The Only Day We All Talk About Ads

The Super Bowl just happened. This is really the only time of the year when we all collectively talk, however briefly, about commercials. So let’s get to that task. Here are my quick thoughts after watching the game and all of its advertising extravagance.

Best Overall Ad: Google — “Parisian Love.” Google is an outsider to TV advertising, but they showed everyone else how it’s done with this beautiful ad. It was simple, told a great story, and reinforced why Google is probably the most important brand of my generation. We literally live our lives by it.

Worst Overall Ad: Anything by I almost regret that I have registered domain names with them.

Most Needlessly Controversial Ad: Tebow/Focus on the Family. There was no mention of abortion, pro-life, or anything remotely controversial (unless you think “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life.” is an offensive sentiment).

Worst Attempt to Capitalize on Zeitgeist: Bud Light autotune / T-Pain spot. But a close second goes to the Bridgestone “Now that was a bachelor party” ad with the whale, which clearly originated from some suggestion to “Do something Hangover-esque. That movie was HUGE!”

Best Movie Trailer: Shutter Island or Robin Hood.

Worst Movie Trailer: Alice in Wonderland or that horrible M. Night Shyamalan kids movie.

Best Ad for a Product I’ve Never Heard of: Flo TV – “My Generation.” I loved this ad. Utilized a song by The Who, tons of great archival footage, and made a good point: Live TV can be unforgettable and no one wants to miss out on the “Where were you then?” type moments. So get a mobile TV!

Worst Ad for CBS Show: That NCIS head slapping one.

Best (i.e. the Only Good) Ad for CBS Show: The Dave Letterman / Oprah / Leno spot.

Best Car Ad: Audi – “Green Police.” Mainly for how well it knows the Super Bowl audience (largely skeptical of the overzealous “green” proponents), while staying true to the Audi brand (yuppie, clean, eco-friendly).

Most Unexpected Ad: The Best in Show actors doing an ad for the Census Bureau.

Best Attempt to Capture the Sentiment of the Iconic Late 90s ad “When I Grow Up”: – “Timothy Richman.”

Worst Micro-Trend: Pantless men. As seen in the back-to-back Careerbuilder and Dockers ads.

Best Micro-Trend: Indie bands lending music to ads. It’s ok to sell out! I hope Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear pocketed plenty of money for their respective ads (NFL and VW).

Best Use of Zoom: Dodge Charger – “Man’s Last Stand.” (0:30-0:47). They also get points for the “Vampire TV Shows” line. Brilliant.

11 responses to “The Only Day We All Talk About Ads

  1. best post about superbowl ads = this one

  2. Pingback: Super Bowl Ads « KeepFishing

  3. Agreed on the Google ad. Of course, one wonders why Google has to advertise, but the ad itself was simple, elegant, and actually quite moving in its own way.

    The ad that elicited the most laughs at the party I was at was the “Kid Slaps Man” ad for Doritos.

  4. Completely agreed. On almost all accounts. Particularly Google.

  5. I thought the Green Police ad was pretty funny – though no one else where I was even noticed it really. I agree about the Tebow ad – I read that the NOW controversy started prior to their screening of the commerical – its ridiculous that such a big deal was made over it.
    You didn’t mention that they did a remake of the classic Larry Bird/Michael Jordan “Nothing but Net” McDonald’s commercial with LeBron James and Dwight Howard. That was the best sentimental moment for me, since I can still remember the original. Loved the cameo by Larry in the end.
    And you didn’t mention Snickers with Betty White and Abe Vigoda – but I loved that one, too – Betty White is a comedic heroine.

  6. I think the controversy over the Tebow ad wasn’t regarding its specific content, but over the fact that CBS rejected an ad for a gay dating website on the grounds that they have a problem with contentious advocacy ads– the problem is CBS’s cherrypicking.

    As an aside, I’m a little surprised to hear such a big fan of Neil Postman telling bands that ‘It’s ok to sell out!’

  7. My favorites were

    -the Google France romance
    -the Emerald Nuts one with the humans doing dolphin tricks (just because it was so weird)
    -“Don’t touch my mama, don’t touch my Doritos”
    -Betty White and Sal from “The Godfather” playing football.

    My least favorite:

    -the screaming chickens
    -the Super Bowl Shuffle remake
    -Danica Patrick getting naked for GoDaddy . . . again!
    -the Car Max dramatic animals.

  8. Agree, except for the Bud Light/autotune commercial, which was genius!

  9. The Google ad was the best of the night but the one that made me laugh the hardest (which is, of course, what most companies go for during the Super Bowl) was the Betty White/Abe Vigoda (he’s still alive??!?!) ad for Snickers.

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