Thoughts on Super Bowl LI’s commercials and halftime show

Six Vince Lombardi trophies

Updated on February 12, 2022

Another Super Bowl has come and gone. This year, the Roman numerals are back, unlike last year’s game. The New England Patriots (to my annoyance) won this year’s Super Bowl in overtime, after a collapse in the second half by their opponents, the Atlanta Falcons.

As usual, below are my thoughts on this year’s Super Bowl ads and halftime show.


Overall, the commercials this year were made to emphasize diversity in American society. It’s hard to know whether it’s from: Madison Avenue finally getting a clue about changing American demographics; a desire for something other than crass humor; or a reaction to the 2016 election and its regressive aftermath.

Yes, I had more entries on the “worst ads” list than the “best ads” one.

Best ads

  • Coca-Cola. An ad with “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages, with diverse peoples shown. It’s an ad that’s been out for awhile, but was still nice.
  • Google Home. It also showed a diverse range of people, including (like the Coke ad above) LGBT individuals. A pride flag is seen in one early scene.
  • Honda. Their ad featuring celebrities’ yearbook photos speaking about life goals and pursuing dreams was fun.

Worst ads

  • Budweiser’s Spuds MacKenzie. Seems kind of a depressing reminder for anyone who remembers this 80s beer advertising icon that the dog is long deceased. It also probably left millennial viewers scratching their heads and wondering what a ghostly dog has to do with beer.
  • Skittles. More weird Skittles ads, though at least not as bad as portraying their product as a disease like another ad does.
  • American Petroleum Institute. As if we needed a reminder of the impending rollback in energy industry regulations/cleaner energy developments under the new presidential administration.
  • Intel. Didn’t need to see 360-degree teeth-brushing.
  • Mr. Clean. Mr. Clean’s turned into some “sexy-fun-time” video-like…thing.
  • T-Mobile. Their ads tried too hard to emphasize “edgy” elements, such as marijuana puns in a Martha Stewart/Snoop Dogg ad. The worst was a “50 Shades of Grey” parody; granted, not as bad as GoDaddy in its heyday, but still…
  • Febreze. The absolute worst ad of the evening, it promotes using their product during… smelly bathroom breaks at halftime. Eww.

Halftime show

This year’s halftime show featured Lady Gaga. Gaga’s show was entertaining, even if there weren’t any dancing sharks.

What were your favorite or least favorite aspects of this year’s Big Game?

“Front Side of Six Vince Lombardi Trophies” by daveynin is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Flickr / cropped from original)


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Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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