4 Great Ads, and One Terrible One, From the Golden Globes

There weren't as many upsets in the commercials breaks

The Golden Globe Awards telecast on Sunday was pretty fun and compelling, thanks to a number of upset victories as well as several very good speeches from the winners. But how did the commercials do?

There were fewer surprises there, as major advertisers Walmart, Pepsi and Geico all delivered entertaining work. HBO also placed a well-timed 2019 preview on the telecast. But there were some cringe-worthy offerings, too. 

See below for the spots you shouldn't have missed—and one you hopefully did. 

Walmart | Famous Cars

Walmart has been involved with the Hollywood award shows for a number of years, often engaging with studios and their talent for interesting work. This year's spot, "Famous Cars," was a crowd-pleaser—a playful and energetic production showing well-known vehicles from the movies picking up groceries ordered online. 

Car & Driver has a fun overview of all the vehicles, which included the Batmobile, the Ecto-1 Cadillac from the original Ghostbusters, the Mutt Cutts Van from Dumb and Dumber and more. There was also a cameo (or rather, an Easter egg) by Sam Walton's Ford F-150. 

Walmart | Famous Cars

"We not only picked 'famous cars' from iconic movies we knew would be instantly recognizable to our customers—and launched the campaign during one of the film industry's most popular awards shows—but we also worked with a variety of different Hollywood studios to gain access to these vehicles," Walmart CMO Barbara Messing wrote in a blog post. "This helped ensure the 'famous cars' looked just like what our customers knew from the films, while demonstrating the ease, speed and convenience of the service—and that it's for everyone, regardless of what car you drive." 

Pepsi | The Encounter

Goodby Silverstein & Partners whipped up an eye-catching homage to the 2016 film Arrival in this Pepsi spot, with William H. Macy playing a man who deciphers messages from aliens who land on Earth. 

The ad won't air on TV again, according to Variety, and thus heralds a return for Pepsi to the kind of big-moment advertising for which it used to be known. "You want to create entertainment and something people want to look for and lean into. We built a great piece of content that stands on its own," says Todd Kaplan, vp of marketing for colas at Pepsi. 

Pepsi | The Encounter

"I'm a fan of commercials. I've seen a commercial do more in 60 seconds than a film has done in two hours," adds Macy. "Our commercial is big, and I think what's so surprising is that they made so much out of so little. They spent a lot of money on the commercial, but the way it looks on film it should have cost twenty times more."

HBO | #HBO2019

HBO delivered the most exciting TV promo of the night, perhaps not surprisingly, as it teased a much-anticipated 2019 lineup of shows, including the new Games of Thrones season (coming in April), Big Little Lies, Veep and True Detective. 

HBO | #HBO2019

It was Netflix, though, that had the most fun in social media last night, with an amusing tweet about commercial watching—and even a shoutout to Killing Eve, which is a Hulu program (and which earned Sandra Oh a Golden Globe). 

Geico | Hump Day

Geico has been airing lots of its old commercials on TV lately, as part of a stunt/contest that asks viewers to vote for their favorite Geico ad of all time. They chose "Hump Day" for their big Golden Globes moment—a spot that originally broke back 2013 and features a camel wandering around an office gleefully asking what day it is. 

Geico | Hump Day

Geico also aired a newer spot featuring the insurer's trademark wacky humor, as a family purchases high-powered massage chairs to reduce the stress of home buying—with disastrous results at dinnertime. 

Chevrolet | Chevy Surprises Competitive Owners When It Comes To Reliability

Finally, here's a spot we could have done without—Chevy's latest "Real People" commercial. This campaign was actually pretty fun when it launched way back in the spring of 2015, but it's soured over the years into mostly self-congratulatory pablum. 

The new spot, which also ran incessantly during this weekend's NFL games, is borderline nonsensical, as the Chevy spokesman blatantly misleads Ford, Honda and Toyota owners just to make them look silly. It's time for some new roads for this advertiser. 

Chevy Surprises Competitive Owners When It Comes To Reliability
Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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