The Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads

Kia Super Bowl ad Yesterday was the day, I don’t move for 3+ hours. Being a huge football fan and a huge advertising fan, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most anticipated days of the year. Yesterday lived up to the hype. For the third year in a row, we had a great game. And although we don’t see the true wow factor in the commercials as we did in the good old days, it was a pretty good crop of ads this year – with the usual smattering of clunkers. So, let’s look at what made my top ten list and what made me ashamed to be an ad man. First the good:

Number 10: Tru TV:”Punxsotawny Polamalu”

This commercial isn’t getting the buzz around the agency as some of the others, but I thought it was pretty funny. Set up to look like Ground Hog’s Day, the crowd is gathered around as the head guy in tux and top hat is pulling on this rat nest of hair. Finally, he pulls up a little Troy Polamalu by the hair. Polamalu sees his shadow and it’s declared we’ll have 6 more weeks of football, on Tru Tv’s new reality show. Bonus chuckle: Polamalu’s flexing at the end.

Number 9: Bud Light: “T-Pain”

Another one that just made me laugh out loud. Some random guy’s wife brings home a 6-pack of Bud Light and all the sudden he’s talking in the electronic T-Pain voice. He gets 3 buddies on the phone, all in the middle of doing mundane things like brushing their teeth, and they all start talking in that same electronic voice, about how they’re gonna party now. At the end the actual T-Pain is at the party speaking electronically and looking for some guacamole.

Number 8: Flo TV “My Generation”

Flo TV did real well, this Super Bowl. I liked a lot of their spots, including some good ones with football announcers Jim Nance and Jim Brown. But the best of the bunch was a montage of highly charged events from the last half a century set to Will-I-am’s remix of the Who’s “My Generation.” The base idea is nothing new, but the execution was done really well.

Number 7: Kia Sorento Toy Fantasy Life

With the Big 3 automakers pretty much out of the Super Bowl this year, we saw a flood of innovative ads from the foreign car companies. My favorite was the Kia Sorento spot featuring a hip gang of toys out for a night on the town in their new Kia. Turns out they belong to a kid who’s mom drives a Sorento. Fun, cool spot.

Number 6: Doritos “House Rules”

Doritos was all over the place, producing some of the best and some of the worst ads on the Super Bowl. This one was the best of the best of them. It features his mom’s date showing up, checking out the mom as she walks away and then taking a chip from the kid’s bowl. The kid is having none of that and lets him know in no uncertain terms.

Number 5: Denny’s Chicken campaign

Denny’s had three spots featuring chickens screaming in terror in response to free Grand Slam breakfasts and how many eggs that was gonna require. The first, announcement one was only so-so, but the second two “Chickens Across America” and the :15 second “Chicken Birthday Ad” were classic. I knew it was a hit when the chicken in space floated by doing a silent scream and i could hear my son’s group of 20-something friends all laughing from the other room.


Number 4: Vizio “Forge”

First of all, it’s featuring a pretty cool looking product a flat screen TV enabled to run all kinds of Internet apps. It opens with Beyonce’ singing and a huge mechanical arm snatches her mid-song, dumping her into a whole. It continues to grab all kinds of things including the Chocolate Rain guy and the Numah-Numah kid, dumping them all into the whole that apparently is the way into the new TV. Showcases cool product features in a very cool way.

Number 3: Bud Light “House”

The high point of the Bud Light stuff this year. Crazy house where everything, including the house, is made of Bud Light. There’s even “Bud Light in this fridge made of Bud Light.” Thirsty friends start to destroy everything to get at a can or bottle of the beer.

Number 2: Volkswagen “PunchDub”

Loved this ad. They took a simple, brandcentric game we’ve all played, Slug Bug, and turned into a great ad about their whole line. The spot features all kinds of people in all kinds of situations slugging someone and say, “there’s a red one” or whatever color. From to Amish guys in a buggy to two partied out guys in the back of a limo. The spot has a great kicker at the end featuring Stevie Wonder and Tracy Morgan.

And my number 1 Super Bowl spot: Google “Parisian Love”

Great first effort by Google. It’s simple. It’s engaging. It’s compelling. And it tells a story. All through simple googles a guy does over time in the process of wooing a French girl to become his girlfriend, wife and mother of his child. All done by simple product demonstration that highlights the key benefits without them getting in the way of a good story. Best one of the bunch.

Honorable Mentions:

I did have a hard time cutting this down to just 10 commercials. The ones that just missed the cut are a Snickers ad where Betty White gets drilled in a backyard football game, a touching but funny Simpsons ad for Coke, Monster’s Beaver Violinist was a scream, as was their pre-game Boogy Man ad, The Letterman ad with Opera and Jay Leno at his lousy Super Bowl party, the Audi Green Police spot, the new eTrade baby spots and the Doritos “Snack Attack Samuria” spot where a guy who stole a bag of the snacks from Tim’s locker finds mild mannered Tim garbed in a Dorito suit of armor.

And the Worst of the Bunch:

There were still those that made me want to make sure nobody knew I worked in Advertising. The worst offenders, in no particular order are: The Charles Barkley ad for Taco Bell. It was a lot of build up for nothing. I had a feeling from watching the teaser ads that it would be bad, but it was way worse than I thought it would be. The Go Daddy spots are now not just sexist and full of empty titillation, they’re just plain stupid. The woman tries to outdo Danica Patrick and whips off her outer wear to reveal a skimpy Go Daddy beater shirt. The ad then hits us with instructions to go to the website to see what happens next. There’s no real indication as to what might happen next other than to warn it’s for mature adults. Why Ms Patrick does these is beyond me. Another clunker was the guy who faked his death to be put in a coffin filled with Doritos. He’s inside it watching the game on a mini TV while his funeral is going on, He then gets exited and knocks the casket over spilling out him and his Doritos. And maybe the worst of the worst is the Boost Mobil Chicago Bears spot bringing back these old pros to reenact their Super Bowl shuffle. Problem is half the audience has no idea who these guys are and why they’re dancing around. They just know it’s awful, and it is.

What are your thoughts? Did I miss your fav or one you hated?

Mike McClure, Executive Creative Director

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • romeo says:

    Good picks. And I know some in Detroit will think this is off limits, but I liked the Dodge ad. And it was nice to see a Domestic car company have the gonads to buy some time in the big show.

  • Mike McClure says:

    Thanks Romeo. We were just discussing that ad here in the office and how it was the only domestic in the Super Bowl. Gutsy move that I think paid off.

  • Agree with you on some:
    Google – an inannimate product is the hero that displays human qualities like warmth and sensitivity. Chickens rule! Bet they sell like, well FREE! And Flo TV got its point across. I really liked the Dodge spot, captured guy thinking. Monster Beaver was cute, Green Police was creepy and Go-Daddy the worst for me.

  • Mike McClure says:

    Getting a lot of love for the Dodge spot, perhaps it should have made honorable mention. But, you have to draw the line somewhere. Also liked the Brett Farve 10 years from now retirement waffling – for another of the overseas automakers.

  • Meraj says:

    This is my favorite cmiemrocal, forget that stupid star wars kid. The only reason that got so many views is becuz women thought he was cute and men pretended to think he was cute just so they could get laid by the women who thought hes cute.This commericla is totally BANGO! If my dog could do this I woldnt mind him eatting his ass and then licking my face XD

Leave a Reply