clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 5 Super Bowl commercials that made us feel sad about life

Nationwide's "Make Safe Happen" commercial
Nationwide's "Make Safe Happen" commercial
Nationwide Insurance

Millions of people watched Super Bowl and spent three and a half hours of their lives glued to the television. And in that time, they saw about 11 minutes of actual football being played.

The rest of that time is largely spent watching commercials where the latest cars, movies, television shows, glue and candy bars are being tarted up and made tantalizing.

Usually, brands want to make what whatever they're selling appealing. That's the basic tenet of advertising. So you see things like infants talking on webcams about trading, Beyoncé drinking Pepsi and dancing with past Beyoncés, majestic cars that go fast and attract women — this is what Americans want.

But something funny happened this year, as a few companies decided they wanted to remind you of your (or in some cases your child or future child's) inevitable mortality.

Literally, YOLO.

Nationwide: Buy this insurance because kids die

Let's be clear, insurance commercials are the Eeyores of the Super Bowl. It's hard to make insurance fun. Beer? No sweat. Vacations? Easy. Cars? Cake. But selling something that you buy in case something bad happens? That's not very fun.

And clearly someone at Nationwide thought it best to really lean into that idea. What's worse than something bad happening like a car accident or your house burning down? Oh, right — children dying.

Dodge: Listen to these old people, because they are going to die soon

For this ad, Dodge found some people who are one hundred years old (or around there) to tell you about their experience on this planet. It's adorable … until you start to realize that this commercial kinda sounds like grandma's last words.

Nissan: Buy this car because you might be/have had a bad father

This commercial seems like it's about the joy of fatherhood. But then it goes for a macabre turn in that the father is too busy racing (and almost crashing and dying) to see his son grow up. "Dads, hug your sons that you weren't there for. And sons, hug your dads — they'll probably die sometime," — Nissan.

Microsoft: Get ready to be sad about kids again

Nationwide wanted to remind us that kids die. And Nissan wanted to remind us that we aren't there for kids. Microsoft went a different route with kids.

The company wanted to show us what technology can do, and we learn, through the story of a young boy named Braylon O'Neill, the importance of prosthetics in young children. This one isn't as nihilistic as the others on this list, but it's still delivers on making you feel a bit sad.

Bud Light: the highlight of your sad life will be a Bud-Light

Clearly, this commercial is the saddest one of the bunch. In it, a man (an everyman really) is promised by Bud Light that he is about to have the night of his life. That night is playing human Pac-Man and, as a reward, a Bud Light. Might as well go die now.