Super Bowl XLV: Best and Worst Commercials

Some people watch the Super Bowl for love of the game. Others tune in for the half-time show. Still others just stick around so they can watch the post-game TV special. But there's one part of the NFL championship that everyone has an opinion on: the commercials.

Slate has rounded up the best and worst ads from this year's broadcast. Some highlights:

Author John Swansburg has no sympathy for the opening Bud Light ad:

It's a Super Bowl tradition: Each year Bud Light buys the first spot of the game, and each year it's a stinker. A couple takes part in a spoof of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The host shows the couple to their renovated kitchen, but it turns out the only change he's made has been to place a bucket of cold Bud Light longnecks on the counter. Dumb, but slightly less sophomoric than openers from previous years--there's not a single groin or head injury.

While he calls a Star Wars-themed Volkswagen spot "one of my favorite ads of the night":

There's a sweetness to the ad that I think resonates regardless of whether you know how to spell the name of the Wookie home planet. The contrast between the large, scary mask and the small frame of the child was adorable, as was the child's stutter step of shock when he thinks he's pulled off his trick. I also loved the cocked brow of the father; something tells me he's living vicariously through his son--or daughter--in that moment.

A Sealy mattress ad gets called out for being the sexiest ad of the broadcast:

It's a wonderfully simple concept: Overhead shots of attractive couples enjoying post-coital bliss, scored to Carmen McRae's sultry "Just a Little Lovin." Though there's no question about what's being depicted, the vibe is playful and tender, with no hint of the tawdriness trucked in by the likes of GoDaddy. (The couples are conservatively swaddled in linens.) I loved the tagline: "Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it." A nice play on words, and a touching sentiment. An open-minded mattress manufacturer! It warms the heart.

And he wonders if a Hyundai ad is really "an outtake from The Big Lebowski."

See all of Swansburg's picks and pans at Slate.

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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