Advertisers fought for the favor of one of the biggest TV audiences of the year with heavily hyped commercials, and it mostly paid off for viewers. Though last year featured some great ads, 2012’s crop was just as good, if not better. Some viewers (including myself) complained of sexist overtones in some 2011 spots, but things finally seem to be somewhat headed in a new direction. Though there were far too many underdressed females (as in the annual GoDaddy.com sleaze-fest), there was also some male tackiness to go around, too—as in H&M’s close-ups of David Beckham in his underwear. However, the vast majority of commercials steered clear of controversy, and fell into one of the following seven categories…
Best in Show
Vampires are cool these days. Cool vampires at the movies and on TV have hip parties in the middle of the forest. Audi knows that a lot of us out there are sick of vampires and their hipster shindigs.
Take that, trendy bloodsuckers.
2012 may be the end of the world as we know it, but Chevy will still be there to take a dig at Ford.
You cannot hurt a Twinkie!
How many beloved cartoon characters in this Met Life spot can you name? I’ll start you off: Charlie Brown, Woodstock, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Marcie, Franklin, Sally, and Snoopy from Peanuts, He-Man, Pepe Le Pew, Mr. Magoo, Atom Ant,...
Music Brings the People Together
Samsung Galaxy smartphones believe in a thing called love.
That ad was much cooler than any of those trendy Apple ads of yesteryear ever were.
Did you ever know you are the NFL’s hero? Actually, I am surprised that various members of the NFL can somewhat sing.
Hyundai thinks the theme from Rocky will inspire you to buy one of their cars.
The Coca-Cola bears are back! In the best of a series of three ads, a Giants fanbear bemoans their (temporary) loss in the third quarter.
The annual VW spot is actually two commercials in one, as the Star Wars Cantina patrons are watching the same thing as you. Odd, but interesting.
Budweiser’s Clydesdale horses are an annual tradition, but they were barely featured in this year’s Prohibition-themed ad.
Bud Light mixed their usual party theme with advocating shelter animal adoption.
The E*Trade baby gets a sibling!
That Pepsi-loving Coke driver gets a surprise when he buys a Pepsi Max.
I know inexperienced contest winners made this year’s Doritos spots, but did a vast majority of people really vote online for a commercial about a dog (possibly) killing a cat?
Drew Brees’ son might play in future Super Bowls, but until then, he has his own Chase Bank commercial.
Bridgestone tires imagined ways to improve football and basketball.
Special Guest Star
Honda and Matthew Broderick brought us this tribute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Elton John is not a benevolent dictator in this expensive-looking Pepsi spot, which co-stars X Factor winner Melanie Amaro.
Clint Eastwood has starred in entire movies that didn’t feature as much dialogue as this Dodge advertisement.
Jerry Seinfield really wants an Acura. Can’t anything happen on NBC without Jay Leno’s involvement?
Trailers for big event movies are a Super Bowl tradition, and this year offered quite a mixed bag with spots for The Dictator, Battleship, John Carter, The Lorax, The Avengers, and GI Joe: Retaliation.
Unsexy and They Don’t Know It
I was looking forward to the addition of the new female M&M, Brown, but this was just stupid. Where was Yellow? He was waiting for a better commercial to be in.
A foreign-speaking woman flirts with a nervous man before turning into a Fiat. That was a waste of our time.
Some of this year’s sleaze ads tried to appeal to all genders, as this spot for Camry shows two different types of “re-invented” couches.
And the guy in this KIA commercial drives away from a stadium full of bikini-clad women to meet up with a normal woman in a meadow.
What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial? Was this year an improvement over 2011? Let us know by commenting below.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.