Best Commercials of Super Bowl 2014

Yesterday was the big day for television advertisers in America. It was Super Bowl Sunday. At a reported air cost of $4 Million each (and that’s just to air the commercials, not to make them) the Super Bowl has always forced advertisers to step their game up and create something memorable. And over the years, they have. For example, Apple’s famous “1984” commercial for the launch of the Macintosh computer was during the Super Bowl, and is considered one of the greatest commercials ever made for American television.

So since the game has just passed, let’s take a look at The Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2014 as chosen by our Blue Ribbon Panel (read: myself). One thing that we have to keep in mind; as good as these commercials are (and some of them are genius), there are nowhere near as daring as the ones you will see at The British Arrow Awards (read my review of last year’s installment for a refresher). It’s not that we Americans can’t create daring work; it’s just that our marketplace can’t support it. And in the case of the Super Bowl, you want ads that can deliver without ruffling feathers.

So without further ado, and in no particular order….

Cheerios – A seemingly normal, cute commercial, no? Don’t worry it is. What makes it get on my list is that they are continuing the story of a mixed race family and (best of all) treating it like it’s no big deal. When the first commercial debuted last year, it caused a whole lot of controversy. Kudos to Cheerios for standing their ground and for a sweet ad.

Radio Shack – “The 80s called. They want their store back.” Self-awareness of a brand being slightly out of step is a bit dicey to do on television, but it was innundated with 80s cameos all over the place (Hulk Hogan! Mary Lou Retton! Alf!). Funny, disarming, and to the point.

Crackle / Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee  – Speaking of nostalgia, to promote the hilarious Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee at Crackle, Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander reunite to tease the third season of the online series and channel everything that made Seinfeld the quintessential 90s comedy. 

Jaguar – How does a British car company pitch cars on one of the most sacred American days of the year? Simple, crank up the Britishness. In this case, Jaguar fetched director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) to create an homage to British villainy  (with Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong). The message is clear: the bad boys drive Jaguars. And who doesn’t love a bad boy?

Volkswagen – Volkswagen has always had a tradition of having solid ads in all of their markets worldwide (in fact, their print campaign for the Beetle in the 1960s is rightfully iconic). So it’s no surprise that their television ad for the longevity of their cars would be slightly outlandish, but funny as all get out.

H&M – To advertise his new underwear line for H&M, soccer star David Beckham is seen cavorting around in his signature underwear. Best commercial all year as far as I’m concerned!

Originally published 3 February 2014 as part of “The Idiot Box,” my column for l’étoile magazine.

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