Best Super Bowl 2019 commercials ranked: Xbox, Avengers, Game of Thrones and more

A Star Wars star goes to the dogs for Amazon, Tony Romo wears Skechers, and Chance the Rapper and a boy band do Doritos.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Mark Serrels Editorial Director
Mark Serrels is an award-winning Senior Editorial Director focused on all things culture. He covers TV, movies, anime, video games and whatever weird things are happening on the internet. He especially likes to write about the hardships of being a parent in the age of memes, Minecraft and Fortnite. Definitely don't follow him on Twitter.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
Mark Serrels
6 min read

Now that the Super Bowl ads are out in the wild, it's time to do what human beings do best: rank things in an orderly fashion.

On Sunday night, the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII. You could watch highlights of the game, or you could join us in ranking the ads. Which is weird, pointless and perfectly representative of what it means to be a human being in the year 2019. But it's also fun. And look -- there were some good ones. 

Actually, one really, really good one that might have been the highlight of the whole Super Bowl.

There was a pretty good crop of commercials this year. Here, in order of what we thought ruled, are some of the best Super Bowl ads, starting with that one with kids playing the Xbox.

1. Microsoft: 'We all win'

Regular gaming controllers don't always work for children with disabilities. That's where Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller comes in. "I never thought it was unfair," one young gamer says in the company's ad. "I just thought, 'Hey, this is the way it is and it's not going to change.'"

Ads aren't supposed to make people cry.

2. The Batmobile swings by Walmart 

Classic movie cars like the Back to the Future DeLorean, the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters and Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine rush to Walmart to pick up groceries in the company's commercial. Reads the tagline: "Order groceries online. Pickup for free. No matter what you drive." 

3. The Mountain destroys the Bud Knight

I cannot believe the marketing execs over at Budweiser allowed the CANON BUD KNIGHT to be destroyed by The Mountain from Game of Thrones. This is sacrilege. This will not stand.

4. Washington Post thanks journalists

Yes, that was Tom Hanks' measured, familiar voice getting all Ken Burns-ified in a Washington Post ad for that highlighted the role of journalism, and honored those who'd risked or given their life for it, such as slain Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The ad sparked some controversy -- from Donald Trump Jr., for one, and Post journalists who say the paper could've found a better use for its money. But even though "Democracy Dies in Darkness" is still an eye-roller of alliteration, this is a well-done ad. 

5. 2 Chainz won't keep his receipts

Do rappers really have to photograph receipts for the bling they buy? Adam Scott tries to get 2 Chainz to save paper receipts for his seafood towers and sports car made of ice, but the rapper has Expensify for that. You can also watch the whole video, which features a gold toilet.

They made a song for this.

6. Amazon drafts astronauts, Harrison Ford

Alexa , the voice of Amazon's Echo, can do many things, but as seen in this ad, perhaps she shouldn't allow Harrison Ford's dog to order its own food, or connect podcasts to Forest Whitaker's electric toothbrush.

If an ad has Harrison Ford, you know it's a big deal.

7. Alexa wants a Pringle

Two guys are stacking different varieties of Pringles to make unusual flavor combinations, but their Alexa smart device wants in on the fun. Sometimes, it can be sad to be a robot. 

We selected this, purely for the Funky Town bit. Inspired.

8. Bublé vs Bubly

Singer Michael Bublé is apparently irritated that the flavored water Bubly almost, but not quite, has copied his name. In this clip, he's caught in a convenience store marking up the cans.

Sorry, I just can't resist Bublé and his overwhelming charisma.

9. Hyundai's hellish elevator

Hyundai's commercial has actor Jason Bateman as the manager of a elevator to all kinds of horrible situations, including jury duty, car shopping and sitting in the middle seat of a plane next to a sick passenger. The latter highlights Hyundai's Shopper Assurance program.

One of those ads that's just... actually funny?

10. Backstreet Boys meet Chance the Rapper

In two short teasers for a Doritos ad, 1990s boy-banders The Backstreet Boys seem to be auditioning Chance the Rapper for a role in their band, but he's just not getting that patented Backstreet choreography down.

11. Pepsi gets defensive

Pepsi plays off the fact that people wanting a cola tend to ask for their rival, Coke, and are often asked by the servers if a Pepsi is OK. Overhearing this exchange, Steve Carell defends the drink, and gets a little help from Lil Jon and Cardi B. Really, Pepsi is missing out if they don't find a way to sell that sequined can.

Fun to watch absolutely everyone selling out hard.

12. Buffy fights bad skin

Olay created a mini horror movie, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Sarah Michelle Gellar and a creepy masked stalker. He doesn't know what he's up against, taking on the legendary Slayer.

Neat idea.

13. The Avengers get ready for the end game

Marvel gave us a quick glimpse of the devastating aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War -- and the determination of the surviving superheroes to set things right. "Some people move on," the voiceover intones, "but not us."

The teaser trailer ad leaves off with a reminder that Avengers: Endgame is coming in April. Rally the troops.

14. Audi reconnects man with his grandpa

Audi's E-Tron commercial seems to reunite a man with his grandfather in an automobile-centered vision of heaven, before a swift Heimlich maneuver apparently saves the man's life, sending him back to his office life.

15. Tony Romo takes it easy in Skechers

The former Dallas Cowboys QB demonstrates a number of lazy-man items that make his life easy. He's selling slip-on Skechers shoes, but the funnier ones involve a golf hole so big a small car could fit in it, and an elaborate way of exercising his dog.

16. Budweiser feels the wind

Few companies have as many memorable Super Bowl ads as Budweiser. This year, the company is hyping its use of wind power, thanks to Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind and a Dalmatian whose ears fly in the breeze as the famous Clydesdales trot past a field dotted with wind turbines.

This ad has a dog in it. A good dog.

17. Mercedes-Benz aims high 

In Mercedes-Benz's ad for the A-Class, a random guy gets godlike powers that force the world, and its people and animals, to do his bidding. It's a great commercial, but we have serious concerns about what happens to Free Willy and Ludacris.

18. Sad Michelob robot

In another Michelob ad, a buff robot shows how it can blow all the puny humans away in running, boxing and golf, then is sad when it realizes even all the workouts in the world won't allow it to enjoy a beer. This is why Skynet is inevitable.

19. Sprint taps double threat Bo Jackson

Super-athlete Bo Jackson meets a mermaid and a horse with wings in Sprint's Super Bowl 2019 ad titled "Best of Both Worlds." Paul Marcarelli, the Sprint spokesman formerly known as the Verizon spokesman, also appears in the 30-second spot, as do a few cute robots. 

This is at the bottom because I hate ads that make the celebrity read the bit that says, "why don't you just tell them the company's message" and that's supposed to be the joke.

20. The Dude returns for Stella Artois

It seems like The Dude (Jeff Bridges) from The Big Lebowski, with his love for bowling and White Russians, would roll his eyes at rich Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) from Sex and the City. But in commercials, anything can happen. In an ad for Stella Artois beer, Parker decides to order a Stella instead of her traditional cosmo, and Bridges' Dude rejects his beloved White Russian for a beer as well. 

This ad is bad. It's a bad idea. And I'm upset Jeff Bridges did this.

Disclosure: The Super Bowl aired on CBS, the broadcast arm of CNET's parent company. 

This post first published on Jan. 25 and was updated as new ads debuted. 

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