Five Questionable Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl ads: From cars to beer disappointment prevails.

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It turns out former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to put on short-shorts and a blond wig for Bud Light was not the only questionable ad campaign featured Sunday night. Here are some other Super Bowl commercials that may have generated furrowed eye brows: 

[READ: Oxfam, Scarlett Johansson Cut Ties Over SodaStream Partnership]

SodaStream


So this is what Scarlett Johansson gave up her Oxfam ambassadorship for? Controversy was already surrounding Johansson’s Super Bowl campaign for the carbonated beverage company SodaStream when it posted a "banned” version of the ad last week (seen here). What got it censored turned out to be pretty silly -- she ends the commercial with a slight towards Pepsi and Coke, a line the NFL objected to, with Pepsi’s sponsorship of the halftime show -- and it felt, dare we say it, a little manufactured.

But all the fuss about the ad took a more serious turn when Johansson was forced to end her eight-year relationship with Oxfam over the endorsement deal, as SodaStream, an Israeli company operates a factory in the West Bank. Her decision to do so was likely more complicated than a greedy celebrity choosing money over charity. But didn’t make her opening line -- “Like most actors my real job is saving the world" -- sting any less, considering the circumstances.

Maserati

Oh look. It’s that cute little girl from “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Oh and I see, she’s kind of doing the same see-the-world-from-my-point-of-view thing here. And look at all that natural beauty! And that cityscape! Ah, and this is a underdog story, with the steel worker and the ballet dancer, right? Wait, hold on.
“We wait until they get sleepy. we wait until they get so big they can barely move,” she says. 
Is this a China thing here? Is she talking about China?
“And strike!”
Wait, what? Who’s striking what? Oh. It’s a car commercial. Of course it’s a car commercial. But Quvenzhané Wallis is like 10 years old. She won’t know how to drive for another half a decade. Lame commercial, Maserati. We thought you were too fancy for this.

[ALSO: Super Bowl Budweiser, SodaStream Ads Make It to the Web Ahead of the Big Game]

Scientology

Scientology has aired a commercial in the Super Bowl before. But that didn’t make seeing last night’s spot feel any less weird. A commercial about any religion, anytime will always feel out of place. To see that Scientology -- a secretive religion reported to charge members huge fees for its services -- shell out for some Super Bowl time increases that effect exponentially.

Axe

The men’s body spray took a break from its usual brand of frat boy style humor to wade into geopolitical crises. What could go wrong? The sentiment -- make love, not war -- is obviously a nice one, and some of the vignettes work. But the Kim Jung Un reference feels a little misguided, considering the ex-girlfriend of the real North Korean leader was reportedly executed. And the Middle East dictator romancing his wife was a reminder of that lovely Vogue profile the wife of Syrian leader Bashar Assad got before the country blew up unto an ugly civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.

[MOREFrom Action Star to Governor to Super Bowl Salesman]

Chrysler

On the week singer Pete Seeger -- a champion of progressive causes -- died, his folk brethren Bob Dylan, once the king of the counter culture, could be seen shilling it out for the Man in this Chrysler commercial. This commercial however isn’t Dylan’s first: he has appeared in ads for Victoria's Secret, Apple, and even a rival car company. His music was even used in another commercial during this year’s Super Bowl. The Chrysler spot opens with a scene reminiscent of Dylan’s performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, where he shocked audiences by “going electric” (Seeger reportedly tried to take an ax to the power cable). This commercial felt like a similar betrayal.