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All the 2020 Super Bowl commercials, ranked

MC Hammer in a scene from Cheetos' 2020 Super Bowl NFL football spot. “U Can’t Touch This” is 30 years old this year but just as familiar as ever.
MC Hammer in a scene from Cheetos' 2020 Super Bowl NFL football spot. “U Can’t Touch This” is 30 years old this year but just as familiar as ever. (Cheetos via AP)
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TV audiences keep getting pulled in different directions, but every year more than 100 million Americans still come together to watch the Super Bowl and its commercials. And that means those ads -- all of which are reviewed below -- retain their cultural and commercial clout, this year selling for a record $5.6 million for 30 seconds.

The big news in this election year is that presidential candidates Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg both bought in, joining the usual assortment of high-concept charmers and low-impact duds. Celebrities, as always, abounded, from Maisie Williams to Missy Elliott, and there was even a dog that’s been cured of cancer.

Here are my rankings of all the ads that ran during the game along with the ads themselves, in no particular order.

Procter & Gamble - P&G Multiverse

Not Earth’s greatest television commercial, but I kind of love the concept here: Cram as many products as possible from the megacompany into one ad, sort of like a Marvel movie that brings all of its characters together. The set-up is Sofia Vergara hosting a Super Bowl party when the chili spills, upward, into the ceiling fan. Out come Rob Riggle with Bounty, some Febreze, some Old Spice, Charmin, and did I see Head & Shoulders? I don’t think the idea is to build specific P&G loyalty but rather to just show off the portfolio, like a high-roller letting you see his cash wad. And you can, you know, spin off each product (character) into its own starring vehicle.

Turkish Airlines - “Step on Earth”

Over 130 million Americans haven’t traveled abroad, Turkish Airlines says in this spot. That’s interesting. So is the beginning, which promises to show us three people making their first such trips. So is the fact that Turkish Air flies to the most countries of any airline. But instead of getting to the travelers’ stories, or tying all of these threads together, it kind of devolves into a nature/travelogue video.

Sabra Hummus - “How I 'mmus”

A conservative group tried to get this ad banned, because it features drag queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, alumni of RuPaul’s show. In response the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called it revolutionary, part of the most LGBTQ inclusive set of Super Bowl ads ever. The hummus ad itself, alas, is pretty standard stuff, as Chi, Cracker and other celebs show how they “‘muss,” a coinage that will not catch on for “consume hummus.”

Verizon - 5G First Responders

For the second year in a row, Verizon uses its Super Bowl spot to either pay tribute to or borrow some good will from first responders -- or both. And the ad copy tells you that, over and over, finding different ways to say, We won’t talk about our 5G, we’ll talk about these folks! Listen to us not talk about 5G! Aren’t we being good? In a direct quote, it sounds like this: “5G won’t replace the courage it takes to run into the fire." So, you know, thanks to the firefighters (and keep in mind 5G!)

Planters - Mr. Peanut’s Funeral

Yep. Another fake-out, only this time it’s not an NFL quarterback’s retirement (see Tom Brady ad, below) but a spokespeanut’s “death” that his company played around with to get a little marketing attention. In showing a pre-game ad with veteran company mascot Mr. Peanut’s falling to his demise, then announcing they’d show the funeral during the game, Planters still seemed likely to pull back, I thought. Why would you kill off the only thing that separates your nuts from other nuts? In the ad, Kool-Aid and Mr. Clean as mourners are funny, as is the peanut-shaped dirt mound. But when the baby Mr. Peanut pops out of the ground and says, “Just kidding,” it feels like an Al Capone’s vault moment. Big hype, little payoff. Pass the bowl of some other type of snack.

Hard Rock - Live Like JLo

The Super Bowl is being played in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. The hotel chain of that name decided to buy an ad. Its celebrity-studded caper sees a window cleaner swiping “JLo’s bling cup,” getting chased through the hotel by herself and then being revealed as her squeeze Alex Rodriguez. No, wait, it’s DJ Khaled in an A-Rod mask. Best line comes from Khaled, excitedly, to Lopez: “You know who I am?” But there’s not a lot of surprise or salesmanship on offer here. And what happens when the bling cup goes in the dishwasher?

Hulu - Tom Brady’s fake-out

The speculation as we approach the NFL off-season has been about whether Tom Brady, the Patriots ageless QB, will retire. So he’s feinted in that direction on social media, and now at the start of this ad. Guess what? Nah. He’s just here to let us know that Hulu has more than sports. And judging from his performance in the ad, Brady definitely should not quit his (Sun)day job. That is some stilted line delivery.

Donald Trump for President - Crime bill

The president’s “surprise” ad turned out to be the only one to actually run during the game; the ad he pre-released, reviewed elsewhere in this collection, ended up running after the game despite the campaign saying that it had purchased two 30-second Super Bowl ads. This one is an overt attempt to wrest votes from the Democrats’ African-American base, featuring Alice Johnson, a black woman to whom Trump gave clemency after being lobbied by Kim Kardashian West. The ad, though, doesn’t mention the celebrity involvement and suggests her release, after being held for a non-violent drug offense, was the result of criminal justice reform led by Trump. With bipartisan support, the president did get such reform enacted, according to the Washington Post, but to suggest Johnson was part of it is misleading. Beyond that, there’s a much broader and more challenging context to his presidency and African Americans that the commercial entirely sidesteps.

Rocket Mortgage - Jason Momoa home

This is funny as heck, the idea that Jason Momoa comes home and takes off his Jason trappings: the elevator boots, the bicep and chest-muscle padding and, yes, even the hair from the top of this head. But to be a four-star ad, it’s got to also sell the product, and that’s where this one falls short. The only thing we learn about Rocket Mortgage is that it has to do with people’s homes.

Tide - “Laundry Later”

It moves quickly enough, this Tide look a domestic shirt-stain drama starring Charlie Day and Emily Hampshire. It even pulls in the Bud Light Knight and the Pepsi Halftime Show for cameos. But the action is all about putting off stained laundry till “later,” because Tide is claiming their stuff can handle it. This offends the laundry-doer in me, but, more important, there’s no real movement beyond the original idea. Subsequent call-backs in shorter ads failed to bring the concept home.

Saucony - “One Small Step”

This simple spot from the respected but second-tier running-shoe company, a first-time advertiser, is just about perfect. Old sneakers in a gymnasium filled with them start heading skyward. Piano music gives the discarded footwear uprising enough poetry that you don’t even bother to think what that gym must smell like. “What if the shoes we threw away actually went away?” says the voiceover. Saucony, we learn, has developed a line of biodegradable shoes. It’s a brilliant idea (assuming the degradation doesn’t happen while the wearer is out training for a marathon) and it’s backed by the sharp tag line, “It’s one small step toward reducing our footprint for good.” Also, I now know that it’s pronounced “SAUCK-uh-knee.”

Donald Trump for President - “Stronger, Safer, More Prosperous"

So this ad did not in fact run during the game, but afterward, during all the on-field interviews, which makes it not technically a Super Bowl ad. That said, separate out your feelings about the 45th president — which almost assuredly run red-hot or ice-cold — and this is a competent bit of broad-strokes political theater. Those amenable to Trump’s version of leadership and who follow what he does only through the occasional headline will likely buy his message here that the country is stronger and safer — as it backs those assertions only with the president acting like a strongman at rallies and with pictures of military ships and airplanes. It skips the apologetic language (“He’s no Mr. Nice Guy, but”) that shaped Trump’s TV spot during last fall’s World Series, but it does echo Trump’s habit of referring back to his 2016 election win. Most of the ad focuses on the “more prosperous” part of the commercial’s claim, touting wage growth and low unemployment — although critics would point out that wages also grew during most of George W. Bush’s presidency and that current low unemployment is following a downward trend line that has continued from Barack Obama’s presidency. But political ads are for puffery rather than caveats, and this one huffs and puffs plenty.

Walmart - “Famous Visitors”

It may be an obvious concept to have a bunch of movie characters stop by Walmart to demonstrate the retailer’s curbside pickup service. But the details here keep it engaging: Can the Lego character’s little C-shaped hand handle that big blue bag? But Bill from Bill & Ted as the only flesh-and-blood human? Seems a shocking dip into the past until you discover there’s a new BT movie coming out this summer.

Amazon Alexa - “Before Alexa”

The German carmaker isn’t the only Porsche starring in this year’s Ad Bowl. In this further attempt to put a “smart speaker” on every counter, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi wonder what people did before Alexa. And so launches a series of imaginings that run at 90 seconds in the preview ad but will pare down for the actual in-game spot. They’re mostly clever, with people asking or telling folks named “Alex” or “Alexi” or the like to perform tasks the digital assistant now can do: give the news, play songs, turn down the temperature (by tossing a couple of logs out of the fire and the window of a Victorian home). But the spot neglects to point out that before people began anthropomorphizing a Web-connected speaker, they also did not fret about a ubiquitous company eavesdropping on their home lives.

Mike Bloomberg for President - “George”

When Bloomberg announced he was running a Super Bowl ad, his longshot and late-entry campaign suggested it would be another in his series of big-money broadsides across the president’s bow. Instead of trying to get under Trump’s skin again, however, this goes in another direction, using the game’s mega-platform to introduce Bloomberg as an activist with an anti-gun-violence track record. The commercial is basically Calandrian Kemp telling about her late son, George H. Kemp Jr., who aspired to football greatness (Super Bowl tie-in) but was shot to death one Friday morning in 2013. While there are statistics in the form of on-screen text, the ad sticks with the grieving mother’s emotional message highlighting the devastation guns can cause and her endorsement of Bloomberg as “a dog in this fight.” Rather than the opposite, she asserts, the “gun lobby” is “scared of him" — although his side’s victories, while increasing in recent years, have still tended to be on the less controversial issues and only in certain states. Bloomberg’s big hope here, it seems, is that people will extrapolate from this one cause to see him as a man of empathy and action.

Audi - “Let It Go”

The German automaker summons carpool karaoke, the movie “Frozen” and even “Game of Thrones” to dramatize the joy of its electric vehicles. “GoT” star Maisie Williams, stuck in traffic in an Audi e-tron SUV, finds happiness by belting out the “Frozen” megahit earworm, implicitly chastising all the drivers of regular cars to “let it go.” The scenario isn’t wholly logical — why does turning around and going somewhere else make sense, either environmentally or just to get through your day? — but Williams is as charming singing and driving as she was making a murder list. And, you know what? Maisie’s right. Let’s all let the past go by getting $75,000 state-of-the-art luxury cars so we can “drive to a more sustainable future.”

Michelob Ultra - “Jimmy Works It Out”

Guided by wrestler John Cena — and the promise of Anheuser-Busch’s crazily popular beer-like product at the end — “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon learns to get over his distaste for working out. How much you like this one will depend on how charming you find Fallon in physical-comedy mode, clowning amid athletes Usain Bolt (track), Brooks Koepka (golf) and Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat (beach volleyball). To my taste it’s about as bland and predictable as Mich Ultra itself, but the fact that this “fitness beer” brand can spend $11 million or so on 60 Super Bowl seconds tells you a whole lot of people are very big fans indeed.

Hyundai - “Smaht Pahk”

The new Hyundai remote smart parking feature means its cars can park themselves — or, in Boston, “pahk.” This ad’s bright scenario shows actors associated with the New England city — Chris Evans, John Krasinski and Rachel Dratch — bantering over whether Krasinski will be able to fit into a tight space. The real star here is the Boston accent, getting a workout in words like “smaht,” “pahk” and “hah-bah” (harbor), but not, surprisingly, “Harvard Yard.” Bonus points for use of the all-purpose Beantown celebratory adjective “wicked” and the cameo by Red Sox hero David Ortiz.

Porsche - “The Heist”

Someone quietly steals the new electric Porsche from the Porsche Museum. So the employees all grab Porsches to chase it down in a parade of cool sports cars squealing their tires through Germany. The 2-½-minute cut released ahead of the game was dull and predictable, with the in-car banter failing to rise even to “Fast and Furious” levels. It got better when trimmed down, arriving sooner at the decent ending. Spoiler: It’s a game the museum workers play (before they all get fired and/or kill somebody).

Olay - “#MakeSpaceForWomen”

The now “Oil-of”-less skin-care products line is back in the game, this time with a women’s empowerment message that is more potent than the ad’s special effects. Cramming five celebrities into just 30 seconds, it starts with Katie Couric — apparently at the Olay newsdesk? — scoffing at news copy, specifically the line “Is there enough space in space for women?” Astronauts Lilly Singh (comic), Busy Philipps (actor) and Nicole Stott (astronaut) banter winningly from atop their liptstick-tube-looking rocket, then let the audience know that tweets using the ad title and @olayskin earn money for Girls Who Code. Coding and space travel sort of align, I guess, but the accidental pushing of the eject button at ad’s end undercuts the female-competence message.

Budweiser - “Typical American”

In Bud’s annual feel-good ad, the message is that “typical Americans” aren’t so typical after all. They fight forest fires, give other Americans the shirt off their backs, and attend big protests where the signage is not quite legible. (“We demand better focus?”) It’s touching enough, although the negative stereotypes the images supposedly undercut aren’t always so negative. And the scene showing a black protester hugging a white police officer, pulled from 2016 Charlotte, N.C., protests over a police shooting of an African-American citizen, simplifies a complex situation — and commercializes it as well. Indeed, the ad’s subsequent pivot to locker-room scenes and the product pitch — “typical Americans, always celebrating with their typical American beer” — is awkward.

Cheetos - “Can’t Touch This”

The snack chip brand built on orange flavor dust wants you to know that it now also offers its familiar powder as a coating on bagged popcorn. Its means of delivering this message is ingenious: Our snacking, every-guy hero learns to raise his fingers, now also bearing the coating, to get out of situations ranging from helping move furniture to catching a boss (I presume) in a trust fall. Better yet, each time he holds up this suddenly potent discolored hand, 1990s hitmaker MC Hammer pops up to sing the title of his best-known tune, “U Can’t Touch This.” This is one of the first ads I watched this year, and I’m already certain it’s going to be the one with the most perfectly used celebrity. (Postscript: Yep.)

Snickers - “Fix the World.”

In a winningly snarky callback to Coke’s famous “teach the world to sing” ad, Snickers tries to make the world a better place with its own group-walking sing and hilltop gathering. But first it’s got to show what’s wrong: Grown men ride scooters, people name their kids after vegetables and “milk keeps getting reinvented.” The problems are all funny and the “solution” is even better: The singers eventually gather around a huge hole so they can fix the world with an admittedly stupid idea: “feeding it a (giant) Snickers.” Who could have predicted this year’s best ad would come from a self-deprecating candy bar? Pro tip: For full impact, watch the minute-long version here rather than the short version that aired on TV.

SodaStream - “Discovers Water on Mars”

Astronauts discover water on Mars while, back home, Bill Nye the Science Guy cheers them on. It’s a huge finding, of course -- until the fellow in the spaceship heading home uses the SodaStream machine to turn the Mars water into seltzer and drinks it down. “Oh,” he says. “I thought it said ‘Mark’s water.’” This is another one where the extended version came out first, but it’s easy to imagine it working just as well with its run time trimmed. The story is good, and the humor actually demonstrates the product’s utility.

Discover - "No”

In one of its two 15-second spots, the credit card company that would be the fourth answer in “Family Feud” uses a string of movie and TV “nos” to answer the question the ad itself poses: Does Discover charge annual fees? It’s simple, fun, directly on message, and, of course, it starts with Austin Powers saying, “How ‘bout ‘no.’”

Discover - "Yes”

See above, only this time the word is “yes,” and the question is “Do you take Discover?” “Yes” is also the answer to a personal question: Should I cancel the Discover card I’ve had for years and have almost never used?

Heinz - “Find the Goodness - Four at Once”

When, for instance, a basketball broadcast I’m watching splits the screen between the game and the league commissioner being interviewed, I get peeved and yell, “Make a choice!” So I’m not the target audience for this ketchup ad that shows four scenes at once, from horror to sci-fi, all culminating in Heinz ketchup as a reward. You know what else is rewarding? Directors who don’t split the screen and who make a choice. This not-slow-good spot just seems like innovation for innovation’s sake.

Pop-Tarts - “Fixed the Pretzel”

Pretzels, it seems, can be flat and rectangular, too, and individually wrapped. There’s a lot of window dressing in this pitch for the new Pop-Tarts product, but it’s really just a good, old-fashioned new product explainer. That said, pitchman Jonathan Van Ness (“Queer Eye”) is lively, like the set around him, and it is not un-fun to watch a traditional pretzel get shoved into a toaster slot.

Doritos - “The Cool Ranch”

Lil Nas X’s moment is apparently not over, and Sam Elliott’s perhaps will never be. Doritos teamed the unlikely pair up for a duel in the street, an old western dance showdown, sort of like the ones westerns might have featured if Gene Kelly had been the star rather than Gene Autry. The moves are okay, while the backing track of Nas’s “Old Town Road” may be the one-too-manyth times I’ve heard the tune. But this is clever for building off of the cowboy conceit that first put the singer in the spotlight, less so for not having a darn tootin’ thing to say about the product itself.

Google - “Loretta”

Tugging at the heartstrings is probably a wise thing for the all-knowing, all-powerful Google to do. It could help us forget the way it cunningly turns all that it learns about us into money for its bottom line. Still, as much as I began this ad -- produced in-house -- wanting to deride it as the sad tale of a man whose wife dies and is left with Google as his companion, it won me over. And, yeah, by the end of the demonstration of how he’s using the Goog to keep memories of Loretta alive, I even had tears in my eyes. The line about her “perfect handwriting” pushed me over the edge. Learning at the end that he does have a dog was a needed touch, too. So: Well-played, Google, but, still, please don’t share my data.

Kia - “Tough Never Quits"

I’d happily watch a movie, or a documentary, about Josh Jacobs growing up homeless and making it to the Oakland Raiders backfield. But seeing that story interspersed with loving shots of Kia’s new vehicle is disconcerting at best. Yay for current Josh’s pep talk to his younger self, and, um, yay for the Seltos SUV? It’s a dance to bring together uplifting messages about the human spirit and overt calls to hit the dealership. Sometimes, it’s a stumble.

Pepsi Zero Sugar - “Done Right"

Missy Elliott and H.E.R. remake the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black,” at least for the 30-second snippet this commercial offers. But it’s most notable for the overt dig at Coke, as a red “Cola” can turns to black with the tune’s introductory notes. Cola wars are fun and vicious because, to most of us, the stakes are so low. Pepsi and Coke can fight it out like bastards battling in “Game of Thrones” and, in the end, it changes our lives not one whit. Anyway, this one is trying to get across the new black can that Pepsi Zero Sugar wears. It succeeds at that, but the song itself is so short that’s really all it accomplishes.

WeatherTech - “Lucky Dog"

Scout, the owner’s golden retriever who starred in last year’s Super Bowl ad for the suburban Chicago car mat company, is indeed a lucky dog. This past summer, he got cancer, bad, and was rushed up to Madison where the University of Wisconsin veterinary school was able to shrink his tumor. The ad tells that story and instead of selling WeatherTech product asks that viewers donate to the school. Given Scout’s star power and the way your heart melts when his doctor hugs him, I’m guessing some wallets will open Sunday.

New York Life - “Love Takes Action"

Back to school, kids. New York LIfe is teaching us about the four words the ancient Greeks had for love, culminating in the most profound, agape. That’s the one beyond philia and eros where you go the extra mile to, say, bathe an aged partner who needs help. And life insurance, it suggests, is like that, too, a way of demonstrating how much you care. Nothing that’ll knock your socks off here, but it definitely makes you think about the value of life insurance.

Microsoft, “Be the One”

Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers, is the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl. Microsoft, an NFL partner, tells her story quite well and quite inspirationally here. And unlike the Josh Jacobs Kia ad, the company doesn’t mingle her story with images of the latest Windows OS. Lesson: If you’re going to borrow someone’s uplifting tale to try to reflect well on your business, be a little bit pure about it.

Mtn Dew Zero Sugar - “As Good As the Original”

Of course, Bryan Cranston paying homage to Jack Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny” scene in “The Shining” is going to be well played. That’s kind of the problem, though. He seems genuinely about to kill Tracie Ellis Ross in the Shelley Duvall role, cowering behind the door that he tears through with a big axe. It is, in other words, a highly convincing domestic violence scene. That it’s a movie tribute and that Bryan/Jack offers her a sugar-free Mtn Dew instead of continuing to strike the door (or get his hand slashed) only takes a little of the dark edge off. I know Mtn Dew fancies itself extreme; this is extremely tone-deaf. Two stars are in the ad paying homage to two other stars, but the ad itself earns zero.

Squarespace, “Winona in Winona"

The website company tapped Winona Ryder to visit Winona, Minn. The ad is super low key, though, and in the best way now, eh? Playing like a “Fargo” outtake without the wood chopper, it’s a little slice of life with a local cop asking Ryder what she’s doing out there in the cold, by the town sign. “I’m building a website,” she says. “It’s got pictures on it.” The cop drives off. Life goes on. And the website, welcometowinona.com, actually exists. (Bonus: The 3-minute film the company made of Winona’s visit, easily findable on YouTube, is a delight.)

Michelob Ultra Pure Gold - “Six for Six-Pack”

The Anheuser-Busch product that is not actually made of pure gold (but is organic) is pledging to help American farmland go organic. Buy a six-pack of the low-cal beer and the company will help convert six square feet of farmland to organic, it says. When you dig up the press release because You’ve Got Questions, you learn that this will occur through A-B working with an organic advocacy group in steps including buying organic barley contracts. Instead of explaining all that, though, the ad simply says, “What if we could help them simply by having a beer?” Math question: How many square feet would the cost of a 60-second Super Bowl ad convert?

Pringles - “Rick and Morty” x Pringles

Last year, the pressed-potato-snack company pushed the idea of “stacking:” piling several chip flavors together to create something that also still tastes mostly like Pringles, but maybe with some chip-flavor-dust accents whose combination, you might convince yourself, tastes like another food. This year the company enlisted Adult Swim hit “Rick and Morty,” the cartoon that gleefully celebrates nihilism. The resulting ad is actually funny, with Rick finding himself trapped inside a Pringles commercial, but the ad still manages to sell the concept of stacking.

Avocados from Mexico - “AFM Shopping Network”

Winona Ryder and Molly Ringwald in the same collection of Super Bowl ads? Has the person I was in my 20s died and gone to heaven? This one puts Ringwald, the “Sixteen Candles” star, in a spritely home-shopping parody, the Avocados from Mexico Shopping Network, “where buying stuff for you avocados totally isn’t weird.” the network host says. Ringwald comes on to pitch a kind of Baby Bjorn for avocados, a chip-shaped pool float (“not a life-saving device”), and, for some reason, an avocado helmet. The fruit-or-maybe-vegetable consortium usually tries humor in its Super Bowl ads and usually succeeds, including in 2020. I do wonder, though, when the snack their ads feature will transition from guacamole to avocado toast.

Little Caesars - “Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”

It wouldn’t be fair to comment on Little Caesars pizza quality since it’s been, literally, decades since I’ve had it. But the company’s first Super Bowl commercial is a flavor bomb. Little Caesars’ delivery service is the “best thing since sliced bread,” says a customer receiving pizzas at her door, and panic ensues at Sliced Bread headquarters. Very nimbly rendered panic. New ideas (sparkle bread) are stupid; “sliced bread is toast,” says a newsman; and, by the end, there’s an ostrich in the hellscape the office has become. In the note-perfect coda, the guy delivering another Little Caesars order is the Sliced Bread CEO, played by Rainn WIlson of “The Office.” Side note: You can use sliced bread to make avocado toast.

Reese’s Take 5 - “Rock”

As with Little Caesars, the team advertising this underpopular Hershey candy bar decided to go the idiom route to argue for the product. A quick-tongued woman in an office is amazed coworkers haven’t heard of her snack. She unleashes a series of rebukes -- “Where have you been, under a rock?” “Born yesterday?” “Raised by wolves?” -- that turn out to accurately describe her colleagues. The visualizations of these work instantly, both in the ad’s context and as workplace parody. And the clever kicker comes when a fellow walks into frame saying he hasn’t heard of Take 5 either; his head appears to be inside (or “up,” you might say) a bodily orifice.

National Football League - Police shooting ad

Some, actually many, say the NFL is hypocritical for airing this ad supporting wide receiver Anquan Boldin’s quest to make something positive of the police shooting of his cousin while former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains out of the league. When he was still in uniform, Kaepernick, of course, protested police brutality by taking a knee during the pregame playing of the National Anthem and found himself out of work -- for three years running now. The Boldin ad, about the Florida shooting death of his cousin Corey Jones and subsequent efforts by the league’s Inspire Change initiative and the Players Coalition to fight the conditions that led to Jones’ death, would be laudable under other circumstances. But when the guy who got this movement going still seems to be effectively blackballed by the league, trumpeting your good deeds on that front seems like an attempt to divert attention, and it rings hollow.

TurboTax - “All People Are Tax People”

The big DIY tax software company employs a music video format, an original composition and an infectious wobbly-kneed dance to convey the idea that we’ve all got to do our taxes. People ranging from senior citizens to a bar cowboy to a museum guard do the dance and emphasize that Uncle Sam needs to get paid. “Do your taxes. Do your taxes. Everybody, everybody, do your taxes,” goes the song, which some might argue has no right to be so boppy. It won’t be the single of the summer, but up until about April 15, it’s melody and its message will be hard to ignore.

Genesis - “Going Away Party”

Celebrity it couple Chrissy Teigen and John Legend throw a going-away party for “old luxury,” including the guy who thinks his loud suit is a personality and the guy “who leans on everybody, for some reason.” Young luxury, Teigen announces, is the new car hubby Legend is driving up in. Any moment now. It’s a new SUV from Genesis, Hyundai’s upscale brand. This is one of the spots edited in the wake of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant’s death -- to take out a helicopter scene, reportedly -- and it seems no weaker for the adjustment.

Jeep - “Groundhog Day”

The Super Bowl falls on Groundhog Day, 2020, and in this clever ad, it’s the movie “Groundhog Day” all over again for Bill Murray. Except he’s older and he notices an orange Jeep that looks like a toy car writ large in downtown Punxsutawney. “That’s different,” he says. He kidnaps the groundhog and the vehicle and begins a series of the kind of adventures you can apparently have in a Jeep Gladiator: driving with the top down (“who cares” if he freezes to death, Murray tells a guy); going fatbiking on snowy trails; snowshoeing. It’s hard to fumble the every-day-repeats concept, and this ad does a solid job carrying it down the field. Best is Murray playing whack-a-mole and telling his rodent buddy “It’s not personal.” Points, too, for the tagline, “No day is the same in a Jeep Gladiator.” Chicago deejay Steve Dahl cameos as the radio voice at the very beginning of the ad.

Toyota - “Go Wherever They Need You”

This is the best of this year’s early-release car ads and also whip-smart marketing by Toyota: Mom in her “all-new Highlander,” Toyota’s ever-larger family SUV, becomes the hero in a variety of rescue scenes. It starts at a chemical plant, where things are going bad, and a worker in a hazmat suit stays behind, nobly. Sitcom star Cobie Smulders — whose name sounds like a better fit for an indie band or an artisanal pickle company — pulls up and says, “Hop in. I got room.” (She is unprotected, which worries me.) Ditto for the cowboy under attack by indeterminate bad guys and the arctic monster scenario. The neat kicker is the teenager on a city street who can’t fit in a cab with his friends. Mom/Smulders pulls up, heroic once more time, and the kid looks at the odd crew in the back and says, “Again?”

T-Mobile - “Anthony Anderson’s Mama…”

T-Mobile enlists “Blackish” star Anthony Anderson — but mostly his real-life “mama,” Doris Hancox — to tout the carrier’s purported 5G service. She calls him front a variety of locations to say the new service her son signed her up for is working “at the aquarium,” “in the kitchen,” even “in the club.” It’s a charming ad, but unmentioned is that the early reviews on what T-Mobile and other carriers are calling “5G,” the next generation in wireless networks, suggest it’s too soon to sign your mother, yourself or anybody else up.

Quibi - “Bank Heist”

Quibi is the well-funded streaming platform that’ll debut in the spring showing videos of ten minutes or less each. To introduce itself to America, it offers bank robbers who run out to the curb to find no getaway driver. He’s watching something on his phone, chuckling, and says, “I’ll be there in a Quibi, less than 10 minutes.” The lead bank robber starts watching, too, and he gets a small glimpse of Chance the Rapper hosting a new version of MTV’s “Punk’d,” one of Quibi’s higher profile signings. The spot is not particularly well played or imagined, but what it does do is effectively start to explain the platform — and that “Quibi” comes from “quick bites.”

Coca-Cola Energy - “Show Up”

I think Coke is trying to be funny here, with Martin Scorsese waiting for Jonah Hill at a party and Hill not immediately answering the text. “Martin Scorsese Being Dotted,” there’s somehow a news report saying. While Hill is not responding (as if an actor would ever keep this director hanging), the actor grabs a Coca-Cola Energy, which is apparently Big Red’s answer to Red Bull, and rallies to make it to the bash. There’s not a legitimate chuckle in these 60 seconds, and it feels miscast and out of step. I like the old, sincere-to-sappy Coke a lot better.

GMC Hummer - “Quiet Revolution”

When it last belched emissions toward our skies, the Hummer was a vehicle environmentalists loved to hate, a clownish overexperssion of machismo of the type that American culture has only grown more familiar with in the years since. That tainted Hummer name, for some reason, is coming back this spring (May) as an electric truck, the HummerEV, which is probably the only way GM could have brought it back. And while we don’t yet know if it will also look like a SWAT team party bus, the first new hummer ad tells us it will be powerful and quiet and express its dominance like LeBron James. James is here shattering a backboard quietly with a dunk, part of an effective sell touting how much oomph the vehicle will offer without making an impression on your ears.

Facebook Groups - “Ready to Rock?”

Does this first-ever Super Bowl ad mean Facebook is pivoting to video — the old-school way? It’s been a rough few years for Facebook, proof that it isn’t easy being universally liked as a ubiquitous social media platform while also looking out for your bottom line. This ad tries to turn the focus away from, say, election manipulation or inaccurate data about the power of online video and back to the social part of things. With a mediocre hair band backing track (Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock”), the big F shows us a whole bunch of Facebook Groups who organize via that platform and have something to do with rocks or rocking; even ice cubes count, for a craft cocktail group. The kicker is comic Chris Rock running up the Rocky Balboa steps in Philadelphia only to find Sylvester Stallone there. The celebrity usage sounds good in concept but the execution is lacking. So: one star, and, nonetheless, please don’t share my data.

Bud Light - “Inside Post’s Brain (Store)”

As recently as last year’s Super Bowl, beer companies used to argue over corn syrup. Now, most everybody seems to be edging away from beer and toward boozy water, like Bud Light with it’s new “Bud Light Seltzer.” Does anybody remember barley? Pre-game, Bud Light showed two different ads with Post Malone contemplating Bud Light (arguably a beer) and Bud Light Seltzer (not a beer, despite the beer-inclusive name). The lesser of the two, the one that has him in a convenience store, won the popular vote to win a spot in the Super Bowl. The representation of the inside of the musician’s head is imaginative. But in trying to decide between the two he opens and drinks the seltzer product right in the store, then slams around and trashes its chip aisle. That’s a lot of asocial behavior to put on display just so a giant company can jump on a booming-beverage-category bandwagon.

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