kids watching “The Shining,” and it helped give today’s youth a preview of what “The Shining” is like while also adding in some signature Mountain Dew humor.  —Emily Mugno

WORST: Planters – “Baby Nut”

When Mr. Peanut died, it became a meme all over the internet. The Planters Twitter account turned into a memorial page, and the internet, as it often does, blew things out of proportion. Closure to this strange saga finally came in the form of a Super Bowl commercial but in bizarre fashion.

The commercial features a funeral scene in which Mr. Peanut is being buried, surrounded by other iconic advertising figures such as Mr. Clean and the Kool-Aid Man. After the Kool-Aid Man sheds a tear into a pile of dirt where Mr. Peanut is buried, a baby peanut is born. “Baby Nut” speaks dolphin noises for an unnecessary amount of time before announcing that he is back.

Following the epidemic of making iconic characters into babies (“Baby Yoda” and “Baby Sonic,” for example), this one falls short. Planters had to bring the classic peanut back, but this was not the way to do it.  —William Roche

BEST: Bud Light – “Inside Post’s Brain”

A fun commercial that appeared during Super Bowl 54 was Bud Light’s commercial featuring rapper Post Malone titled “Inside Post’s Brain.” The commercial’s purpose was to advertise for the new Bud Light Seltzer product that has recently hit shelves.

Post Malone walks into a convenience store, unsure whether he should choose to pick up a case of Bud Light or the new Bud Light Seltzer that he was previously unaware of. The commercial then pans to the control center in his brain, and everyone in the control center resembles his appearance, face tattoos and all. The two people controlling Post’s movements fight over which drink he should pick, causing Post’s body to be thrown all over the store, creating a mess. Once the whole store is ruined, the control center decides he should get both, and Post acts like nothing happened.

This commercial was creative and humorous, and Bud Light definitely chose the right celebrity to represent the ad. Post Malone is known to always be drinking Bud Light out of a red solo cup, especially at award shows. It’s clear that the collaboration doesn’t end here, as there are Bud Light cans being sold with Post’s face on them.  —Emily Mugno

WORST: Michelob Ultra – “Jimmy Works It Out”

Usually Jimmy Fallon is funny. He was on Saturday Night Live, and he is now on “The Tonight Show.” But this commercial is just awkward. For one of the many beer commercials seen this Super Bowl, this one was the weakest.

Featuring strong man John Cena alongside Fallon, the duo starts off by doing strenuous activities. Obviously, Cena does them with ease and Fallon does them with potentially comedic difficulty. Yet, nothing was funny about this commercial. The premise also seems to have little to no correlation to Michelob Ultra, making the advertisement completely questionable.

Cena and Fallon may have their funny moments from time to time, but neither of them are good actors. The comedy seems forced and rushed, and this beer commercial came out flat.  —William Roche

BEST: Hulu – “Tom Brady’s Big Announcement”

In the days leading up to Super Bowl 54, six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady posted a cryptic photo of himself online. Said photo gave New England Patriots fans a considerable amount of anxiety, as Brady was rumored to be retiring from the NFL. When Brady appeared on the TV screens of millions of Americans during the Super Bowl, football fans rode the edge of their seats, anticipating Brady to use this commercial time to announce his decision on whether or not he was going to retire.

As it turned out, the whole thing was just an ad from streaming service Hulu. The commercial was a brilliant decision by Hulu, which took advantage of one of the biggest offseason storylines in recent NFL memory. While the commercial did appear to be simply a troll-job at first, it does end by revealing Brady’s plans to stick around for another year, much to the happiness (or chagrin) of football fans. It was suspenseful, well-timed, relevant and funny, making for one of the most viral moments of the Super Bowl.  —Jim Krueger

 

Jim Krueger is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email kruegerjim19@gmail.com.

Emily Mugno is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email esm6@psu.edu.

William Roche is a junior majoring in film/video. To contact him, email wtr5043@psu.edu.