2011 Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads

Super-Bow XLV The Super Bowl commercials were an interesting mix this year. Some that always have favorites (like Budweiser) feel a little short this year. Some breakthrough ads of old, seem to be wearing thin. The monkeys for Carrier Builder could have been anyone and it would still have not worked. And although still funny, I think the eTrade baby is starting to look a little creepy as he grows up. There were probably more different auto companies in this Super Bowl than ever before – and as a group, I think they mostly did a great job. And finally, some of the perennial purveyors of awful ads, produced again some of the worst ads (I'm looking at you, Go Daddy).

But without further ado, here's my personal top 10 ads of the 2011 Super Bowl:

10. Car Max "Service Station" – in this world where even the grocery store is trying to get you to do all the check out yourself, the kind of service you got back in the 50's can be kind of scary. That's what happens in this spot. It's over the top, which makes it funny. But it also makes a good point about the brand, that you'll actually get the kind of good service you're not used to seeing anymore. I like it. (assuming the brand can deliver on the promise)


9. NFL.com "Best Fans Ever" This spot shows how over the years, the NFL has become a part of our culture. And what better way to say that than to use pop culture to say it.


8. Bridgestone Tire "Reply All" "Carma" Besides sponsoring the badly mixed music during the halftime show, Bridgestone had a couple of pretty good spots in the big game. I personally like the "Reply All" one and their "Carma" one, featuring a beaver who pays back a motorist who didn't hit him, just fell out of the top 10 for me. But, so many others here at Yaffe love the beaver spot that I'm putting them both in here at number 8:



7. Coca-Cola"Border" Coke did its usual stellar job of putting a wide variety of great looking spots in the Super Bowl. Some like the "Siege" spot were beautiful and extravagant, but seemed overproduced and with a convoluted storyline. I liked the simplicity of their "Border" spot. It proves that a simple story of shared human emotion is where they always shine best.


6. Audi "Release the Hounds" Yes, it seems that every luxury car is doing an ad about how it's the "new" luxury not the stuffy old luxury. But, this one is just done so well. It has two rich guys breaking out of a "rich person" prison. All the little details along the way are priceless. Piping in Kenny G music to get them to turn back just tickles my funny bone, what can I say?


A5. Chevy "Status" Another wonderfully simple spot that does a great job of highlighting a product benefit. It's well casted and acted. Love the little quiver in his voice as he gets his car to read his Facebook updates. Of all the spots in the big game, this was just simply… sweet.


4. Best Buy "Bieber and Ozzy" Loved this spot. Really told the story well of how fast technology changes today. It was told in how Bieber replaced Ozzy as spokes person and by the end an old version of Bieber as looking on. It was also told by the technology changing so fast they can't get the commercial done fast enough. Can't keep up? Best Buy will buy it back and get you upgraded. Good stuff.


3. Doritos "The Best Part" This ad had my biggest laugh out loud moment of the Super Bowl. When the Doritos loving guy just grabs his coworker's fingers to suck off the cheese residue – that's comedy gold. Plus, you can never go wrong with tear away pants!


2. Volkswagen "The Force" This ad was leaked online early and was actually our ad of the week in this space last week, you can see my full thoughts on it in that post. It held up well when placed among the rest of the Super Bowl ads. Still great stuff.


1. Chrysler "Eminem – Imported From Detroit" Okay, I'm a jaded ad guy, but this ad actually gave me goose bumps. Perhaps it's because I'm a part of Detroit and all that goes with that. But this was an ad so well done that, even if you aren't from Detroit the emotion touched you. Here in the D, the twitter feed blew up for hours after it ran, it exploded all over people's Facebook status updates. I've never seen anything like it. But, "Chrysler" wasn't just trending here in Detroit – if you followed the twitter feeds, it was trending in cities all across the country. Kudos to Chrysler for creating a buzz about a new product by tapping into human emotons and a community rather than car attributes. It's where marketing is going in this new digital world and it's nice to see Detroit's big 3 leading the way rather than waitng to see what happens.


The Best of the Worst. Of course, there were some stinkers out there. Go Daddy, even with the surprise twist of Joan Rivers head, still managed to be badly done sexist tripe. The Chevy Cruz Eco spot with the old folks who can't hear the commercial repeatedly saying key copy points is a horrible device in a so-so commercial. I thought the Mercedes spot with all the different cars taking off on their own to go to the dealership or wherever that was they were going was as pointless as the random Sean Combs sighting in it. And Teleflora wasted Faith Hill in a childish ad where a studio engineer sends flowers with a note "from the heart" about the girl's awesome rack.

In other words, it was  typical Super Bowl of ads, some great commercials, some bad and some in between. What were your favorites?

Mike less me Mike McClure, Executive Creative Director and big ad fan

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