The Best–and Worst–Super Bowl Commercials

Published by PETA.

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

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind