T-Mobile Super Bowl 2019 ad goes for your stomach with vow of free tacos

The company's trying to win you over by partnering with Taco Bell for free food. Later, another ad promises a free Lyft ride.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor 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." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Most Super Bowl ads go for viewers' eyeballs, and sometimes appeal to their hearts. This Super Bowl, T-Mobile decided to go for viewers' stomachs. The telecommunications company announced that its customers can go to Taco Bell once a week and get a free taco, courtesy of T-Mobile.

T-Mobile aired a number of ads showing humorous text exchanges. In one, a texter hesitates to express a meal preference (one wants tacos, one wants sushi), and the free taco deal is revealed. For the foreseeable future, qualifying T-Mobile customers can redeem the offer via the app and Taco Bell's website, and then pick up the free crunchy or soft seasoned beef taco at a nearby Taco Bell.

Some taco fans were ready to eat. "Legit the best commercial I've seen so far on the #SuperBowlLlll," tweeted one person.

But not everyone was gobbling up the ad. "You paid $5.2 million on a Super Bowl commercial for that?" snarked one Twitter user.

That wasn't the end of the freebies. A third-quarter ad showing a misunderstood message from a Lyft driver revealed that T-Mobile users can redeem a $10 Lyft ride credit, beginning Tuesday using the T-Mobile Tuesdays App.

One of T-Mobile's competitors went the humor-meets-celebrity route. In a Sprint ad released before the game, multi-sport star Bo Jackson showed up holding a mermaid clutching a keytar with a "bird horse" flapping over his shoulder, promoting the idea that Sprint delivers the "best of both worlds."

First published Feb. 3, 5 p.m. PT. 
Update, 5:56 p.m: Adds free Lyft credit offer.