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The 15 Commercials of March Madness, Ranked

By / 03.25.13

A major reason, we think, why your brain has turned Marshall Henderson is the mind-numbing repetition of the commercials shown on CBS, the Turner channels, and March Madness.com. You can probably name them off-the-head right now—the Baldwin/Barkley Capital One, the new All State Mayhem bit, the Bud Light blind date. Each was seen approximately 784 times by the casual tournament watcher. 

So: Which ones were the funniest? By Sunday, which ones did you absolutely fucking hate? And which ones showed a bizarre rewatchability? Ranking time!

(NOTE: These are not the official names of the ads. We did not bother to Google the actual names.)

15. “PEPPERONI OH HOW I LOVE YA,” Subway

Reggie Noble: I spent two weeks in Italy this fall and loved every minute of it. This commercial appeals to cultured motheruckers like myself. Ciao Bella!
Andy Moore: DIE.
Lance Pauker: Andy’s hatred of this actually makes me like it. Subway has definitely gone down in quality, though. Watch as they slowly creep $6 foot-longs on us, acting like it’s a better deal. Any day now.

14. “Some Nights,” Southwest Airlines

RN: Are we having Fun. yet? No. Not anymore. The song is so jarring it’s impossible to ignore.
LP: Not good. Fun.’s song has made it so you don’t know what the commercial is about (I had no idea until about 5 minutes ago), and the ad constantly made me think of this jarred pickle store I sometimes pass on the way to work. Don’t think that was the intention.
AM: If you change the song from “Some Nights” to the theme from “Requiem for a Dream,” this commercial becomes evil, brilliant, and actually watchable. Via Danger Guerrero:

13. “Keep Moving,” Blackberry

RN: This one is an abomination. It feels like aliens poking things up my anus when it airs. And I am NOT into that.
LP: Every person I watched this with (my roommates, my brother, my dad), decided to use this commercial as an excuse to talk about how important they all were with their Blackberry work phones. I proceeded to retreat into a prolonged period of silence and self-doubt.
AM: At this rate, I’m surprised Blackberry’s commercials aren’t put together by a high-school yearbook class. (They're not doing so hot.)

12. “Expanded Field,” Buffalo Wild Wings

RN: I have no actual thoughts on this commercial but on Saturday night I was at a bar that had buffalo wings. The waitress told me the flavors were: mild, medium, hot, abusive, nuclear, and suicidal. Christ, that’s aggressive.
LP: Nothing screams the American Dream like a night out at Buffalo Wild Wings with your one friend who is an accountant, another who is in chiropractic school, and another who you see like twice a year because you have no idea what he does but you do know he has a very strange-smelling car. What we live for, folks. 
AM: Buffalo Wild Wings continues to show a completely fucked-up idea of what sports fans want. No one wants the legitimacy of a football game ruined by a ref tripping the player. No one wants 15 overtimes. No one wants a 200-team NCAA Tournament field. These commercials are baffling. No one agrees with them.

11. “Bleacher Banter,” Capital One

RN: Alec Baldwin has the audacity to ask Sir Charles for some shirt mustard and then judges him? Even in a commercial this guy is a dick. Some points should be awarded, however, for using a black actor and not making him dance. Extremely rare.
LP: I don’t have much to contribute here. Ever since that Hulu commercial, I’ve been somewhat convinced that there is an alien living inside Alec Baldwin, who is primed to shed his human skin at any time. Also, he was a real dick in “The Departed.”
AM: Such a blown opportunity here: The funniest commentator in the game matched up with Sir Alec… and all you got were lame jokes about made-up schools, Barkley bathroom humor, and Baldwin being an ass? Fail.

10. “Cat Sweater,” Hanes

AM: Combines two of advertising’s most timeless tropes—animals and Michael Jordan—into a forgettable 30 seconds.

9. “Sliders,” Pizza Hut

RN: When this one hits your eye like a big pizza pie slider, you plead for more, eh?
LP: If you are in college, you should be very happy about this. And if you’re being honest with yourself, you will be spending A LOT more drunken nights with this wonderful, wonderful creation than you will with a female. Wear that badge with pride
AM: First the $10 box, now the sliders? Pizza Hut, you dogs. Take all my drunk money.

8. “Wow,” Doritos

LP: They got rid of my boy Victor Rasuk aka Cam Calderon. Fuck this.
AM: Did Taco Bell really need to advertise these tacos? Every blog in the country has written about the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos tacos at this point. Plus, stoners know when a fast-food restaurant has developed a must-have product. It’s a sixth-sense.

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7. “Sonic Guys,” Sonic

RN: The Sonic guys are two of Chicago’s top improv comics. The state of Chicago improv is clearly in disarray.
LP: They're the Simpsons of fast food personalities. They’re timeless, they’ll be around forever, and the younger generation will never appreciate their pinnacle.
AM: Nearing Chick-fil-A Cow overexposure, which is still better than Chick fil A's other recent overexposure.

6. “Blind Date,” Bud Light

RN: Wow. I must have sent 100 tweets about this one over the long weekend. This is, by far, the most polarizing one. I think it’s a very well-written plug for watered-down beer. But HOLY SHIT I can’t watch it even one more time or I’ll explode.
LP: I am not married, nor do I plan on getting married anytime soon. But if/when that arrangement occurs, this commercial further confirmed that your significant others friends, when out together, are among the worst manifestations of humankind.
AM: By Friday, I could recite this commercial in its entirety. By Sunday, I somehow wasn’t tired of it. I’ve waffled between thinking the “Here’s to you not having a mustache” guy is a d-bag and thinking he’s a smooth dude. I’ve changed my mind 20 times on the hotness of the short-haired chick. I’ve wondered if I, too, would join a friend at a bar for his OKCupid date. I don’t think I would. But then again, I’m not sure. This commercial is an enigma wrapped inside a mystery. Like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” I will never understand it.

5. “Can I Get a Hot Tub?” State Farm

RN: I like this one because it makes a subtle religion joke and challenges me to decide if that blond kid is the oldest son from “Weeds.”
LP: No way have I been randomly blurting out “And can I get a hot tub?” for the past year. One of the greatest commercials of all-time. A five-tool player. 
AM: Points deducted for being three years old.

4. “Made You Look,” Powerade

RN: Kids overcoming obstacles and going confidently in the direction of their dreams? Can’t hate that.
LP: I too, overcome all my obstacles by watching commercials on television.
AM: This commercial inspired me to do 25 pushups during the middle of the day on Saturday. I then returned to the couch. Myy roommate never questioned why I had just gotten up to do pushups.

3. “Focus Group,” AT&T

RN: He inspires kids to be confident. A lot of feel-goodery.
LP: Never forced, plays within itself (the same cannot be said of many a tournament player), and gets the job done. A decent laugh every time. What you want out of a commercial.
AM: Not surprisingly, these are mainly unscripted. No adult could come up with lines as funny as the kids have. Kudos to the moderator for being able to keep a straight face and, essentially, screw with children in an advertising campaign. Constant entertainment.

2. “Mayham,” Allstate

RN: Any excuse to hang out with Dennis Duffy is a good one.
LP: Watching this with my brother on Saturday, he made some offhand comment about how his roommate’s friend was Duffy for Halloween, and that he was “kind of funny.” This did wonders in proving my long-standing theory that people should have a maximum amount of “fun facts” they are allowed to share over the course of a game.
AM: How much money is Dean Winters making off these ads? I hope it’s a lot. I hope it’s more than Flo. He’s owned this campaign.

1. “It's Not Your Fault,” Coke Zero

LP: I’m sure “Archer” is great, but my college roommate ruined for me by getting too excited about it, and by wearing a bathrobe in our common room.
AM: “Archer” is the most consistently funny show on TV right now. Hearing H. Jon Benjamin’s voice every 15 minutes has been an absolute joy.

(One more note: Yes, we forgot about the Miller Light “I'm in a Band” commercial. Feel free to slot it in at No. 8.)


TAGSAdvertisingCollege BasketballCommercialsMarch MadnessNCAA Tournament
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