2011 Brand Bowl. The Super Bowl Ad Breakdown

In between obnoxiously rooting for the Packers and covering my ears during the Black Eyed Peas half time show, I was parked on the couch, making sure to not miss a single commercial break. Some were memorable and touching, other hilarious and totally off the wall, and then there was a handful on those “what the heck?” and “wait what were they advertising?” commercials.

Here are a few of the good and the not so good

My Super Bowl Favorites:

  1. We have a winner! Hands down, the best commercial goes to Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” 2 minute spot. Funny commercials can get their point across in 30 seconds, the 60 second spots make an impression, but the 2 minute commercials either leave you totally confused and irritated and completely moved, like this commercial did. Literally, within 10 seconds of the commercial airing, Twitter and Facebook blew up with positive feedback from Chrysler’s ode to Detroit featuring the Grammy winning rapper, and Detroit native, Eminem. Chrysler took a brilliant and chilling approach to this spot by paying homage to the motor city, king of the auto making industry, and its attempts at reviving itself from economical struggles to a great American city once again. Featuring Eminem and his hit song “Lose Yourself” was yet another brilliant addition to the spot that gave the audience goose bumps. No celebrity could have been a better fit for this commercial then Eminem, who has recently made a powerful comeback himself. Adding the Fox Theater in the end was a touch of true Detroit spirit. The only slight downside was that I almost forgot what the commercial was selling, but maybe that was the point? Maybe the American auto maker was pinpointing a greater theme…a city in need of repair and support. The tagline “Imported from Detroit” was perfect as well. In fact, it became a Twitter #hashtag that millions have already Tweeted. This one will go down as one of the great!
  2. Volkswagon “The Force”: Volkswagon has done it again with another quirky commercial that left the audience cracking up. The Star Wars music and child in the Darth Vader commercial was enough to get my attention. Volkswagon actually leaked the commercial prior to the game via YouTube, so the commercial gained a lot of buzz prior to the big game with 13 million views and over 60,000 likes and was a highly Tweeted ad among the #brandbowl hashtag. The mini Darth Vader dashing around the house was cute enough, but the ah-ha moment at the end was truly perfect. I’d love to give a giant high-five to the creative team on this one. Watch it here!
  3. Doritos “Revive from the Dead”: Doritos always manages to have those absurd commercials, especially during the Super Bowl, and this year’s spots were no different.  At the end of this spot I found myself saying “What the heck” and laughing at the same time, so I guess it’s worth a spot in my top commercials. There was something about the house guest who fails at fulfilling his house sitting duties of feeding the fish, then sprinkling Doritos crumbs in the tank to revive it that makes for a pretty funny concept. Then to top of the ridiculousness he knock over his friends vase with grandpa’s ashes…so what does he do? He sprinkles Doritos crumbs in with the ashes and POOF. Grandpa’s alive! Outrageous! Check it out here.
  4. The Bridgestone “Carma”: This commercial was actually pretty darn funny. I think the message was clear and the product was clearly identified…”it’s Bridgestone or nothing” Who doesn’t love a friendly beaver?! How cute is he?
  5. The NFL “Best Fans Ever”: This well done, family friendly, ad featured classic TV stars sporting NFL team gear. From the cast of the Happy Days to Jerry Seinfeld ricking a Buffalo Bills sweatshirt this was a very creative approach in getting the message out. What do you think?

Now for the not so good commercials:

  1. Groupon “Tibet”: Well, I don’t think Groupon can expect to take off in China any time soon. The first half of the add seemed like it was going to be an ad for a Tibet charitable organization, as we hear “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy” and then it cuts to “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry.” EXCUSE ME??!! This was the case of attempted humor falling flat. Internet users went nuts just seconds after the ad aired and the Twitter tag #failedgrouponcommericals was the hot topic of conversation. The company’s CEO, Andrew Mason, said the ad wasn’t meant to be offensive and called it a spoof on typical celebrity public service announcements. Apparently America, and China, didn’t take it that way. FAIL.
  2. Homeaway.com “Ministry of Detourism”: I’m not sure that a baby, fake or not, being splattered against a class window was the best approach for this one. It was just a mishmash of random stuff that never really seemed to add up to an effective message 
  3. Pepsi Max “First Date”: So, Pepsi Max aired several new ads throughout the game and some were funny (in a violent kind of way) and others were just weird. “First Date” falls in the weird category. First of all, it didn’t seem to fit in with the theme other commercials (the jogger and the lumber yard), down to the style of the camera shooting. It’s like it was it’s own single spot campaign. It looked like one of those low budget, Five Hour Energy commercials.
  4. Go Daddy “The Contract”: I’ve always been annoyed with these. They are all the same. I do give them credit though for their 4th quarter spot with  GoDaddy Girls Danica Patrick and celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels because they ended the commercial by urging viewers to visit godaddy.com to see more the web version of the suggestive commercial. They reported to have had a 466% increase surge in traffic within the 15 minutes following the commercial.
  5. Sketchers “Break up 2 shape up”: This doesn’t make me want to buy sketchers. Since when did tennis shoes turn into a sexual reference? That’s all I have to say about that.
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