The five best Super Bowl commercials, recapped

Mic drop.
Mic drop.
Image: PepsiCo
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The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the only ones flying after their Super Bowl victory. Five Super Bowl commercials soared above the flock of advertising, according to the USA Today Ad Meter, which asks fans to rate the national ads on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest.

Here are the big winners of Super Bowl 52:


Amazon’s 90-second spot for Alexa, featuring disastrous attempts by stars like Cardi B, Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, and Anthony Hopkins to step in for the virtual assistant, was the highest-rated ad among fans who voted on USA Today. As more competitors encroach on the smart-speaker market, the tech giant humorously made a case for why Alexa is irreplaceable.

The ad, released online four days before the game, also earned the most online views across Facebook, YouTube, and leading up to and throughout the game, the ad-tracking firm iSpot.TV found.


After a season plagued by controversies about head injuries and also around players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, the NFL opted for a little humor in its commercials.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and the Giants offensive line performed a heartfelt rendition on “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing. A series of seemingly nonsensical vignettes that showed the quarterback discussing games like Patty Cake and Thumb War with his offensive line preceded the main spot, which aired in the fourth quarter. It turned out Manning had been working on his choreography all along.


A sentimental Budweiser commercial that portrayed how the brand’s employees delivered clean water to victims of last year’s natural disasters was the third top-rated ad. The beer brand won with a cause that was close to its company and showed action on top of nice words, and a moving rendition of “Stand By Me” by artist Skylar Gray.

Doritos vs. Mountain Dew

Doritos and Mountain Dew both won when parent company PepsiCo pitted the sister brands against one another in an epic lip-sync battle. Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage represented Doritos with rapper Busta Rhymes in his corner, and Morgan Freeman paired with Missy Elliot on team Mountain Dew. The performances aired in the second quarter and made for the fourth highest-rated commercial.

It was also one of the top performing ads online during the game, capturing the largest share of activity including earned video views and social media impressions of all the Super Bowl commercials, according to


Toyota opened the game with a touching commercial that told the real-life story of Alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft and the odds she overcame to become a Paralympic gold medalist. Set to the song “Stronger Than I’ve Ever Been” by Kaleena Zanders, the commercial depicts Woolstencroft as a baby, a young girl, and then a grown woman refusing to stay down each time she took a fall. It was tied to the carmaker’s sponsorship of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which kick off Feb. 9 and March 8 respectively in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Quartz’s pick: Tide

Tide wasn’t one of the highest-rated ads by USA Today’s audience. But the detergent brand owned the Super Bowl with a series of spots that played on well-known campaigns from fellow P&G brands like Old Spice and Mr. Clean, as well as others like auto and beer brands. The commercials, featuring Stranger Things actor David Harbour, made smart use of the brand’s 90-second media buy to connect with audiences throughout the game. There were four spots—one for each quarter. And they kept viewers wondering whether every commercial that aired was just “another Tide ad,” as the campaign said. That makes it Quartz’s pick for honorable mention.