God offers a Big Mac
Photo credit: Illustration by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from Michelangelo / Wikimedia and Kici / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.1 JP DEED).

There seems to be a correlation between unhealthy diet, dismissal of science, belief in wacky theories, and susceptibility to manipulation.

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I’ve now waited a full month for an authoritative assessment of that annual indicator of the needs and obsessions of the American public: Super Bowl ads. In the absence of something truly objective, I am going to offer my own insights, based on how USA Today (“America’s Paper”) reported the matter. 

The raw data comes from more than 160,000 genuine American consumers who registered to vote… in the 36th USA Today Ad Meter competition, which ranks the Super Bowl commercials each year.

People are understandably most impressed by the humor and entertainment value of State Farm’s “Like a Good Neighbaaa” ad (#1) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito — while not actually thinking about whether State Farm is still like a good neighbor when you try to file a claim. 

I was also struck by the implied diet of the average American, what with Dunkin’ (#2), Budweiser (#8), Doritos (#10), Hellmann’s mayonnaise (#12), Bud Light (#19 — as if regular Bud isn’t “light” enough — ask a European!), lagged by Michelob Ultra (#20), Reese’s (only #23 — “aw, nuts!”), Mountain Dew (#24 — do they actually have enough adherents to warrant a $7 million ad and does anyone remember Fresca?), M&M’s (#25 — “melts in your ad budget, not in your mouth”), Popeyes Fried Chicken (tied for #27, while the “real” Popeye the Sailor’s healthy can o’spinach is nowhere to be found), Pringles (tied for #30), Coors Light (#32 — the Lights kinda laying it on heavy), Oreo cookies (#33), and on and on. 

I did wonder why there were no ads for “America’s Dentists” or Weight Watchers. Or funeral homes (they make tons of money), because that food will kill you sooner rather than later. Also why “America’s Blueberry Farmers” couldn’t get $7 mil together.   

When the ads weren’t hawking junk food, they were pitching entertainment, and tech, and all those huge vehicles we mostly don’t exactly need, and those beautiful landscapes we’re so busy destroying. 

Fortunately, there wasn’t just stuff that isn’t good for you and stuff you don’t need, there was some balm for the soul. 

Of course, to many, football itself is next to godliness. 

Thus, I was impressed to see Jesus advertising (“He Gets Us” — now if only we came close to getting Him!), but disappointed that the Son of God didn’t have more pull — or more creative acumen — coming in 44th and 55th (he ran TWO different ads!) 

Still, he’s got plenty of influence in Washington. As one reader savvily remarked

If Jesus can afford to buy Super Bowl commercials, he can afford to pay taxes.

And sorry to dent the halo, but according to CNN, “Some of the campaign’s major donors, and its holding company, have ties to conservative political aims and far-right ideologies that appear at odds with the campaign’s inclusive messaging.”

RFK Jr.’s fans presented him as the Second Coming of his uncle, JFK, but it didn’t impress USA Today, ranking #59 (by comparison, Opposing Antisemitism did much better, ranking #18.)

Meanwhile, although USA Today claimed to list “all the 2024 commercials, ranked by their Ad Meter score,” and although it seemingly doesn’t discriminate against religion, it didn’t mention Hallow, a Catholic app (ancient superstitions made easy!).

Also, there was no mention of Scientology, which apparently spent $14 million to keep recruiting people to give it more money so it could recruit more people to give more… Mighty curious! Scientologists, investigate! And grill USA Today on an E-meter

Speaking of strange credos, there seems to be a correlation between unhealthy diet, belief in the existence of unprovable supreme beings, dismissal of science, willingness to be manipulated, intolerance, and wacky theories. Which gets us back to the Super Bowl, and Joe Biden’s nefarious psy-op fronted by Taylor Swift. Surprised I didn’t see an ad exposing that! 


  • Russ Baker

    Russ Baker is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in exploring power dynamics behind major events.

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