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Super Bowl ads violent, sexist, and ageist – again

This year, I was only able to watch the first half of the 44th Super Bowl.

IMG_9684_2 Once again, the ads were a disappointment. It makes you wonder what companies and their advertising firms think the intellectual level of American consumers is.

An average 30-second spot on the Super Bowl costs $2.5 million. An esimated 106 million watched the game, making it the most watched program in TV history.

Here are my picks for the worst ads:

Unnecessary violence. A four-way tie: Snickers, in which Betty White and an older man are tackled in a game of football and slammed into the mud; Focus on the Family, in which Tim Tebow tackles his mother Pam; Doritos, in which a dog puts a choke collar on a human, who lies writhing on the ground; and Bud Light, in which people form a human bridge and a Bud truck is driven over them.

Add to these gems the violent movie and TV ads flashing up scenes of fire, bloody faces, wolf man curses, cars blowing up, and a haunted prison.

Silliest. Bud Light, in which a house is made out of Bud Light cans, Bud drinkers have computer-like voices, and plane wreck survivors are more interest in drinking Bud Light than getting rescued. A runner up is the Dockers ad with men wearing no pants.

Most sexist. It was hard to pick a winner here, there were so many., in which a young, shapely woman giving the Godaddy girl a massage wants to be a Godaddy girl; Dodge Charger, in which a guy agrees to do everything his female partner wants, but his last stand is his car; and FloTV, in which a spineless man has to shop with his wife instead of watching the game.

I did like one ad, the CBS ad for the "Late Show with David Letterman." It featured Letterman, Oprah, and… Jay Leno.

Here are other opinions on this year’s Super Bowl ads:

“Super Bowl Sexism, by the Numbers” – The Huffington Post

“Top Super Bowl Commercials 2010? Nope. Here Are the Five Worst” – The Christian Science Monitor

“Why Super Bowl Ads Are So Sexist, Racist, and Homophobic” – Washington City Paper

“Super Bowl Ads: Men Without Pants” – CNN Money

Click here to see the Super Bowl ads and vote on the ones you like and don’t like.

Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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Thanks for offering a nuanced, critical view of the ads. I don't follow sports and didn't see these, but all I can hear is glowing reports about these commercials.


Hi Rhea,

Thanks for your comment.

I also don't follow sports, but I think it's important to write about these ads from the consumer point of view because they get so much attention.

Now I'm seeing the Academy Award nominated movies to I can write about them. I'm watching violent movies, which I don't like at all.


Phil McMillan

Come on Rita, violence in the ads? These were all comedy spots that any child would recognize as fake but funny. Tim Tebow did not really tackle his mother. Betty White was not really tackled. People know when something is staged to get a laugh. You and I can have different opinions on these ads but let's stay in the real world. Hey... you're not one of those feminists, are you?



Hi Phil,

I'm reading more and more articles on how the Super Bowl ads missed the mark.

Business Week's "Super Bowl Ads Need to Age Gracefully" pointed out that the ads were aimed at younger generation males who like beer, cars, and girls. Boomers, who have big earning power, were ignored or made fun of. See

The Boomer Project's newsletter called Jumpin' Jack Flash contained a scathing article "Super Bowl Follies" that said the ads were terrible.


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