Sydney Arkin: Cash4Gold: Usually flooded with local lawyers and cars and trailers (oh my!), I was dreading watching the next thirty-second spot from this company. But Cash4Gold finally broke free from its sterility with a rapper advertising to change his gold for cash and explaining all the types of gold you could exchange. Of course you have gold things you could melt! You have a gold record from your great achievements! Liquefy the gold and out will come liquid assets! Props to Cash4Gold for stepping away from the dissuading infomercials and hopping on the ever more popular satirical train.
Doritos: Ad Meter ranked their commercial “Free Doritos” the number one Superbowl commercial of 2009. As an office worker is explaining to a colleague that his snow globe is in fact a crystal ball, he proves his point by asking, “Free Doritos at the office today?” and hurling the ball at the vending machine, resulting in free snacks. The commercial was in no doubt a quick laugh, but on repeated exposure, it’s almost impossible to not feel drowned in terrible acting and drab lighting. It looks like it could have been shot in the basement of Willard Straight on a grey Ithacan day.
Naushad Kabir: Budweiser (Clydesdale): Definitely my favorite commercial. Jake, a Clydesdale horse, tells a nostalgic tale of his grandfather emigrating from 1933 Scotland to the U.S. All the tropes of the Far and Away immigration story are there: the requisite Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty gaze, the attempts to fit into American horse society and a final realization of his calling as a Budweiser mascot. It’s all in the telling, Jake’s over-the-top-Gerard-Butler brogue adding a jolly sense of farce to the whole thing. Ah, the genius of Budweiser: invoking American nostalgia and the multigenerational nature of the Super Bowl…
Bud Light (meeting): I’m not a huge fan of beer, but damn, does Bud know how to make good commercials. My third tie for favorite Super Bowl XLIII ad is one that is relatively short and simple, almost predictable. The setting is a corporate meeting where people are suggesting ways to cut costs. One young fool suggests they stop ordering buckets of Bud Light to their corporate meetings. The next shot is of the fellow being launched out of the window in a scene to rival Samuel L. Jackson’s in The Long Kiss Goodnight, shot with the subtlety of a Rachet and Clank commercial (look it up on YouTube). Priceless.