The Super Bowl of Selling: The Best and Worst Ads

Roughly 111.3 million people watched last year’s Super Bowl, so advertisers were confident enough to pay $4 million dollars per ad. Why? Because it isn’t just football fans who tune into the big game: an estimated 54% of those millions of eyeballs tune in just for the commercials.

Ads that feature big-time celebrities, ridiculous special effects, or are just plain funny are what people expect. But did the big game deliver? What was the best moment? What was so quirky that you kept on thinking about it? And what was a complete waste of everybody’s time? Read on to find out, and then post your own opinions below.

Several movie spots made their debut last night, including World War Z, Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Disney’s Oz: The Great And Powerful, and The Lone Ranger.

CBS took advantage of any available advertising space by plugging all their series, especially their upcoming police drama Golden Boy.

This year’s biggest trend was online participation, with a Lincoln road trip commercial that ends at their official website and a user-voted ending to an Audi prom night commercial.

The most overrated example of this was a three-way race for Coca-cola. Website visitors could vote for the cowboys, showgirls, or “outlanders” (Mad Max rip-offs) to get a sip. Surprisingly, the showgirls won because a quacking duck clock distracted the guys. Seriously.

Another trend was the slightly disturbing air of darkness to the night, with Stevie Wonder as a Voodoo magic man for Budweiser and Willem Defoe as the devil in Mercedes Benz’s “Sympathy for the Devil” spot.

“It’s only weird if it doesn’t work” seemed to be the motto for most of this year’s ads, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, there was a lot of sleaze to shuffle through this year, with the annual female-bashing attempts for attention from and a spot for Gilden that dealt with a man retrieving his shirt from the sleeping partner of a one-night stand. Yuck!

Did that make anyone want to go out and buy a T-shirt?

Don’t think these ads were all heartless, however, as Dodge Ram brought us a stirring tribute to the American farmer.

There were also huge, big budget ads that took a lot to sell a simple idea. The best example of this was an epic family day with The Flaming Lips for Hyundai.

The Best Superbowl Ads and More…

Super Bowl commercials are usually star-studded, and this year gave us Amy Poehler bugging a “Best Buy” tech, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson going on a milk run, and Samsung’s pairing of Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen dreaming up potential ads.

I really do believe that is how the marketing executives behind these ads think.

Cute animals are another game day tradition and Doritos brought us this munching goat.


And now for the five best commercials:

Toyota RAV-4

The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco is a genie who grants crazy wishes. Is anyone else thinking that she would be pretty good in an I Dream Of Jeannie remake?



This Valentine’s Day, the Red M&M wants you to know that he would “Do Anything For Love”, including singing Meatloaf songs by the piano. But please don’t bite him. He “won’t do that”.


Kia Sorento

This dad has a very complicated answer to where babies come from: the planet Babytopia.

For you internet viewers, I should point out that the tiny words at the bottom of the screen during the baby drop read, “Do not attempt”. So if you were thinking of tossing a panda and some sheep out of a rocket ship with tiny parachutes, don’t.



Do you ever feel sorry for the gazelles in those nature shows? Do you ever wish someone would take down that big bad cheetah and save the day? Well, this shoe company has something to show you.



It’s a little surprising that a beer company brought us the year’s most heartwarming spot, but their annual Clydesdale ad was both epic and sweet.

All in all, I noticed an alarming trend of fewer debut advertisements. What did remain wasn’t nearly as interesting as hyped, with most spots cut so short or drawn out so long that they lost all meaning. It’s almost as if advertisers feel they have already got audiences watching without bothering with quality. Here’s to hoping that next year will be better.