Here are the five worst Super Bowl ads as ranked by Sports Illustrated’s SUPER BOWL GOLD: 50 Years of The Big Game.
Groupon, Super Bowl XLV
The ad began as if it would be a plea from actor Timothy Hutton on behalf of the people of Tibet, but switched to show Hutton in a Tibetan restaurant, getting a good deal on his meal because of Groupon. Tasteless.
Free to Pee, Super Bowl XLVI
In “Free to Pee,” a young boy ran about searching for a place to relieve himself, and found one in a swimming pool. It didn’t cost him anything—just like TaxACT’s federal return filing software! People said “Ewwww!” and moved on.
Hulk, Super Bowl XXXVII
Five months before the Ang Lee movie was released by Universal, in 2003, this ad actually damped anticipation, because the trailer showed the big green title character with special effects that were not in a finished state.
Nationwide, Super Bowl XLIX
The ad started with a mop-topped youngster mooning about beautiful moments in life he’d never experience. Then we got the big reveal—the boy was dead. There’s a time to talk about preventable fatal accidents, but this wasn’t it.
Lemmings, Super Bowl XIX
One year after its much-celebrated 1984 ad, Apple returned with a film-like spot showing blindfolded businesspeople going over a cliff until one is saved, miraculously, by becoming aware of Macintosh Office software. Obtuse.
SUPER BOWL GOLD: 50 Years of The Big Game was published by Sports Illustrated Books, an imprint of Time Inc. Books. Copyright 2015 Time Inc. Used by permission.