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Best Super Bowl commercials came from Australia — and Sprint, and Tide

Peter Dinklage performs in a Doritos Blaze Super Bowl spot. | PepsiCo

Patriots vs. Eagles wasn’t the only big competition at Super Bowl LII. Advertisers were battling for audience attention by spending big on commercials during the NBC telecast.

The Super Bowl’s massive viewership makes it one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the year, which is why a 30-second television commercial during the big game averaged more than $5 million.

Brands leveraged celebrities, animals, nostalgia and, most importantly, high-priced ad agencies to get viewers talking about their advertising and, they hope, their products.

The best


Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. dancing in a commercial? Strangely enough, it worked. The two Giants stars practiced a future touchdown celebration by dancing to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing,” complete with Manning lifting Beckham over his head at the end. Landon Collins and members of the Giants offensive line also showed some moves. Nobody puts these two in a corner.


One of the funnier commercials of the night thanks to a devious robot named Evelyn and a bunch of her mean friends making fun of a scientist working with the AI because he hasn’t switched to Sprint. “You got a dumb face,” a tiny ’bot tells him. But if you think too much about how intelligent these robots have become, you might be too frightened to embrace the future — and a smart phone.

Doritos and Mountain Dew

To promote both Doritos Blaze and Mountain Dew Ice, the two PepsiCo products combined forces for a lip sync battle for the ages. Peter Dinklage of “Game of Thrones” (with the voice of Busta Rhymes) burns down the house before Morgan Freeman of everything (with Missy Elliott’s voice) makes it all cool again.


In the buildup to this year’s Tide game ad, “Stranger Things” star David Harbour hinted to last year’s spokesperson, Terry Bradshaw, that he was taking over. He did, and successfully, suggesting that any commercial with clean clothes is technically a Tide ad. The gimmick came up in shorter ads later — one with Isaiah Mustafa re-creating his Old Spice ad.

Tourism Australia

Of all the commercials touting upcoming films, the best was not for a real film. Chris Hemsworth fools Danny McBride into thinking he’s going to star as the son of “Crocodile” Dundee as they show off the best of Australia. The original Dundee, actor Paul Hogan, appears in the commercial. You can find a longer version that truly looks like a movie promo online, starring several Australian actors, including Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Ruby Rose.


In this clever spot, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is assured his company has found worthy replacements for Alexa when she loses her voice. But Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Hopkins don’t exactly fill the order.

The worst

Ram Trucks

Ram should have stuck with Vikings in its commercials. A more serious ad, meant to explain how Ram truck owners believe in a life of serving others, faced backlash on social media almost right after it aired. The spot uses Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Drum Major Instinct” sermon from Feb. 4, 1968. As Dr. King explains the importance of service, viewers see images of people helping people and other feel-good moments — as well as a Ram Truck moving through the rain. Much of the Twitterati found it tone-deaf — to use the kindest term out there.

The rest


T-Mobile showed support for the women’s empowerment movement (or jumped on the bandwagon?) in this spot featuring a bunch of cute babies as a woman welcomed them into the world and gave them their first pep talk. She told them, “Some people may see your differences and be threatened by them, but you are unstoppable.” She also said because they have open minds and know we are equal, when they grow up they can love who they want and expect fair and equal pay. “Change starts now,” she said, and that we’re all connected. That would be the only part of the ad about phone service.


Who else but Danny DeVito could play the signature red M&M character when a lucky penny turns him human? Perfect casting; funny ad.

Universal Studios

You just knew someone would snap up Peyton Manning for their commercial. Universal Studios makes the two-time Super Bowl champ its “Vacation Quarterback” as he experiences one of the studio’s theme parks. He’s upstaged by Megatron, who says, “The sight of you sickens me.”


Is this an ad for the Lexus LS 500 F Sport or for the upcoming “Black Panther” film? Does it really matter? Chadwick Boseman, star of Marvel Studio’s upcoming movie, promotes both in this action-packed, stunt-heavy spot.

Amazon Prime Video

Speaking of action, Amazon’s streaming service, Prime Video, blows up some stuff in its very first Super Bowl ad — for “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” Sadly the series, starring John Krasinski (“The Office”), doesn’t drop until August.


Keanu Reeves surfs atop a motorcycle while singing Will Power’s “Adventures in Success” in this ad for the website-building service. If you think this is trippy, follow Reeves as he builds a website for his company Arch Motorcycle at Squarespace’s YouTube page.


“Girls Trip” actress and Groupon fan Tiffany Haddish shows her support for the company — and local businesses — in this spot that shows what could happen to people who don’t agree.


Forget the Clydesdales. Budweiser is touting its good works this year, namely providing water to parts of the U.S. impacted by natural disasters in the past year: Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California. Skylar Grey sings a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” in the ad. But the Clydesdales won’t be completely missing, AdWeek reports. Budweiser will show a five-second bumper ad during the broadcast referring viewers to a “Clydesdale Cam” on its Facebook page.

Stella Artois

Like Budweiser, Stella Artois is focusing on its charitable work. Water.org co-founder and actor Matt Damon promotes the partnership between his nonprofit organization and the beer company that provides safe drinking water to developing countries.

Avocados from Mexico

Chris Elliott headlines this ad, but he doesn’t do the heavy lifting. Instead, the rioting residents of the bubble dome steal the show.

Michelob Ultra

Chris Pratt, Brooks Koepka, Kelly Slater and Shalane Flanagan sing “I Like Beer” in Michelob Ultra’s ad that doesn’t quite live up to Pratt’s spots leading up to it.


Pringles is banking on the popularity of Bill Hader, who discovers you can stack flavored Pringles to create different taste combinations. Wow, there’s not a lot of dialogue in this one.


The beverage company’s latest ad is pure nostalgia, featuring several generations of Pepsi packaging and spokespeople such as Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, Jeff Gordon and Michael Jackson.


Anther feel-good ad that promotes diversity, unity and inclusion.

Bud Light

Bud Light continues its recent battle ad campaign — and channels a little “Game of Thrones” with its flying dragon. But the Bud Knight is no Mother of Dragons.


Whether WeatherTech meant to promote the president’s plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border or not, the imagery of a new WeatherTech factory being built — with emphasis on the outer walls — did just that. It was supposed to promote the building of factories in the U.S. We still aren’t sure what WeatherTech does after watching it.


Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler races the new Kia Stinger backwards so quickly he turns back time and becomes his younger, CGI’d self.


Something stinks about this unimaginative, one-joke Febreze ad.

Find more from Curt Wagner at tvshowpatrol.com