Super Bowl Ads: Best and Worst Ever

By Advocate Contributors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 30 2014 12:00 AM ET

DANCES WITH BEARS
Ellen DeGeneres did this adorable Super Bowl ad for Beats. Well, technically she debuted it on her show in the video above. In it, we get to watch Ellen do one the things she loves best — dance.

 

DADDY LOVES FASHION
This Doritos ad from 2013 got mixed reviews, with some saying it played into gender role stereotypes while others saying it challenged them. Decide for yourself in the video above.

 

MAN CANDY
Hey — this is the Super Bowl, two men can't do that Lady and the Tramp spaghetti thing! In this 2007 Super Bowl spot, two mechanics chomp at opposite ends of the same Snickers bar and — oops! — kiss each other when they meet in the middle. In the version that aired during the game, one of the guys slams a car hood down on the other guy's head. As you may have guessed, LGBT activists were not laughing. In the video of the commercial posted above, all the alternate endings are included, though some never aired and were instead available online.

SIMMONS-OCIDE
Apparently, some find fitness guru Richard Simmons annoying. So annoying that they would contemplate hitting him with their car in the middle of the night — while driving on Bridgestone tires, naturally. Did they not realize Simmons is a saint? TheWeightSaint, in fact. He is America's (not necessarily gay) campy, boisterous treasure.

 

NO MANCRUNCH, YES TEBOW
Readers are likely to recall a 30-second "pro-life" ad in the 2010 Super Bowl paid for by the antigay Focus on the Family, starring then-college quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, who tells viewers she's really glad she didn't abort her future Heisman Trophy-winner of a son. A spokesman for Focus called the ad "life- and family-affirming," which apparently made the ad suitable for the Super Bowl's massive audience, according to executives at CBS. But that same year, CBS rejected an ad for gay dating site ManCrunch, saying the broadcaster couldn't confirm ManCrunch's credit. The ad — much to the chagrin of many gay viewers — featured a Minnesota Vikings fan passionately kissing a Green Bay Packers fan after the two share an accidental hand-graze in a  bowl of chips. A spokeswoman for ManCrunch said the network's rejection of the ad was "straight-up discrimination," especially following the news that CBS would air the Focus commercial starring the Tebows.

 

SUPER CENSORED
It may be provable that GoDaddy.com creates provocative Super Bowl commercials just so they'll be banned, thus gaining media attention while letting the company avoid paying millions of dollars to be on network television during the game. However, this Super Bowl ad featuring an, um, flamboyant fictional retired NFL player who goes by the name Lola and runs a website selling his own lingerie is really just silly. But for whatever reason, CBS decided it just couldn't air the commercial. By the way, it was slated for the same year that the ManCrunch ads were banned.

SUPER COMPENSATING
Oh, those poor straight guys having to endure (ugh!) eating fruit with breakfast, and (grrrrrr!) listening to their wife's opinion of their friends, or (gag!) carrying their girlfriends' lip balm. Thank goodness they get to drive Dodge Chargers in exchange for all of those terrible, emasculating duties. Life. Is. So. Hard!

 

TOO GAY FOR FRITO-LAY
In 2011, Doritos' annual "Crash the Super Bowl" contest got a little too gay for Frito-Lay. The contest solicits fan-made 30-second ads featuring the snack, then asks viewers to vote on which should air nationally during the Super Bowl. But two gay ads submitted for the 2011 contest were apparently too racy for the snack company, which never aired either ad. The first spot featured two hunky nude men steaming in a sauna as one man seductively eyes the other's crotch. The second, slightly tamer ad featured a gay couple sunning themselves by the pool — with a bag of Doritos, naturally — as their presumably straight neighbor looks over the hedge dividing their homes, salivating.

'COLORIST' IS CODE FOR COOL
Sheryl Crow posed for a Revlon ad that pitted its coloring product against her professional and picky colorist himself. The guy played an obstinate stereotypical gay hairstylist at first before coming around to give the product his approval. Might be a stereotype, but in the end the stylist is the arbiter of cool.

 

BI-CURIOUS COUCH
The 2012 Toyota Camry “Reinvented” commercial riffs on of all the things in the world that have been reinvented. Immediately we see the reinvented couch as a batch of hot women rock a chair pose and wait for the guy to come sit down and watch the game. Good for Toyota that they saw fit to have the couch come in a male version too. The guy didn’t seem to mind too much, either.

 

BITCH-SLAP HAPPY
A Motorola ad for the 2010 Super Bowl featured actress Megan Fox supposedly taking a self-portrait while in the bathtub and wondering what would happen if she sent the photo out to her online followers. Amid a montage of macho guys who are tragically distracted by Fox's bare shoulders, the ad shows a woman slapping her boyfriend for looking at the image, followed by two effeminate, presumably gay men slapping one another for the same offense. New York Times columnist Stuart Elliott panned the ad, saying it played into stereotypes about gay men. As for the shaky logic that two gay men would come to blows over a barely scandalous picture of a straight actress, well … Clearly advertisers can't be bothered by logic when they have stereotypes to perpetuate.

BECKHAM BACKLASH
Hot damn! No words, but really, no words are used in this 2012 ad. H&M flaunted its newest headliner for its sportswear line, David Beckham. “Becks” showed off every erotic curve and seductive line he has on his iconic bod with only those tight ‘n white briefs on. Good job to H&M for turning up the heat for every demographic watching the Super Bowl. Then came CNN commentator Roland Martin, who got all hot and bothered in a bad way, tweeting "“If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl.” GLAAD called for his firing.

 

IT'S JUST A PROMO!
Neil Patrick Harris got slammed by right-wing conspiracy theorists for supposedly mocking Christianity and forcing the gay agenda on viewers by wearing black eye paint inscribed with the 2013 Super Bowl date, similar to how Tim Tebow sports Bible verses across his cheekbones. No one seemed to care when Beyoncé rocked the same look, so way to go, Neil Patrick Harris — rock that war paint.

 

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
Elton John played the role of Pepsi King in this 2012 ad, and his costume lived up to the occasion. Then X Factor winner Melanie Amaro won his approval by nailing her club-mixed rendition of the crowd favorite “Respect” by Aretha Franklin.

 

THE OLD NORMAL
A year before the NFL lifted its ban on "advocacy ads" during the Super Bowl in 2010, the policy came under fire for selective enforcement that advocates say amounted to antigay discrimination. An NBC affiliate in Los Angeles refused to air a 30-second spot featuring two gay dads and their five children from GetToKnowUsFirst.org, an LGBT advocacy organization created in response to California's passage of Proposition 8, which repealed marriage equality in the state. "We bought ads before, during, and after the Super Bowl in 10 markets across California," said GetToKnowUsFirst project coordinator John Ireland in a statement. "I was truly stunned while watching the programming, to see that they had selectively blocked our ads, while allowing other advocacy ads to air." KNBC, the affiliate that refused the gay parenting ad, did run commercials addressing steroids and smoking during the 2009 game. Watch the ad above, and meet Xavier, Michael, and their family.

Syndicate To
Syndication Data: 
a:1:{s:11:"www.gay.net";a:2:{i:0;a:1:{i:0;s:2:"45";}s:18:"syndication_status";N;}}