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The Best–and Worst–Super Bowl Commercials

Written by PETA | February 3, 2009

Obviously, Veggie Love would have been the best Super Bowl commercial of all time. But because NBC rejected PETA’s ad, we had to leave it off our list of the most appealing and most appalling commercials that aired during this year’s game:

The Best:

Bridgestone: In Bridgestone’s Super Bowl entry, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are out for a country drive, swerving around a curvy mountain road. With Mrs. Potato Head busy screaming at Mr. Potato Head, he turns a blind corner and almost runs into a flock of sheep. Thankfully, Bridgestone’s tires save the day (and the sheep!) and offer viewers a reminder that it’s important to brake for animals. (This is a big deal: Every day, an estimated 1 million animals are killed on U.S. highways alone.)

Coca-Cola: This ad dazzled Super Bowl viewers with its CGI portrayal of ladybugs, grasshoppers, bumblebees, dragonflies, and other insects. An ad this beautiful showcases the advancements in CGI and animatronic technologies that have completely eliminated the need to use live animals in film, television, and advertising. Coca-Cola proves that you can put together a successful ad that makes no artistic compromises while still sending the important message that animal abuse is always wrong.

Sobe: Like Coca-Cola, Sobe used high-tech CGI technology (and absolutely no live animals) to depict lizards dancing with football players. Best of all, no Naomi Campbell this year (we may wish she was CGI, but, unfortunately, she and her furs are all-too-real).

In Between:

Budweiser: Normally, we despise Budweiser’s ads featuring Clydesdale horses (who needs a live mascot when there are so many creative alternatives?). But this year, Budweiser almost got on our good side. One of their Clydesdales falls in love with an enslaved circus horse. We’re glad to see that Budweiser seems opposed to the exploitation of horses in circuses, but that leaves us a bit confused as to why they’re OK with taking advantage of these animals in their own commercials.

Pedigree: We’re glad Pedigree promotes adopting dogs from animal shelters (and not keeping exotic animals captive). It appears, though, that at least some of the exotic animals in the commercial are the real deal (as opposed to CGI). Since they clearly weren’t filmed in their natural environment, Pedigree looks like one more company that doesn’t practice what it preaches.

The Worst:

Doritos: Generally, Doritos’ commercials are pretty funny, but one of their ads was completely spoiled by the presence of a capuchin monkey. All animals forced into show business are subjected to beatings and intensive confinement, and capuchin monkeys in particular are high-strung and often resort to self-mutilation in response to stress and boredom. Not funny. At all. Plus, I’m pretty bitter that this commercial depicted a woman’s clothes flying off: I thought NBC didn’t allow “sexy” ads? I guess this one just slipped by someone at NBC.

Castrol Oil: Without a doubt, “Castrol Oil: Edge Monkeys” wins the Worst of the Worst award for this year’s ads. Castrol must not have gotten the memo that young chimpanzees used in the entertainment industry are ripped away from their mothers, beaten into submission, and discarded at filthy roadside zoos when they grow too large and strong to be controlled. Is anyone still laughing? Somehow, I don’t think the chimpanzees ever were. Send a letter demanding they stop running the ad and never use great apes in advertisements again!

What were your favorite and least favorite commercials? Leave a comment and let us know.

Written by Liz Graffeo

Commenting is closed.
  • danielle says:

    Castrol’s ad is terrible. I used to work at the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather in NYC that produced this ad and I know a guy who worked on it. I sent him the link to the peta site that explains what happens to these chimps. Im appalled that they didnt know better or did they and just not care?. The good news is that Castrol’s advertising budget is tiny and they can only afford to do a commercial every couple of years so this is hopefully not the start of a longer campaign.

  • jennifer says:

    yea um i was like um yea i didnt like idk what commecial it was and forgot really what it was about but the only thing i remembered was someone hitting a fake koala bear that was wrong i know it was fake but still… but i still liked the commecials i actually liked the dortitos one i dont see anything wrong with what they did and the beer comm. also very cute

  • Piper Gerrity says:

    The worst commercialto me had to be the!They had someonerepeatedly talking about wanting to hit small animalswhile they also showed a guys’ fist punching a koala bear in the head!It was sick!I have tried to contact the company and complain.I finallyleft a message.Peta should do somethingif they can.

  • Carson Pence says:

    The commercial where they were punching the koala… at least it was stuffed puppet. Nobody’s really gonna go and find a small animal to punch! That would be sick and twisted.

  • hannah says:

    i definately did not watch the superbowl. i really hope that the footballs are not made out of pig skin still

  • Nikki says:

    I didn’t like the one a job finding business like career builder or something that said something about feeling like you wanna punch small animals. Anybody who would wanna punch a small animal is creepy.. I would like to punch someone who wants to punch a small animal though!

  • josh says:

    Hey yall i thought all the comercialls where great and as for the kfc thing one of you guys mentiond i agree get rid of all that prossesed food and meat if you can realy call it that and start consuming more natural stuff like wild game its realy healthy and satisfying that way we can be healthy americans

  • Rosemary Black says:

    There was a commercial for Careerbuilder that showed someone punching a stuffed Koala bear in the face. The commercial states… “if you feel like punching small animals in the face” this was said over and over in the ad. I do realize it was a stuffed animal but WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE IS THAT SENDING??? I was furious!!!!! Secondly the commercial for Pedigree dog food showed people having exotic animals as pets. At the end of the commercial it shows a man trying to play frisbee with a bull. He throws the frisbee at the bull hitting it right in the face. I was sickened. I thought about how may times did they do that to a defenseless animal to get that scene right??!!!??? Do you think it was real or maybe computer genterated??? Even so again what kind of message does it send?

  • roxanne says:

    the commercials were bad and the one that I hate most was budweiser Clydesdale of the horse drawn carriage. it was so misleading. first there is only one horse hauling the carriage with those lazy tourists. Also NYC horses don’t look as fit and healthy as the horse in the commercials. I will Never drink a Bud again.

  • Bethany says:

    The Career Builder ad was stupid and highly offensive. Who dreams about punching small animals in the face because they are unhappy at their job? What a horrible thing to suggest! They had my vote for worst ad and I told them so!

  • Geof says:

    I had no idea about capuchin monkeys and young chimpanzees. That’s horrible. Keep spreading awareness PETA!

  • Courtney says:

    The commercials you had weren’t that bad! I was expecting far worst for it to be banned! I think they’re antivegetarian antiPETA. I liked the Clydesdale that falls in love with an enslaved circus horse.. hopefully they were treated well during filming!

  • Nicolene Grobbelaar says:

    You know I claim to advocate how animal cruelty is just WRONG but it hit me just now that I haven’t even given the Castrol ad another thought… I have seen many doccies of how baby chimps are abused and enslaved and forced into doing stunts in circuses or showbiz but I just never paid any mind to that commercial and I feel really bad about it! It’s wrong and it should be brought to people’s attention that no matter how innocent or how cute these adverts may seem that they create a market for animal cruelty illegal animal trade and worst of all they put money in the pockets of the very people that take delight in doing all of this!

  • nicole says:

    this advertising post makes me think of the cricket rather a large deal in australia!!! every match i see nonstop KFC adds it’s every where on the players shirts on the gradstand in every add block… i think KFC should spend a little less on sponsorship and a lot lot more on the quality of life for their chickens!!! I also think that the issues associated with the farming of these beautiful birds should be brought to the attention of all the players who feature in these adds and the head honchos behind it all… and why on earth are we allowing the advertising of fat and salt laden foods during sporting events? why is allowed at all with the ever increasing obesity and younger and younger cases of type two diabetes!!! If the Australian government can put rules associated with racism “on hold” while they force aboriginal communities to become alcohol free why can’t they stop the advertising rights of MacDonalds KFC etc etc.

  • Kristina says:

    I thought the Coca Cola one was very cute and beautiful to say the least. I also thought it was awesome that Pedigree spent the money for a Super Bowl commercial focusing on adoption but the poor bull at the end getting it by a Frisbee was more sad than funny.

  • jay schumacher says:

    the ad banned at the superbowl was way great! if the ad was for beer or cars or shampoo or hamburgers then it would not be banned. sex sells…anyone in marketing knows that. maybe peta should get a swimsuit edition then they would be guaranteed a spot on tv. as for tv well the superbowl was the best of the worst. your ad would have livened the show up. funny how the network did not want the money.

  • Ant says:

    I actually did not watch the superbowl either. But I did see Mr. Potatohead and the Budweiser one. The horses running away together made me happy. You have to admit the Doritos commercial with the snowglobe was funny…

  • Danah Lamb says:

    So I love the Veggi Love Comercial…. so much so Ive posted in on my myspace and show it to everyone I know. What puzzles me is Why and how does get away with there crude comercial and you guys can’t do veggi love???!!!

  • Meg Schramm says:

    I remember the year Careerbuilder had chimpanzees in their commercial I also remember PETA asking them to stop it. Their beautiful response the next year was to air a commercial featuring humans acting like apes in a jungle setting ripping up office equipment. It was hilarious one of the best commercials of all time in my opinion and I resumed using their service. Castrol should take a strong hint and do the same.

  • mary Ryan says:

    Did you see the commercial by some careerfinder organization. It had fake koala bears but some guy in the commercial was having a bad day and was “punching small animals.” It showed the koala being dazed by a punch. The words were spoken twice. I was barely listening to the commercial until I heard those words and jumped off my seat.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Hey your video links are only good for the States. I found some of the ads on YouTube. Example Budweiser You gotta love these incredibly beautiful horses and they are shown as having feelings as well as giving their human “masters” a welldeserved comeuppance. All in all pretty damn good ad.

  • Pepsi One is Fun says:

    The Castrol Monkey commercial would of been funny even with CGI monkeys but maybe I’m just that stupid. xD And did anyone else feel jipped over the supposedly 3d event that didn’t work as good as they hyped it to be?

  • Brian Luznak (No MD Up Here) says:

    I wasn’t a big fan of the 100k plus jobs commercial with the big game hunters but they were hunting office chairs. 100K plus people and big game hunting seem to go hand and hand. Terrible waste of good office furniture too!!!

  • June Black says:

    I thought the Budweiser commercial featuring the Clydesdale saving his “girlfriend” from the circus was the best ad. It showed how awful the circus is to animals lighten up the Clydesdales look pampered whenever I’ve seen them!

  • Mel says:

    I agree on the Castrol Monkeys commercial. NOT FUNNY!

  • mlo says:

    The cocacola bugs should be 1. I’m not a fan of coke but that was one of the best commercials ever made.

  • beth says:

    i’ve always loved CocaCola commercials they are always tasteful and cute like the cartoon polar bears without exploiting real animals

  • Rex's Mom says:

    I was probably one of the 5 or so Americans who didn’t watch the Super Bowl since I can’t stand football. What are footballs made of anyway? Are they now synthetic or from a pig or other animal? But I deplore any commercial that uses live animals!

  • Jacob says:

    You guys are funny

  • Aaron says:

    I was absolutely appalled by the Castrol edge monkeys commercial. I didn’t find it at all humorous.